Every year this week is the week from hell. Naughtiness, aggression, tears, screaming, nightmares. I started tracking it a few years ago, and it always happens, almost to the day.
Our girls have no concept of time yet, due to brain damage. We count upcoming events in “sleeps” because they don’t understand “tomorrow” or “next week.” But every cell in their bodies and the sweet little souls remember this week, without fail.
Six years ago our girls were living with a couple who were adopting them. In early October, that man beat them. Badly. And I wonder if the week leading up to that was like they were living in a pressure cooker, already afraid, already being hurt, building up to that last night where they ended up in the hospital, their lives changed forever. Again.
One of our girls woke up yesterday morning from a nightmare. The other woke up this morning and hid from me, and then cried uncontrollably for an hour.
They couldn’t put words to it, but I could. I know. I remember.
I held her and rocked her and told her to cry as much as she needed. And she let me. And then she asked to be alone. She cried and held her stuffed animals and cried some more. I cried for her.
I put words to her emotions. I told them that their bodies remember what happened to them, and they do, too. Their bad dreams actually happened to them.
And then I told them that will never happen again. Daddy and I will not let anyone hurt them like that ever again. We are a safe place for them. We will take care of them. And it was not ever, not once, their fault.
They needed to hear that their fears are valid. That their feelings come from somewhere important. They need me to remember for them.
I’ve heard people say, “I wish they could forget.” But their bodies can’t, and me pretending like it didn’t happen won’t help. They need to know why they feel the way they do and experience the grace and healing that can come from putting a name to the fear, the helpless feeling, the trauma.
Jesus always called disease what it was. He always called out people’s demons. He put a name to the bad stuff. He always called sin what it was, too. But then he offered healing, love, His presence right alongside of it. In the middle of it. In spite of it.
Each of us has something in our past that hurts. Or brings us shame. Maybe it’s been carried in secret all your life. Holding it in doesn’t make it go away. It’s okay to remember. It’s okay to give it a name. It loses some of its power when it’s called out. It’s okay to name it and cry as long as you need to.
Jesus is here. He remembers. He heals. He loves.
We were late to school, and that’s alright. We remembered together, and my daughter received a little bit of healing this morning.
Their daddy is taking time out of his busy harvest schedule to go hug them at lunch, and they’ll heal a little more.
And the Healer of all of our hearts is always there, He remembers, and He will give each of us what we need, thanks be to God.