Her little cheek pressed to mine and I could feel the warm tears pouring from her eyes. I scratched her back and rubbed her soft hair in my fingers. Her little eight year old body shook from the intensity of her cry. She hurt. Her little girl heart and soul ached. “Shhh. Shhh.” I did not say much, I was just there.
“Why? How can that happen?” Each word was spoken with difficulty because of the deep cry she fought to calm. I laid in my bed beside my daughter.
At the age of eight, my daughter has given into the routine of bedtime. She is a hard sleeper. She prefers her bed full of stuffies and falling asleep in her own bedroom. At the rare request of sleeping on Mommy and Daddy’s floor, I knew something was pressing on her heart. With a request to cuddle, I prompted her to lay down on my bed and I slipped in beside her.
She laid cuddled in the bed chatting away, like my Chatty Maddie does, and it took a little while for her heart to release the struggle within. “Why doesn’t she have a Mommy anymore?”
The Mother of one of her closest friends had thrown in the towel and walked away. It rocked Madison’s world. It rocked my world. Questions, so many questions. So much hurt that seemed to have no reason. Why should any little girl have to go through this?
Madison hurt for her friend, wanting desperately to comfort her. My mind raced with the agony of how any mother could cause her own child so much pain.
There are natural responses that spring up within me. I long to shield and protect my daughter from the hurt of this world. I want to ignore that it exists and spoil her beyond the thoughts of pain and suffering. I want to reason that this hurt could never come to my family. I want to assure her that we are safe from this possibility. I want to run and hide. And then I breathe.
I inhale and I exhale and I say a quick prayer, “God, I do not understand this. I need you to speak, not me.” I focus and I realize. I am preparing my daughter for battle. I am raising a soldier. This life is hard and I long to raise a woman of God that is equipped for the difficulties of life that are sure to come her way.
“Madison, I love you so so much. Daddy loves you so very much. But who loves you more?” And I continued to rub her back.
Her response had been taught. She had learned it in the songs I sang to her as a baby, the answer was in the school we chose to send her to, the answer was in the nightly devotions, in the love of her bedroom decor, in nature walks, and sacrifices made so she could have everything to her benefit, even in the television shows we chose. Her response was JESUS.
“Madison. I do not know why this happened. But let’s do everything we can to help her so that she can know how much Jesus loves her and that no matter what happens, he is always there for her.”
You see, I never ever want my daughter to hurt. But it is a reality of this world. I do my very best to protect her, but I do not have to seek out these lessons, pain and sin are everywhere. What matters is if I teach her how to react. I long to teach her to chose right, how to help others, how to forgive, how to love, and even how to hurt.
No matter how much I try to keep it away, my daughter will cry again. She will hurt again. I can shout at her to “toughen up” and harden her heart and steal that compassion that she has for others. I can ignore her questions and leave her scared and insecure. Or I can give her the only tool that will lead her to love, security, strength, and compassion: JESUS.
So, Madison, while your question pierces deep into my heart and soul, I do not know, I do not understand, but I know the one who does. And sweetheart, I can see that Jesus has amazing plans for your life and he has made you such a strong, sweet little girl that he is already using you to bring love and comfort to a little girl that no longer has a Mommy. And right now, I am so proud to say that YOU sweetheart are part of Jesus’s answer.