“Bubbles!” my 17-month son squealed, automatically reaching his hand skyward.
Three times a day my children beg for dish-soap bubbles. It’s a simple joy I like to entertain, even though the bubbles dissolve on the linoleum floor, calling attention to the dirt I try so hard to pretend is not there.
In ten years’ time, they will not remember the floor smudges, but the bubble-smashing-fun with mom in the kitchen. I like that thought.
Then it happened.
My five-year old daughter burst through the kitchen, exclaiming, “YES! I want bubbles, too!”
Gently, I pivoted left opening a spot for her to reach through to get the bubbles; all the while, my hands remained immersed, as I clutched a handful of sharp utensils.
“Sweetie…” I started to warn her about the sharp knives, thinking she was approaching me on my right. Instead, she pirouetted to the left as her body pressed against my back, and her arm grazed my inner abdomen, just missing my breasts.
I bellowed, swatting an open, bubble-covered hand at her shoulder. I didn’t even think. My words and action were a reaction, an internal protest from deep within me, an unchecked rage from decades ago.
Bubbles clung to her cheek, and she wilted, retreating to the doorway of the kitchen.
My mouth started moving, fumbling with words to explain. What did I just do? How can I explain to her what just happened inside of me? She’s five! Oh, Lord Jesus…
She screamed, hurt: “Just stop talking to me! I don’t want to know!!!”
Returning to my bubbles and dishes, I whispered, “Oh, Lord…”
In that “Oh, Lord,” my heart said: Give me words. Help me connect with her. If only she could understand… Help me make it right by her. Oh, Lord, I need you..
Twenty minutes later the bubble-play resumed. Hesitant and with great caution, she approached the sink.
I lowered my voice to a lilt and began, “It’s okay, sweetie. I’m sorry about before. See, most people–when you come up behind them and touch them–they don’t like it.”
“Oh,” she answered, dipping her fingertips gently, deliberately in the foamy sink.
“And…” I took a deep breath, “when mommy was a little girl, someone gave her a boo boo in her heart that never goes away. When you reached around me like that, it was that old boo boo in my heart that scared me. I’m sorry that I pushed you away and yelled at you. Will you forgive me?”
Since then my heart wrote a letter to my daughter. It reads:
Oh dear one…
Your mama loves you dearly, and I never want to hurt you or see you hurt. Ever. So it saddens my heart today that I hurt you, even involuntarily.
That hurt I told you about earlier today was a touch to my body: a touch that made me feel trapped, hurt, ugly, and choked for air.
It was the kind of touch that hurt me, not just on my body, but deep in my heart, deep in the places that create and hold our thoughts, our dreams, our love, our hate. It was the kind of touch that caused me to cry myself to sleep at nights and pray that the morning light would come faster, faster.
Sweet one, you are my daughter, the joy of my heart. Now that I have time to think, I know that your touch was the bouncy, fun-loving, energy bubble-popping kind of touch.
In the moment, though, you caught me by surprise, and deep in that place where the hurt hides, it told my body that your touch was that hurtful touch.
My prayer is that today’s touch gets lost in your forgiveness and doesn’t cling to the recesses of your heart.
Your Mama’s heart
Oh, Lord, long ago I begged that you would end the perverse and abusive legacy and begin anew in and through me. Oh, and how much change You have already ordained.
Like the persistent widow, I will continue to ask and beg and pray that you will heal the deep-seated wounds, ending this generational sin. Unlike the persistent widow who begged of a wicked, unfeeling king, I beg of a kind, caring, and tenderhearted King, who cares for me–and my family.
Lord, watch over the little ones entrusted to my care while You, my Great Physician, heals this mama.
“Sweetie, wanna mop the floors?” I asked later.
“YES!!!” she says thrusting both fists into the air and throwing back her head, “Can we make extra big bubbles today?”
“Yep. You bet, sweet one.”
What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Today, I’m accepting the dare to trust the Lord–in His timing–for grace while I mother my cherished ones, and I dare to flood my children’s memories with good, healthy touches.
What’s your next step?
In what areas have you seen moments of involuntary response to sight, touch, sound? How did you handle it? Did you voice what was happening? Consider sharing a victory moment when you were able to speak up, ask for forgiveness where needed, and trust in the Lord for your complete healing–on His time table.
Btw, check out my About page. 🙂 I **finally**drafted it. 🙂