Today would normally be greeted with excitement and anticipation. Hugs would be given, gifts opened, and a cake would be cut. Today is Natalie's 15th birthday, but she's not here. And the house seems empty.
This week has been a tough one. I've dreaded today, a day that symbolizes our daughter's entry into the world. Reactive Attachment Disorder has hijacked two years from Natalie and from my family. Her pictures decorate the house and serve as a reminder of how life was BEFORE the disorder climbed from the pit of hell and wrapped it's talons tightly around our unsuspecting girl. Every single day, I long to go back in time.
Natalie is still struggling even though she is, thankfully, making steady progress at the therapeutic boarding school. So far, we've all been forced to accept a slow healing instead of the parting of the Red Sea type miracle we pray and faith for. And in it all, I feel lost. Totally lost and completely dependent upon a God I wish I could see, touch, and hear.
Sure, He shows up routinely in many ways: a message from a friend, a particularly tight squeeze from Hopey, or an "I love you so much Momma" from Caleb....but at this place in my life, I want to hold his nail-scarred hands, see the sparkle of love in His eyes, and feel His warm breath in my ear as He speaks the power of truth over me and my family. I want to give My Father a big bear hug and cry on His shoulder! Would I fall on my knees if the Lord showed up at my front door today? No, I would pack Him up in my Suburban, drive Him to Natalie as fast as I could, and watch Him heal her. It's the absolute truth! I'm ready for healing NOW!
Lydia has days where she bursts into tears, missing her sister. At 15, she is still trying to process Natalie's mental breakdown, her physical aggression, and the hateful words spoken. She knows none of the hysteria was Natalie's fault...that it was the result of a disorder triggered by a latent memory of the Russian orphanage experience...but her heart is still hurting. On the phone, when I speak to Natalie, she always cries. At 15, she is lost in the confusion of her breakdown, trying to figure out why she battles the feelings of aggression and hate, and wondering if she'll ever feel whole and happy again.
And they both reach out to me. At 45 years of age, you'd think I would've garnered enough wisdom to fix this. I'm their mom, and know them better than anyone, so where are the words...where are the words.....WHERE ARE THE WORDS?
When you choose to believe in a God you cannot see or hear (and make no mistake, it is a choice), the only answer is to go to the foundation of what you believe....His Story. His Word. So today, on Natalie's birthday, I celebrate what I believe. I believe Psalm 139 is true...that nothing is lacking and no detail has been left unattended. Everything Natalie is going through is part of the grand plan of the One who created her. Her days were numbered and ALL was put in place and ready to go from the moment His heart conceived her. And I absolutely believe in those beautiful nail scarred hands. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, and the pain was almost more than He could bear, I believe the Almighty King of Kings thought of me and He thought of Natalie. Although the angels were camped around Him, ready to rescue Him from that gruesome scene , He knew how much we needed that cross and He went all the way for us. He finished strong. Then, when he burst with life from the tomb with victory, that too, was for us! Victory was ours the moment He awoke from death and stepped from the grave! WHERE ARE THE WORDS???? There is only one word needed: VICTORY!
So this evening, our family will gather around and cut a cake for Natalie's birthday in her absence...but we won't be singing Happy Birthday. Instead, in honor of Natalie, we'll be singing:
OH, VICTORY IN JESUS,
MY SAVIOUR FOREVER
HE SOUGHT ME
AND HE BOUGHT ME
WITH HIS REDEEMING BLOOD
HE LOVED ME
ERE I KNEW HIM
AND ALL MY LOVE
IS DUE HIM
HE PLUNGED ME TO VICTORY
Psalm 139: 13-16: Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.