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The Untamed Heart of My Daughter

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This picture displays beautifully why I should trust in the wild, sweet and unknown future of my 14 year-old daughter.  Why I should place my confidence in such a beautiful “free spirit”…

She who seems unable to be tamed.  She who won’t pick up her things, stays up too late, sometimes back-talks, loves everything loud, would rather socialize than study, and appears overly preoccupied with pop culture and image.

Last week, Savannah took a couple close friends to a church youth service activity at a facility that provides emergency shelter for families in transition.  She’d complained about having to go, dragging her feet and friends with her out the door at her parents’ insistence.  I probably wouldn’t have known what an impact it’d had on her unless her friends hadn’t burst through the door to tell me all about it when they returned.  Savannah hung back as they exclaimed in rushed overtures:

“Oh my gosh, it was soooooo sad!  When we first got there we couldn’t believe it and we just went in the corner and we cried and cried and we couldn’t stop crying and there were all these beds and they were all right next to each other and there was this guy who was like reaaaally mean to his kids and there was this other guy who was totally on drugs and he was soooo scary and weird and these kids were soooo lonely and we played with them and they kept wanting us to hold them and we carried them everywhere and they loved our hair and one of them reaalllly loved Savannah and she didn’t want her to leave and….”

I got the picture.

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Savannah and her friends told me they want to talk to the principal of their junior high to see about creating a clothing drive for the children there.

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Yes, her complaining and her music and her friends and her cell phone are loud.  But so is her laughter, and so is her love.  The compassion in my daughter’s heart, given the right set of circumstances, cannot help but find expression.

It’s well…  Unable to be tamed.

Right around the time Savannah went to the homeless shelter, I had a coaching session with a wise and astute woman who is having issues with her oldest daughter.  We discussed how usually other people trigger anger in us when they mirror what we are impatient with ourselves for.  As mothers, who is closer to us than our daughters?  Who better to reflect back how patient we need to be with ourselves?

(Gulp) I, too, have problems with picking up my things, staying up too late, sometimes back-talking …

This last week, it’s hit me that I need to look less on my daughter’s actions and more on the beauty of her heart.  After all, that is what the Ultimate Parent does for each of us Untamed Ones.

“…For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

How Could He Love Them as I Do?

Thirteen – almost 14 – years ago, my entire existence did a complete 360.  Since 1996, I have been consumed – yes consumed is the perfect word here – with feelings I didn’t know I possessed.  Feelings that seemed to burst right out of me, spontaneously.  Naturally.  I’m talking about raw, instinctual, powerful emotions.  Pure love.  Overwhelming joy.  Pure frustration.  Overwhelming fear.

In 1996, I became a Mother.

My Noah, my “firstborn in the wilderness”…10 days overdue, 40 hours of labor (12 of it excruciating enough to propel me to pray to die), 3 hours of pushing out all 9 pounds of him.  He took his time; his wise, sweet-natured, steady time, as I pained and cried and questioned and panicked.

At almost 14, Noah’s still my teacher in this regard.  On waiting on God.  Trusting in His time.  Trusting in His natural, all-consuming, powerful, instinctual, pure love.

As a mother, you want to feel like your children are high up on the priority list in heaven.  Like the angels have charge concerning them.  That God has their backs.

Your 27 -year-old psyche doesn’t grasp, as you hold a soft, precious baby in your arms – your baby – how a remote and mysterious Father could possibly love this little one half as much as you.

And then your 29 year-old self is bursting through an emergency room door, cradling a toddler in a blanket, who’s been so badly burned you and your husband couldn’t wait for the ambulance.  Why are your eyes so desperate while your toddler son’s hold such peace?  Husband lays his hands on your little one in the hospital, calling down a miracle…acting as proxy for the Father who physically couldn’t be there.  No scars remain, no permanent damage done.

Forgetting the miracle, the 36-year-old you is falling to her knees.  Begging for heavenly aid to reach your 9 year-old son.  The son sitting in a corner, hands on his head, rocking back and forth and banging his skull into the wall like he wants to climb right out of his skin, right out of this world.

“Have you forgotten my Noah, Father?” I wail.

“Our Noah,” was the reply, “And no, I have not.”

No, He had not.  3 days later, I had answers.  Aspergers (a high-functioning form of Autism).  What some would term a disorder, but what the Spirit would teach, over the years, is a gift.  Other-worldly.  A protection.   A teacher.

You’d THINK – wouldn’t you – that your 41 year-old self would have gotten it by now?  But she struggles.  She struggles to watch her wise and steady son go through a move, start junior high, and pull his hair out.  Literally.  He does not want to pull his hair out, he explains to you and the psychologist, but he cannot stop.  He is losing his hair and his faith and his hope.  Now, the desperation’s in his eyes. And he searches to find peace in mine.

My Noah, my messenger, my firstborn in the wilderness.  The emotional barometer in our home.  The one who alerts our spirits to impending seasons of healing.  Sacred Stations.

Never have my pleas for another soul been as blazing and urgent.  It was a dark afternoon, not more than 6 weeks ago, that I pulled into the parking lot of a nearby temple, faced eastward and expelled every fear-based emotion my body was holding for my son.  The core of my maternal heart was shattering for my 13 year-old, and I lifted my eyes to the pinnacle of the temple, sobbing, petitioning, begging, pleading…entreating the assistance of heaven once again.  For our Noah.

Perhaps because the 27 or the 29 or the 36 year-old me may not have gotten the lesson of the Father’s love for my son quite strongly enough, I needed to witness another miracle.  I needed to be reminded that the boy I am raising was already raised in the light of perfected parenting, eons before he was stationed in my care.  I needed to not just be reminded, but to feel, that Noah is known, loved, cherished…every whit.

The miracle commenced when loved ones – healers – showed up immediately to comfort me and ground Noah, acting as the Savior’s hands and feet.  It was not two mornings later when, upon waking, I downloaded a new treatment plan.  The supplements, the essential oils, the diet, the routines, the practitioners…all of it.   A month later, a psychologist is scratching his head and Noah and I are smiling and locking arms, walking out of Dr. B’s parking lot.  Spiritually victorious, basking in the light of another miracle.

Noah says he does not mind me sharing this, because a great shift is taking place.  We know we are not out of the woods, and that there will be more lessons in store for his noble soul as he matures.  But I had to write about this tonight, as my mother’s heart is bursting with gratitude.  Yesterday he returned from a week at Scout Camp, and he seemed so…grown.  Tanned and taller, his eyes more blue, his gait more sure. His smile more fixed.

I looked upon him yesterday with the same intensity as the times I’ve looked upon my other children in those intensely emotional mothering moments, completely absorbed with pure, permeating love for them.  And my fleeting thought is always, How could He love them as I do?  I had the impression that when my mother’s heart is feeling this pure love, it originates from Him.  I am feeling HIS love for my child in those consuming moments.  I am literally being filled with His love for my child.

Our Noah.

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Noah and me in 2004…Noah, age 7-going-on-20, and my 35 year-old self