A night to remember...

Last night something beautiful happened.

To put it into context allow me to paint some canvas around the focal point of last night to texture the setting.

Lately, our youngest, Taylor has been vexed with fear and worry that has been paralyzing her personality as well as making it impossible for her to sleep at night without a melodrama that makes you want to not exist anymore. Through much conversation and almost acrobatic age appropriate talking/listening to her little 5 year old spirit, we have identified a few things that have cause pause in her soul, which is a nice way of saying "stunted in her internal growth". They are as follows:

1. We left her home about 7 weeks ago accidentally. We were taking our car to someone's house and Heidi thought she was in the car with me and I thought she was in the van with Heidi when, in reality, she was upstairs trying to find some shoes to wear. We drove off with oblivious confidence only to get to our destination Taylorless. I rushed home to find her weeping in the entry way of our home. She seemed ok with it initially as I explained to her the perfectly logical misstep we made and tried to assure her that we didn't, in fact, forget her, we just made the mistake of thinking the other person had her and as such...blah, blah, blah...the rationale is superflouos because to her, "We forgot her and left her alone." For a couple weeks we noticed no change of patterns in her temperment or faculties. What we didn't know is the latent nature of this sort of occurence. A couple weeks of gestation surfaced in an inordinate fear of being left alone.

2. Another thing that piggybacked that traumatic experience happened at a friends house. They (her and another youngster) were innocently talking about life and somehow or another started talking about how a young boy in the area was kidnapped way back when. Her little friend was about 6 years old, so he explained this experience in the vivid details of a 6 year older's perspective. It went something like this...the child walked away from the parents, a mean man gave the kid some candy and lured him into his car and then was taken away and killed by this unfeeling terrorist of children. "Manslaughter" in the laymen's terms of a 6 yr. old. Abduction, Kidnapping, Murder...these are concepts and words that no 6 year old has the mental apparatus to interpret well...heck, adults don't even know how to process this sort of lunacy. That spun her into a panic of sorts that made her fearful that she would be taken and killed by someone if she didn't stay right next to us. And I mean "right next" to us. There have been times in the last couple weeks were if we leave her sight she will run to find us and we're simply in the next room. She can't be upstairs if we're downstairs, furthermore, she can't be in the kitchen if we're in the dining room. It's that outlandish. But this is what fear does, it kills innocence.

3. The third trauma--which won't feel that traumatic to you or I because we've been desensitized to this travesty--is the divorce of John and Kate from the hit show on TLC "John and Kate plus 8". They have loved this show the last couple years and have developed a real kinship with this family. When their relationship started to unravel in the late spring, all the girls were deeply affected, but I think Taylor maybe the most. One of the things that made this marital breakdown most distubing is that they just had an episode this past year where John and Kate flew the whole family to Hawaii, where John grew up, and beautifully reenacted their wedding and renewed their vows to each other. They even looked at the children as said, "We will never get divorced because we would never do that to you!" My girls took this vow to be what it was, a vow...a promise...a cross-your-heart-hope-to-die-stick-a-needle-in-your-eye covenant that can't be broken or reniged upon. So when they watched as lies came forth and vows unravelled, they were heartbroken, but Taylor was petrified. She trasfered their relationship to ours, and was deathly afraid that Heidi and I were going to get a divorce. She would get out of bed and walked down the stairs to see if we were on the couch snuggling. She kept reminding us that we made vows to each other and that we couldn't break those vows. But inside, she knew that it didn't matter what you said, that just like John and Kate, you could get a divorce if you really wanted to. It disabled her.

4. Mix those three things with the death of a someone in our band whose family is very close to ours, and you have a formula for obsessive-compulsive paranoia. Which is what she has been tettering on for about a solid month. Nathan's death--a 19 guy from our praise band killed in a car accident in June--spoke into her little heart that Mommy could leave in the car and someone could run a light, hit her, and kill her. Every time Heidi would leave, she would uncontrollably cry believing that it might be the last time she would see her. Suffice it to say that when children interact with depravity and brokenness at a level they are not intended to in their premature state, they can't take it in stride. It suffocates them, paralyzes them, kills them on the inside.

So there's some paint around what I wanted to share with you about the beauty of last night. Cheri, who happens to be the mother of the young man who was killed about 7 weeks ago, came over to pray with our family, especially the girls. We all sat on the floor in our living room and talked about fear, life, worry, the kingdom, prayer, pressure, Jesus and most importantly how each of these things relates to TRUTH. What we neede more than anything was to believe TRUTH. Cheri asked the girls questions and they responded with their take on what was the matter. They listened to her with bated breath. They spoke out their concerns, anxieties, feelings and wonderments. Anything from things they picture in their little minds (the mug shot of Michael Jackson) to questions about Nathan's death (how, when, where, who, why). I spoke into their lives as a father who was trying to pierce the shroud of deception with the sword of truth. Heidi was holding the girls and speaking her motherly femininity into these "little women". We spoke openly about anything and everything that we could think to dig out from under the darkness of deception. No more nebulous feelings that have no attachment to reality. No more believing lies that disguise themselves as logical. No more hoping it will go away with time. No more handling this with kid gloves. It was time for battle, which is to say it was time for prayer.

After we had vented all the pent up pressures and shared all the, even, embarrassing secrets, we sat on the floor in a circle and Cheri prayed individually with each of the girls and then anointed them with oil in the name of Jesus. When she did this, they would open their eyes and watch her tilt the little pastic bottle of oil to the side, leaving a little thin layer of liquid on her index finger. She would slowly move her finger to the center of their foreheads and cover them with the cross signifying Jesus healing presence. I think they were both stupefied and mystified by this this symbolic gesture, but after she left, they said they liked it! They said they wished we could talk like that every night and pray together with Cheri. I couldn't agree more.

I could go on, but I'll leave it at that. Thank God for Christ's enduring and abiding presence that joins us still in the fat middle of our frailty and fragility. May he bind us up with his wounds afresh.


Elle M. Wats said…
I came across your blog thru a friend; wow, I could definitely feel this story. And I know the Niemeier family too. Cheri is such a sweet lady. You write with such detail and sweetness. Keep sharing!

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