I’m have been learning a lot about fighting lately. I’ve never seen myself as a fighter. I avoid conflict. I call spats with my husband “discussions”, not “arguments”. I don’t enjoy movies with fighting and think it’s strange that people watch wrestling as enjoyment. The fight I’m learning about it one within myself. And it’s all because of this 23 lb little girl who crawled into our lives in late July. This girl….whew, she’s something else. Her scrunched up nose with a delightful cackle and smile endears your heart to hers, and in next moment, her screams and tantrums make you second guess that same endearment. She came to us broken, scared, uncertain, and because of that, she tests our love and devotion to her. She can’t help it. Due to a short 10 months of history prior to us that contains multiple broken attachments and the trauma of drug exposure, her brain fights to protect itself until we can prove ourselves to her and can help her form new and healthy neuro-pathways.
Several weeks ago I was rocking her in the night, holding her writhing body that thrashed about in my arms, trying to stop her screams. She would calm herself, slow her breathing down for a few seconds, and then jerk against me and start all over again. This went on and on and on. Holding someone like this is exhausting and in the middle of the night when I’d like to be sleeping, my patience was growing extremely thin. I kept thinking, “If you’re going to fight me, then I’m just going to put you down and let you figure this out on your own.” I was getting so agitated and angry at her. In that moment, I sensed I was in a battle, invited into the one she is fighting. I felt sick at the thought of all she’s been through, that she doesn’t even understand and has no words to describe. I felt the ugliness of sin that had wrapped its claws around her life and left ugly scars. And I heard this – “Fight for her, not against her.”
Ever since then, that’s been my mantra. Multiple times a day I remind myself of it. It’s a terrible battle to be in, but she’s showing me it’s worth it. Some days I think I’ve lost the fight and it’s easier to give in and treat her as the enemy. Then I get a glimpse of hope and gain the perspective God wants us to see. He says through the words of Paul, our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12)
I will fight for her. I will fight for her future, for her capacity to love and attach. I will fight for her chance to be a healthy girl who is secure. I will fight for her so she has the best chance of knowing Jesus and the healing He has for her. I will fight for her heart.
I will fight against injustice. I will fight against the lies of hopelessness. I will fight against the cycle of sin in her family. I will fight against my own feelings of resentment, bitterness, and anger towards her. I will fight against the pull to give up on her, and be no more than just a caretaker of her basic needs.
Some of the greatest battles ever fought have brought about the greatest freedoms we enjoy. She is worth the fight. We’ll both come out with battle wounds, I’m sure of it, but someday I believe we will raise our hands in victory together.