“Yeah, one day I’ll be able to tell you all the issues I have with you, Mom.” My daughter chuckles. “I can’t tell you now because I have to live with you.” She sinks into the couch, laughing herself silly.
“Get over here right now.” I giggle, moving to the edge of my cushioned seat and pointing my finger to the hardwood floors in front of me. “Right now.”
No movement from daughter. Just more giggles.
I jump up, run to her, and tickle her till she cries.
She gasps for breath, still chuckling. “I’m just pulling your leg,” sputters out through more giggles.
Uh-huh. Oh, I know, Daughter. I know exactly what you mean. Because I felt those very things as a young girl. The only difference—unlike you, I voiced many of my thoughts aloud.
The whirlwind of my parents’ divorce left me tied in knots, feeling pulled apart. One arm held by my daddy, the other held by my mother. My grandmother held firmly to my leg. I didn’t know how to feel about everything or anything. I didn’t know how to express myself. I didn’t know what was normal, what was right. I felt crucified, tormented.
And there was my mama.
I didn’t love everything about my life. I just wanted my mama and my daddy back under the same roof, tucking me in bed at night and reading nightly devotions to me. Bitterness, in the awful form of anger and what felt like hatred at times, welled up inside and drizzled out.
On life’s fragile edge, I grabbed my Pink Panther stuffed animal that I’d gotten at Six Flags, that I adored. Taking its right arm in one hand, its left arm in my other hand, I pulled. Its little insides oozed out. So much misery. I injured the very thing I loved.
I felt so ripped to pieces. So I’ll rip this to pieces.
I loved my daddy. But I was in this city, and he was in that city. I was in this house, and he was in that house. I lived with my mama, and she took the brunt of all my painful trying-to-figure-out-this-situation.
Sitting in my room, I mourned my hate-filled words to my mother. My heart mourned that I’d injured the very one I loved. Because I loved my mama. I hated the situation. But I was only ten. What did I know then?
And just look what I did to my Pink Panther. I cried.
Grown-up stuff is too hard to contain inside a child. It will spill.
My pillow—the catcher of all my tears. God—the storer of all my tears. And I gave God a tremendous amount of tears to handle. Like rain.
Life is hard. Life is hard to understand. So we trust. Trust God. It’s all we have, Daughter. And it’s more than enough, Daughter.
At only ten, I reached over and took hold of the Bible that I’d been given by my Sunday school teacher. Given just in the nick of time. Given just when I’d needed it. And God showed me that He could be my all. He should be my all. He would be my all. I couldn’t place my faith and trust in my mother or my daddy—I could only love them. I had to heap all my faith and trust in God, my heavenly Father, the only one who could be the perfect parent.
God—the restorer of my life. The one who takes all our confused and broken pieces and makes us His restoration project. The one who stitches together our torn pieces now. The one we can spill our insides to now. The one we can entrust with everything now. The one we don’t have to be fragile with now or ever. The one who takes every tear and stores it now.
When we want to ask all the questions that so often go unanswered—
Your pillow’s stuffing will hold your tears until God can gather them, one by one, in His safe-keeping. Your tears haven’t dried, they’ve just been collected, sweet one.
Because I know you have more questions than you’re asking, Daughter. Questions only God knows the answers to, and that seems so unfair. I know. Questions I’ll never be able to pull out of you because maybe you think you’ll injure me. Maybe you think I’m fragile. Maybe I am, but I won’t break. I’ve already been broken, baby. This mama is tougher than you might think.
Because when you want to take this side of life in one hand, take the other side of life in the other hand, and pull—
Remember that in between lies the body of Christ—the one broken for you.
And comprises that beautiful Body of Christ—someone will remind you of that Scripture just in time. Someone will text you encouragement just in time. When you forget, someone will point you to Jesus just in time—
His one arm stretched across one side. A nail pounded. His other arm stretched across the other side. A nail pounded. Take His hands. Pull and pour your heart out on His hands.
Because mercy and grace pooled and spilled out, trickling down on you … the crimson turning the darkness of pain and confusion all white, all pure. All for you.