Nearly four years ago she bounced into my life in a dress with a bright red sash. She tentatively called me Mommy after having not known one for nearly her entire five years of life and all signs of trauma were quickly masked with little girls songs and dances and giggles as she adjusted to life in a family.
Years later I watched her feet run in bright red sneakers toward the towering swing set where she would pretend to fly. We had struggled for joy and were finding it; she had thrashed against love and by God’s grace I was learning to hold on tight.
She kicked and screamed and did the unspeakable and when logic said that I should be angry or might love her less, I couldn’t and my desire for her was only stronger. And as I saw the extent of her brokenness and mine, I loved her even more.
Red beads clicked around her face as she skipped into the kitchen to find her head a resting place now nearly at my shoulder, and she whispered of the wounds once covered but never healed and an unfamiliar panic crawled up in the back of my throat and settled in as it hit me, the full weight of how much we had yet to overcome.
I took her face in my hands and through blurred eyes assured her, assured myself, that Jesus thought of her and her red beads and her red sash as His red blood spilled out, and because I knew that, I knew this – He would not leave us here.
He didn’t and I saw progress, but the fears stayed. Nights of standing by her bed, days of checking and double checking and checking again. Blame and accusations from the enemy that I could have done something differently, done something better. Anger and hatred toward the sin that could allow someone to do such horrible things to an innocent, helpless child. I knew Beauty. I fought to see Him here.
Months later on a Tuesday in the still-dark house, I drank too-strong coffee and I drank of His grace. I prayed over my daughter, a splash of red in the tapestry of our family – feisty, powerful and full of care and compassion. I wrestled with the questions of “what if” and “if only” and I told them of His sovereignty, again.
And right there on the worn pages I read Zechariah call God’s people prisoners of hope.
And I knew that I hadn’t been. Once more I had become more of a prisoner of overwhelming concern about the trauma of my children’s pasts and shifted my gaze away from what, Who I was really captive to.
“but in Him, it has always been ‘Yes!’ For no matter how many promises God has made, they are all ‘Yes’ in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1: 19-20)
My flesh wants to shake the head no but I am a prisoner to God who says “Yes!” All of His promises – peace, joy, love, forgiveness, salvation! – they are Yes to me and Yes to her in Christ! Eternity is Yes in Christ. And because of His Yes I can say Yes to all that He gives. Even all that He allows.
Hope is my captor – Hope for her healing here which has already begun and hope for our life eternal with Him. Hope that He who began a good work in us is not finished yet and will carry it to completion until the day that He comes and hope that He is coming.
The sun peaks over the horizon and dances patterns across the couch. I see with new eyes, a captive of the hope set fully on the grace given me through Christ. I must live my days as this kind of prisoner, because true freedom is only found in being completely captivated by a coming King.
She who is always the first one awake pulls a book off the shelf and snuggles up next to me in silence, her nine-year-old lankiness curling up like an infant inside waiting arms. I see hope in her – and I see myself. I kick and I scream and I thrash hard against the Father’s love. I shift my focus and become a prisoner to the panic instead of the promise, and still He says, “mine.” He looks at me, broken, and calls me daughter and ever so lovingly pulls me right back in.
I study her face and can’t imagine that I know only a fraction of His love for her as I whisper the prayers of every morning over her heart, “Jesus you bind up the broken-hearted…set the captives free…comfort those who mourn…bestow beauty instead of ashes… They will be called oaks of righteousness, a display of the Lord’s splendor.” I trace the curve of her face with my fingers and praise Him for such resilience and transformation as I have seen in this child. I praise Him for her salvation and the way she is hungrily learning more about Him each day.
And then I write it small, on her hand and mine, “prisoner of hope.”
I want to live as a prisoner to the “Yes.” Remembering all we have seen, we set our hope fully on what we have not yet seen. We place all of our hope and all of our trust and all of our focus on the grace given us through Christ, and we beg to live captured by His promises.
I know I have been gone for a while. I think I am just having a hard time expressing all that God has laid on my heart. We are well, and experiencing a season of SO much growth and joy and peace in Him. I am so thankful, and I know that it is in part because of the prayers of so many. Thank you for lifting us up.
The Lord put it on my heart today to repost this blog that I wrote a few years ago during a very difficult season. Yesterday during some sweet, quiet nail-painting time, this same little (not-so-little-anymore) one shared with me some of the deep emotions of her heart, and I was once again floored and devastated to think of the way-beyond-their-years experiences each of my children have from their years outside of a safe and loving home. This morning, she bounded into the kitchen, laid her head against my shoulder (is it possible that she is this tall?!) and ask me to tie red ribbons in her hair for school.
Red ribbons. To match her red skirt. Isn't He in all the littlest details? He spoke hope over me, and her, once more. And I looked into each one of these young women's faces and saw unimaginable growth and hope and strength in Him. Is there a more devastating love than that we feel for our children? Surely only that which the Father feels toward each one of us.
Oh, friends. He is so faithful to us! Wherever you are, whatever impossible, broken situation you are facing, He longs to speak His hope and His favor and His beauty over you. Be blessed as you rest and hope in Him today.