Shirt soaked, the suds engulfed my arms. Water sloshed as she fought me. She’s 9 and I’m still stronger, so I finally got her in the tub. Breathing hard, I knelt next to the bath, stroked her dark hair, poured calm words over her anguish. Warm water wrapped her struggle-reddened skin. She slowly calmed, began to draw deep, steady breaths. After a few moments she turned and in her eyes I saw she was back with me again.
It took an hour to get her to this place. Fighting, redirecting, soothing, spouting coping ideas, I helped her pull out of the mental implosion that swallowed her. What lit the fuse? The wrong sound, the wrong smell, the wrong response from me or a sister. Every time it’s a little different.
Some days my fight is weak. Some days I let her implode in the other room and when things calm, I re-engage. Intuitively, I reassure and speak hope and encouragement while we’re getting her calm. Somehow that helps her through.
Me? I’m another story entirely.
In order to get through these suds-soaked, ears-deafened, heart-rended moments, I have to have something bigger than me to hold on to. I can’t trust my girl’s mind will heal from bipolar and PTSD (though I still pray for that regularly). I can’t trust I will act kindly toward her no matter what mood-induced-venom pours from her lips. But I can defy her grasp for control over our interaction by choosing to trust God for better.
Trust isn’t a feeling, it’s a promise and intention. Because of that, it gives back the dignity we lose intervening in the whirlwind. We find safety when we choose to trust One bigger than us, who can handle whatever we face in life. Knowing He’s sitting there on the floor in spirit with us, keeping us going when we want to run away.
“But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD'” – Psalm 31:14