Sweet girl, but she walked in that day with a cross between terror and distrust on her face. On that first day she came she brought reinforcements. Her protection sat in a car across the street in case she needed to make a quick getaway.
I greeted her with a hug and she was shaking and determined to not talk.
She sat at my table overlooking my flower garden staring at the Amazing Grace plaque I had nailed to the fence, and tears just waiting to be released.
There had been other attempts from other people to help her heal from a childhood that had lied to her and robbed her of her innocence; a childhood that had picked her up and spit her out into the emptiness to fend for herself; a place she had locked herself up within a cage of torment, but was safer than venturing out into the unknown…and so that no one would see or notice. But those well meaning attempts to help her were not welcomed nor were they successful because according to her she did not trust them nor did she think anyone would love her if they knew her secrets.
And now here she was at my table, eyeing me with suspicion and maybe a little of, “what makes you any different than the others.”
For the first session I did most of the talking. I explained that for this to work she had to do the work. She had to talk. She had to give me something. She would drop her head and tears would flow down her cheeks and we were left with silence.
I felt Holy Spirit prompting me to just wait, not be in a hurry. So, I waited and became comfortable with the silence as the weeks turned into months. Sometimes we sat there for 5 to 10 minutes with neither of us saying more than 2 words. I refused to speak for her, though it was tempting to break the silence and uncomfortableness.
I eventually began to share with her what a precious daughter to the King she was. I told her He rejoiced at her loveliness and none of what happened to her defined who she was meant to be and would be one day.
I told her God had a plan for her and He was enthralled with her beauty.
And He wanted to heal her from the past.
Week after week, we made little progress it seemed. Many times she would start to tell me a secret and would take at least a half hour to get out only part of the secret and then she would collapse into sobs. I assured her it was okay and that we would tackle these obstacles together.
Then one day she finally started coming on her own– without the reinforcements.
She eventually started to trust me and slowly…very slowly…began to open up with her dark secrets. Sometimes she would only get out a sentence and then crumble again into tears.
She loved to say, “I don’t know” a lot. I told her she could say anything but “I don’t know”….and she broke the habit of hiding behind those words. She really did know.
She had tried to hurt herself many times, she finally told me. She felt ugly inside and couldn’t imagine Jesus wanting her as she was so undesirable. She felt dirty and caged and covered it up as best she could.
With each new disclosure, her trust grew, and I began to see a new beauty emerge. After many months, week after week of spending time just sitting together and her slowly revealing her childhood to me, she began to change more and more. She eventually gained an empowerment that was solely from the Holy Spirit.
She confided to me finally that she loved my hugs. I gave them even more freely then. I sensed that the little girl inside of her had not received many in her life time…and every time I hugged her she cried.
She would melt in my arms.
She won her way into my nurturing heart. But I knew that without His grace reaching down into her heart, revealing to her the value He placed on her, I, myself, could not help her.
Because I had been in that very place myself as a young woman and I knew that without His intervention I had no strength to pass on to her.
But God had plans for Hannah.
After 8 months of our weekly sessions she showed up one day at my door with a smile on her face, anticipating my hug, and I saw no fear. There seemed to be a break through. She began to open up more and more and started making herself accountable to me if she was tempted to do something that she knew was destructive. She began sharing more details of her abuse and her feelings and fears that had entrenched themselves into her very fiber.
And with each disclosure came more healing.
Oh, she tested me a couple of times. She wanted to see if I would walk away. But I didn’t. I am not the walking away type, and by this time I knew God was working in her in a big way and had great plans for her. I confronted her and loved her through it.
She learned that forgiveness is real.
One day I knew God was going to move Hannah out of the area. I just knew that she could not stay where she was and continue to grow.
And it was time she left the nest and flew on her own. Oh, I would still be there, but I knew it would be a different role.
And I had to face my own issues of letting go.
Sure enough she was offered an opportunity in another state to start a new life. I told her God had told me she would go and that it was okay, it was time. After a year of coaching she was ready to go into the face of fear and go out on her own. I wasn’t prepared for the deep sadness that overtook me. We had become very close. And those last few weeks before her departure was hard on both of us. We would sit and talk about all the opportunities God was going to open up to her with excitement and within moment our eyes would well up.
We planned a birthday lunch on the beach. We went together like Mom and daughter. I bought her a heart necklace engraved on the back so she would always be reminded that I am close in heart and that Jesus is even closer. We sat at the beach and talked and talked.
Boy, what a change from that first day of sitting at my table as the clock ticked.
I couldn’t help but remember back a year ago when that pale faced, young girl, showed up at my front door shaking and terrified, not able or willing to utter a word to me. And now I was looking into the face of a young woman glowing with promise and she had a huge smile of gratefulness and unabashed love on her face; A woman with hope and excitement about her future.
Don’t tell me miracles aren’t for today.
Don’t tell me coaching backed by the Spirit of God doesn’t work. It is revealed in an awesome display of His glory on the faces of those who bravely submit themselves into His trust when they come to be coached.
I wrote a poem for her before she left. I don’t know if it was as much for me to let go–as it was for her to leave. She has given me permission to use it here…to share with you…to give you hope in whatever you face.
She came in tears
shredded and spent
sorrow and guilt
hope lost for comfort
The journey began
into new awakenings
A Princess you say?
alone and shattered me?
a melody began to play ♫
“Dance with Me” He whispers
“Come put your head on My shoulder
let Me hold you
breathe with Me
I’m healing all your wounds
and taking you on a journey
are you willing to go with Me?”