The above pictures are me at or around the same age as Lawson. Five to Five and a half years old. My mom handed me a bag of old pictures when I was visiting home the last time. A few days after we returned to our home, I opened up the bad. I was overcome with emotion. Lawson looks so much like me. But, the one thing that is different is that Lawson feels secure. She feels treasured. She knows she is cherished.
How do I know this? Well, her daddy comes home every night excited to see her. She lights up when she sees her daddy. She runs to him (most of the time. we are not the Beaver's. i promise.) Sometimes she squeals. My mom told me that some of the hardest times for her to watch me was when my real father just wouldn't show to pick me up for his visitation. I can't even imagine how my mom must have felt. I ache over some of the smallest things with my own children.
Looking back, I don't remember those instances, but it does explain the lifelong struggle that has ensued because of it. The thought that I can't do anything to make someone love me. I will never be enough. You will get to know me and want to leave. And you will never want to come back. Then when and if you do show back up, I owe you something. And that something will never be enough to make you want to stay.
I spent my life building little ways to protect myself. So ingrained I didn't even notice. Until I reached the pit. The place where my face couldn't fall any further past the ground. The dirt and grime of struggling to protect myself. Make everything just so. So my family would not have to suffer like I did. They would have what I did not.
While I was busy building all these little "protection mechanisms", I realized that I had absolutely no control over how my family would turn out. And this made me mad. It made me angry. It made me tired. It made me panic. It made me scared. It made me call out to God. Because I didn't think I could go on.
I thought my family would be better off without me. (I was not suicidal. But, I did want to leave. Not sure where I would have gone.)
Oh, how it pains me to even write that. How could I feel like that when I love them more than the air I breathe. How, Lord? Why, Lord? What are You doing to me, Lord? You (The Lord) are going to leave too. Maybe You are taking them from me. This is punishment for my own wretchedness. Awesome. Great.
But, in His great mercy, He has chiseled and chiseled so many things off my soul. He has taught me so much. In looking at the above pictures, He has given me eyes to see His love for me in a very different way. I can see Him in my husband. I can see Him in my children. I see His love for me in the way He has restored my family. Redeemed and restored the things that were broken. I see His goodness to me. And I am thankful. Especially when I look at the pictures below. I get to see a little bit of what I would have been like as a child. And He whispers in my ear, "Trust me, Allison. Trust me. I have you in the Palm of My Hand. Your name is engraved there. (Isaiah 49:16) And I am not ever going to leave you or forsake you. (Joshua 1:5) My Promises are true. I want you to have good things. (Jeremiah 32:37-41, 2 Peter 1:4) I will not bring you harm. I will keep chiseling and you keep trusting, Me."