Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Vision For My Daughter

While I was preparing my post on Tuesday, while I was rocking Li'l Empress before her nap time, and while I was bustling around my house with her on my heels in between all my daily chores, I was praying. I've been doing that a lot more lately, it seems. Seeking the Lord for some answers to questions I have about her heart. Asking the Lord what to do about the pain I hear in her cries. Trying to listen to what HIS heart has to say about what has been going on with her in recent weeks. All while trying to manage and minister to my Li'l Empress as lovingly as I possibly can.

You see, Li'l Empress has been struggling for several weeks now with increasing levels of separation anxiety. We're fairly confident that this is a more-painful-than-normal kind of separation anxiety. I know all the influencing factors that may (or may not!) be contributing to her struggle.

(One last molar popping through, fluid in her ear from a cold,
increased activity in our family calendar, interrupted
and/or unusual daily routines, her fear of change,
her toddler's quest for independence, etc. etc. etc.)

I know all the ways that The Boss and I have agreed to tackle these struggles to help mitigate the triggers.

(routine, routine, routine, comfort, comfort, comfort,
and the occasional dose of pain meds at bedtime!)

I know that these strategies must be employed consistently, lovingly, and very intentionally to bring the structure that brings her comfort. I know it won't last forever. I know it's just a stage. I know that TWO is a hard age - for the two year old AND for the parents. We've been through some of these same struggles before, with the four older kids.

But I also know that underneath those cries that escalate so quickly, is something else. That something else is what has been driving my quest for information on parenting an adopted child. That something else is what has been sending me to my bed many nights by 9:30, for extra time in solitude and prayer. And yes, extra rest. (I swear, I did not need this much sleep when Shaggy and Dr. D were 2. Am I getting old?!) That something else is what has been occasionally keeping me up way past a healthy bed time just to finish what I started earlier in that day. That something else is what has me weighing very carefully the number of times I leave the house without Li'l Empress in tow.

That something is behind the tremors and racing heart rate that takes over Li'l Empress when the cry becomes a scream. That something is what causes her to clutch and cling to me over the simplest offense or upset. That something else is what makes her cry until she gags when she sees car keys in my hands. Or a coat on my back. That something doesn't necessarily need a name. I have prayed enough about it to know that it's there. And that it's real to my girl. AND that we as her parents have authority over it in the spiritual realm. We can go to war for her, over her, and conquer it.

But that battle is wearying. That battle is long. And sometimes very lonely. Especially when the only physical comfort Li'l Empress will receive is in my arms. By my hands. As much as she loves her Daddy and her siblings, it's to my legs she clings when her little world is rocked. It's in my arms she buries her little head when she can't face the fear one more minute. It's my name she calls when she sees me heading toward the door.

I have to admit, I am exhausted. It hurts to see my daughter in such pain. I am out of creative solutions (just for now, I am certain!) as to how I can leave the house (or the room for that matter) without hurting her little heart. For as I've said, it's more than run-of-the-mill pain of separation than an average toddler experiences. Please don't read what I am NOT saying. I am thrilled that her attachment is so strong with me. I am thrilled and grateful that she feels such security in my arms. I'm just saying that being the only one that she wants is hard. And please don't feel sorry for me or for her. It's a stage and a season. We will persevere. We will get through it victoriously. I believe that the pain she experiences at seeing me walk away is still on the overall range of typical, considering all that she's experienced in her two short little years.

So anyway, on Tuesday, while I was praying and bustling, the Lord kept giving me bits and pieces of a vision for my daughter. I'm receiving it as an encouragement to keep praying over her, keep loving on her and keep welcoming the prayers of those who love her. And as I prayed over it, I couldn't help but think that someone else might feel like this vision represents them. I am sharing it here today, begging God to keep it at the forefront of my heart and my mind as I minister to my daughter. And asking Him to make it count toward healing and hope for someone else out there as well. After all, aren't we all broken and weary at some point?
I see a dry, sparse, scarred expanse of land. Like the proverbial drought-cracked pictures one sees in nature magazines. While the colors are glorious and rich, the land is cracked. It almost looks dead, save for the little glimpses of foliage scattered here and there. Gaping canyons and pits are scattered across the landscape.

In the upper corner of the view, I see a vessel. This vessel is golden, glowing as it reflects the dry, hot sun above. Shards of light are bouncing off of this vessel, almost blinding me when I turn my eyes toward it. Looking at it full on is almost painful. The vessel tips over. Out of its slender mouth pours a honey-colored liquid, flowing quickly. This liquid is covering the land, seeking the cracks and the breaks and filling them to level. The liquid then begins to seep into the dry ground, saturating it and bringing to life the colors that were already so poignant and beautiful.

Now, those colors are luminescent and vibrant. It's as if they are alive, dancing with the reflection of the sun's rays. The ground is no longer cracked and scarred. But I can still see the fault lines. They are just full and the colors that have welled up in them are more saturated than on the flat surface of the ground. Richer and deeper. The land is alive still, but now it's full of life.
"See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

The lovely pictures included here are courtesy of
Li'l Empress' "Poppa E-yi," who has a wonderful eye for
God's amazing creation and a talent
for capturing it on film.
Thanks, Dad for sharing your talent with us!


Aus said...

Wow - a couple interesting things here lady - first - as I was reading your post - I got a flash of a conversation between Marie and I some years ago. I shelved that thought and kept reading, but when I got to the end of your post I knew I had to write this....

Bless you - and you are 100% on everything you've written - this is a season in a year and will pass and all of that - and yeah - no sympathy - but a TON of understanding. And from a Dad's perspective it's hard too...we really want to 1) have that kind of bond with our kids and 2) give our wives a break. And it's major frustrating to be able to do neither - yet. We have to hold onto the yet.

Now my original thought....over the years Marie did a lot of home health care for those who - frankly - were going to die, for them a happy and peaceful end would be what 'healing' would mean. Yes she did all the medical things - but she also ministered to these folks - on a level that THEY needed. For some it was company and conversation, for others prayer. For some it was helping the survivors, but for all it was what they needed.

During that time Marie and I learned a great many things. I could go on for hours here - but on point is a phrase we developed....when caring for anyone, "when sharing your energy and love - at all time you must be a hose - not a bottle." A hose never runs out, but a bottle - no matter how large - will run dry.

You need that thought. Whatever it takes for YOU to recharge (or refill) when you have an opportunity - you will have to use that! And for you (Miss Type A) that will be your challenge! Grant yourself permission to do whatever - including nap when Lil E naps, or garden, or whatever it is that gives YOU a feeling of personal satisfaction.

Trust me - no one else in the family will mind - and if they do then 'sucking it up' will be their donation of effort for this 'season of the year'! If they look at it that way it'll be groovy for them too!

(Did I just say 'groovy' in public?) Prayers and a load of hugs -

aus and co.

Lauren @ Dragonflies Journey said...

OH, Tracy! What a beautiful post. You brought me to tears...thank God my students aren't here yet! But truly, your understanding of your daughter's heart is inspirational. And I believe you are doing exactly what you should be. She is obviously shaken by something. But with all the love your family has for her I know she will be just fine.

The Gang's Momma said...

Aus, thank you so much! I know that this season is fleeting and soak up the snuggles while I can. Interestingly, a friend spent some time praying over me Monday night and I really believe something broke free that night. She's been almost back to her normal little self. There is much power in prayer!

And Lauren, thank you too. You are sweet. I am trusting my God to be all I need and all she needs in this season. Therein lies our endurance!

Classic MaMa said...

Oh my dear, my heart goes out to you! My little one experiences this too, but not on the level as your precious little girl.

Praying for you! May the God of all revelation come and give you wisdom...and rest. :)

A Beautiful Mess said...

your a great mama to your lil empress....continue to walk the journey with her and you will surely heal her heart.

I know that panic cry all to well. It is truly heartbreaking to hear. I tried to think of Sophie's attachment beginning on day one with us and at around 18 months home I anticipated that we would see increased stress and separation like you would see in an eighteen month old. That might be were your little girl is right now although it doesn't reflect her chronological age, but more likely her "emotional age".

Hugs. I know its exhausting. Steal those moments (ha!) that you can through out the day to refill your cup.


adoptionroad said...

I know exactly the behavior you are expriencing with your daughter. Our youngest has been home almost a year now. When she feels secure, she is the most amazing, happy, fun child. When she feels insecure, her screams could break glass. Since the beginning she has super-glued herself to us whenever she doesn't like a place or a person. We were happy she looked to us as her refuge and that the attachment was growing even with this security issues. It has taken the whole year, but she is very comfortable now with new people and places. However, she still refuses to go to church nursery. I remember friends telling me that I would be okay putting her in there. And I remember saying that it wasn't me that was opposed to her going in the nursery. I wanted her in there. I wanted her to trust us and also allow us to enjoy Sunday school again. We've continued to just pour love on her and wait it out. I don't read into all the adoption related issues that could be causing it. I really like your vision. You are doing the right thing to pour prayer over her during this. I know it's not the final answer to every problem, but time really does make this situation better. It may take a year or longer, but someday you will walk out of a room and she will smile and wave bye-bye and you will praise the Lord for the trusting heart He has given her.

God Bless,

Salzwedel Family said...

What a beautiful vision and a beautiful thing to hear your love for your daughter. Praying for this season and for your little ones heart.

Beverly said...

This is a beautiful post...and I am praying for you in this season of your life!

Love ya,
Your Southern Soul Sister!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! You described my summer to a "t". No one but the Lord is meant to be someone else's life source and it is DRAINING!! I have learned so much about myself (nice and nasty)... I've learned that because I'm "feeding" two of us I need to continually run to Him for everything or else my engine sputters around on an 1/8th of a tank of gas. But the Lord has a plan for both Em and I - not to harm us but to give us a HOPE and a FUTURE. Yes, both mom and daughters hearts race sometimes when we don't feel like we have enough for each other but thru it all we are laying foundations that WILL NOT BE SHAKEN!!! Hang in there - you are doing the right things. Pray, pray, pray and love, love, love.

Totally agree with Aus. The two things that recharge me are time alone (ain't happenin') and time to be creative. I've been indulging my creative side because it's one thing I can do with a sidekick and it has been doing wonders for me.

Wish we lived closer... Vonda

Wife of the Pres. said...

I feel your struggles on this subject. I could have written much of this. Things are better here, but I still see glimpses.

MAJOR HUGS!!! And thanks for sharing the realities in a beautiful way.

Elissa said...

We are proof that those prayers work! A year after being where Lil' Empress is, Lily now runs into her Sunday school class without even looking back. And when I come back she proudly proclaims, "I just be bwave! You ALWAYS come back!"

Trish said...

What an awesome vision of what the Lord is doing and going to do for all of us. As He pours into you, everything you do for her will be showing her His love and one day she will be able to cling to him when she is afraid or lonely b/c you were there for her when she needed you.

I'm praying for you to get the rest - both physically and spiritually - that you need to keep going!