I remember being awaken in the middle of the night to a shout as my father slammed the light switch on and bright light flooded over me.
“She’s bit her tongue,” he was saying, “and I can’t get her to stop shaking.”
I plunged out of bed and raced to their room, totally unaware of what was going on, but knowing that whatever it was, it had my father, the strong ex Navy Seal that he was, desperate and seeking my help. My memory swirls at this point as I witnessed my mom groaning and shaking in bed, blood dripping down her cheek, while my father tried to pry her mouth open to free her tongue. As an eleven year-old I had no idea what a seizure was. My mother had never acted like this before and my father was beside himself.
I remember when the shaking finally stopped, when she finally woke up, but didn’t recognize us. Didn’t know who my dad was and was calling me Michelle, a name I knew belonged to her childhood friend. I remember my younger brother, Ryan, was there, but didn’t seem too concerned. I tried to talk to my mom, but she wasn’t making sense. I remember my dad picking my mom up, in her nightgown, and carrying her out the front door and into our “combi” (volkswagon bus) and he told me he was taking her to the doctor. He told me to stay there at home with my brother and that they would come back.
We were living in Texcoco, Mexico at the time. We didn’t have family around that we could call, there were no cell phones at that time that he could use to keep in touch with me. Just the promise that he would come back.
I crawled back into bed, curling up beside Ryan, as the dawn began to creep into our home. But my whole body was shaking from fear so noticeably that I was keeping my brother from sleeping. “Stop!” he complained. And I tried to force myself to stop shaking, but my teeth rattled together uncontrollably.
We live and we grow and we change, but somehow, deep down, we are affected profoundly by the wounds we experienced as a child. This is something I was not aware of, though it may seem so obvious. I knew my mother’s seizures (she had one more after the first) had deeply impacted my life, but it wasn’t until this year that I was able to recognize just how they affected me.
Every week I meet with a small group of dear women. This summer we discussed the book, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge. We spent four or five weeks on just one chapter which focused on the wounds we experienced as little girls and the lies we believed because of those wounds and the vows we made on account of the lies. I remember sitting in bed one night with Jason, fighting the tears as I remembered my wound as a little girl in Mexico, witnessing my mother’s grand mal seizure. I knew it had impacted me, but the way it impacted me surprised me. I believed from the time of eleven years on, that I had to be strong for my mom. I grew up that day and in some ways, my role with my mother was reversed. I became the strong one and had to look out for her and take care of her. I hadn’t realized how much I just wanted to be the little girl again.
Jason spoke truth that brought on the tears.
“You don’t have to be strong.”
I don’t have to be strong. I don’t have to have it all together. I can be the shaking little girl, so scared out of her wits that her teeth are chattering. I can be weak like that and crawl into my Heavenly Father’s lap and just let Him hold me. I can be weak.
The next day, after this realization, I received a Newsletter from our dear missionary friends, Ben and Angela, in Puebla, Mexico. I remember reading through it and one sentence standing out to me. Angela was going to meet with some ladies from her church to talk about doing a women’s retreat for the purpose of “soul care”. It was at that moment when God spoke to my heart and told me that I needed to go to Mexico to help with this retreat. I remember going outside and crying. We were in the process of putting our house on the market to sell. The timing was crazy and we had no money to put toward a trip like that! But, when God calls, He provides everything needed.
Jason was in support. I had a group of friends and family who were giving prayer support, and all the finances were taken care of by different people who felt strongly that God would have them give for me to go. But the greatest thing was that my daughter, Addie Rose, was coming with me. I felt all along that she needed to come. Passports, tickets, gifts for Ben and Angela’s family, all of this was provided. It was astounding just how clear God made it that we were supposed to go. So we went.
I can write so much more about all that I learned and all that God did in and through me on this trip back to Mexico. But the biggest accomplishment was done in my own heart. I poured out my heart to Angela concerning the pain from my childhood and she was used mightily by the Lord to pray healing over me. God took me back to the land of my childhood, the land of my wound. He took me back with my daughter to reestablish me as His daughter. I left Mexico healed and free.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor… They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his spendor. Isaiah 61:1,2,3
After all these years, my parents have come a long way and restoration continues to take place. As I process through my healing with my mom, she is encouraging me to be the daughter. I look forward to the coming years.