The kids are outside playing when she falls into old patterns.
I hear her before I see her through the window. She’s having a pity party and those victim garments she’s heaped on can be spotted a mile away. She’s pouting and sniffling and holding herself aloof from everyone, hoping someone will come along and pet her little pitiful self.
She makes her way to the patio, dragging her feet and hanging her head and I know she wants to come inside. But her old identity has been triggered by something and she’s operating from “victim” instead of from “daughter” and I know she’s going to test me on the way this is all supposed to go. She always does.
I stick my head out the back door. “Little Bit,” I tell her, “momma doesn’t listen to pouting. If you want to come inside, you use your words and ask.”
She gets mad at me. She really puts on the tears then and starts boo-hooing. She is unhappy that I’ve given her a way out, because really? A self-imposed victim doesn’t want a way out, they want to convince everyone they really are a victim. They want their flesh petted.
She hates it when I refuse to agree with her ”poor me” status, when I give her a way out of her pity party.
I tell her, “When you are ready to stop pining and use your words, knock on the door and let me know.”
I go back inside.
I watch her through the slats of the blinds. She pines and moans and groans and bewails.
I see her struggle, her desire to come inside battles against the demons of her past. But in order to come in, she’s got to give up her victim cloak, the identity of “abandoned.” She’s got to accept the fact that she’s got a voice and when she uses it, those who love her listen.
“Come on, Little Bit,” I murmur under my breath, hidden unseen behind the blinds. “You can do this.”
Finally, she inches closer to the door, bit by bit. She rubs her eyes with the backs of hands and quiets herself for a split second. She reaches her hand out to knock… then pulls it back, rubs her eyes some more and sheds a few more tears.
She just does not want to let go of the old identity: “Forsaken. Unloved. Abandoned. Helpless.”
Why is it that we think wearing those old garments of rejection will somehow protect us best?
I wouldn’t have heard it happen, but I was watching. I saw when she put knuckles on glass door. I nearly tripped over myself rushing to the door. I’m there so fast I surprise her.
“Did you knock?” I ask sweetly, innocently.
“Yesshh,” she tells me with her heavy tongue and I take her in and tell her she is loved and must use her words because mom is here to help but I can’t help if she only pouts and doesn’t tell me what she needs.
What I’m really telling her is that she has a voice.
“Oh sweetheart,” I want to tell her, “You have a voice and the reason I make you use it is because I want you to know that from the inside out. When you use your voice, you shed the old identity and you grow into your new one. You discover who you are and what you were meant for. I want you to see that momma and your whole family will move heaven and earth when you use your voice.”
But she is only 4 and I am an imperfect momma who doesn’t know how to communicate such rich, deep, sacred things of the heart and soul. Me, broken one myself.
So I just stroke her face and her hair and I look deep in her chocolate eyes and I see me ~ a girl so afraid to hope, to believe, to trust. So afraid to let go of the identity given her by no choice of her own.
Victims don’t decide what’s done to them. Victims don’t decide who they are in that inner most place. They are told. They become what others or circumstances say.
And I know this: Victims don’t have a voice.
It strikes me so clearly then that I’m stunned.
Is this why God tells us to ask? Because He wants us to know He’s given our voice back?
I’m incredulous. Yes, I think that’s it, at least in part.
All the times I sat pouring out my “prayers” to God…was it really no different than Little Bit’s pouting and whining? Was it really simply a poor me party that I was hoping He’d join in on? And I took His silence for rejection…When all along, He was telling me to stop seeing myself as a victim and start asking.
Because He absolutely aches for me to live like the daughter I am.
“Use your voice, My child. Ask. There’s a reason I don’t listen to whining.” Because He will not validate or agree with my self imposed victim status.
And time after time when my stubborn refusal brought me near heat stroke, He retrieved me from the yard with a sad smile and carried me in arms with eternal hope that maybe next time…maybe next time. Next time I’d open the lips, lift the tongue, taste a word.
Maybe next time I’d ask.
Victims don’t have a voice but daughters do. I trace my finger across the bridge of my daughter’s nose and tears drip down my face.
“Do you know what?” I ask her.
She nods yes, she does know and I laugh at her confidence because she probably does. I say it often enough.
“God gave you to me,” I tell her, “And He gave me to you. We’re here to take care of each other.”
She sees my tears dripping and when I draw her close, her normally rigid body clings to mine.
Later, I’m jotting this down, recording holy ground moments between two hearts God has entwined. The Voice speaks to my heart and suddenly I’m the one standing outside on the patio, tears falling, rubbing eyes, wanting to knock but knowing it means letting go of all that old stuff.
“You don’t knock for the same reason she doesn’t,” He tells me. “You’ve grown far too comfortable in those shabby clothes, the rejection of the past, the shame and condemnation, the identity of “unworthy” and “not good enough” and “worthless.”"
“And I’m telling you to Ask, Seek, and Knock. I’ve given you back your voice. I’ve given you a new identity. I’ve given you the ability to move and breathe and bless and love. I’ve given you a new family and I’m your Daddy. The more you ask, seek, and knock, the more separated you become from that old self that no longer applies.”
“These are the keys for moving from Victim to Victor.
Before, you learned that if you used voice, you were ignored, condemned, or hurt. Now, as you ask and see Me respond, you will learn to trust Me with all your heart.
Before, you learned that if you tried to find a way out, you were beaten down mercilessly. Now, as you seek and find what your heart craves, you will learn that you can open up, risk, and find real, full life.
Before, you learned that if you knocked no one would listen. Or worse, it was a waste of precious energy. Now, as you knock and discover My riches opening to you, you will exit the bondage of the past and enter the fullness of My provisions.
In these things, I have outlined for you My fail-proof method to overcoming victimization. Therefore, Ask and it will be given. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
And clinging to the hand of my Eternal Daddy, I do.
Adoption is teaching me, more than anything that ever came close, to enter into the inheritance given me in Christ Jesus. It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done…gut wrenching, mind boggling, heart rending…but just as a mother bears down in agony to birth life, so I bear down to enter in.