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Sunday, September 23, 2012

words

'sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words can never hurt me'

that's an old proverb.

and that's also a lie.

cruel childhood words are the most painful weapon ever to pierce our hearts and wound us. they carry a weight of unknown damage that can lacerate a little heart to the depths. and they create a maelstrom of injury that may take decades to heal.

this week a child said innocently to my little girl, 'so...i heard you were found in an orphanage?'

i was sitting nearby and in the split second of silence that followed, my heart stopped. then instantly i heard my own too-bright voice saying, 'oh no...her birth mommy couldn't keep her so God gave her to us...'

and then fielding the inevitable volley of follow-up questions...

'she's ADOPTED?'

'why did her birth mom give her away?'

and so on.

we had told our daughter the circumstances of her birth long before this happened, and this was not news to her. she knows her story.

but in the days that followed, i watched and listened carefully for questions and comments from my little one, because she was the heart for whom this was 'sticks and stones'.

all was quiet.

then today, as she was playing with a friend, out it came.

'pretend your birth mom couldn't look after you so she gave you away, and you were adopted by someone else, and then.....'

oh, my sweet little girl.

if only i could spare you the pain of others' careless, ignorant words and questions.

if only i could protect your precious heart from the bruises and cuts of others' attitudes and speech.

if only i could change your past and you had been born, in your own words, 'in my tummy'...instead of- and i'm not second-guessing God here, just thinking out loud- how it did happen.

thankful as i am to have you, it's hard to explain just the way things were. people just don't get it. i'm not sure you and i and daddy get it. and children say the most hurtful things of all because they just spit out their thoughts unfiltered.

all i can do i pray that the great Healer finds ways to bind up the slashes and scrapes that you have already received on your sweet spirit. I pray that the great Forgiver teaches you to forgive those who ask too many questions, stare too hard and long, and say things that you cannot possibly be expected to understand.

and i pray that you- and i- will learn to be gentle with words, slow with questions, and ready to bring healing and forgiveness to every difficult and awkward situation.

especially when we have no answers.