Tiny thing of only three
Golden pigtails all amiss
She swings and swings
Swings and sings
Flinging little legs with passionate kicks
Here she can finally be
She clearly sees her Papa
The higher she flings
The louder she sings
He can hear her at this height
Little verses from little lungs
Breathed with the beat
In her little bird heart
All else melts away
Like crayons in the sun
When she kicks and flings
And swings and sings
No care in the world
But her Lord and worship
Unaware of the evil next door
Of the man who would come
For her innocence and song
Tiny thing of only four
Knows more of the world than she ought
Her song silenced in shame unspoken
Now, she kicks and flings and screams
Not for fun
Twenty-some odd years later, the broken little girl was emprisoned in an adult body, ruled by shame. Half of her heart longed for Her Lord to return to her, hold her close to His chest, and show her what love was supposed to look like. The other half, revolted; where the hell was He when these things happened? What kind of Father leaves a three year old in an old garage in the hands of lustful men? Men who held her to their chests, suffocated and abused her. Those who got close took all they could til she was a carcass of dry bones. Love? Well, what the heck is that? Does she even know what love looks like? Or peace? Or trust or joy or safety?
Her actions were her own, yet not. Her heart buried in chaos and shame and control. She knew she had to get back to her Papa, but she had no strength for the journey.
That’s where He found me. All the fragments of me, strewn across moments and personas and locked levels of closeness. My spirit crying out, my mind and body failing at every turn. He met me there.
About two months ago, I found an old photograph of my three year old self on my old swing set – the one I had before “the incident.” Before I even made that connection, I would weep, like, uncontrollably even time I happened upon that photo. I never quite knew why – I was dangling from the monkey bars, huge grin on my face. That was a happy time. Yet somehow, my soul knew something my head had forgotten.
When I was given the revelation of why this photograph hurt so much, I was also reminded of my aspirations to be the next Amy Grant. Even at three, I just knew I had the vocals to lead people to Jesus by the millions. I’d sneak away to my swing set, swing as high as I could, and sing at the top of my lungs, feeling like He really could hear me better since I was closer to Him on the up swings. And it was always that same, 80s cheese ball Vineyard song. Always. Repeat.
It’s been quite a journey that started when I was about 20 and intensified when I started serious counseling 3 years ago. But, about three weeks ago, God stepped in and completely healed these memories. He stripped away the shame that has insulated me from intimacy with Him, and shortly after that, He gave me a powerful revelation of my salvation – a prayer of mine for YEARS, that I would feel what Jesus felt, know He was really real, and physically feel His love and forgiveness. It’s all had a domino effect trickling deep into every other crevice of my being. I was set free, and I stepped into my true identity for the first time since I was three years old. Since that day, I have been singing. Loudly. About everything, all day. He restored my song. I even received the gift of tongues, which I suspect has always been there, but it’s in singing form, not spoken. I sing in the Spirit, but my song needed to be redeemed. I feel His peace for the first time – in fact, the feeling was so foreign to me that I couldn’t even name what I was feeling when the lady praying with me asked. Someday, I’ll share these stories.
But for now, I want to share is what happened last night. Watching the Son of God movie for the second time, God showed up. I felt my heart responding powerfully to Jesus’ torture and crucifixion. I felt my sins nailing Him to that cross. I felt His compassion for me, and my little heart cried out, “Jesus, what were you thinking in that moment before death? Oh, Papa, please tell me you gave Him comfort, gave Him hope, gave Him relief!” In that moment, Jesus spoke clearly to me:
“Little One, I was seeing you.
I was watching you swing,
and I passionately loved you.
Your song made it worth it.”
And then the Jesus on the screen cried out to heaven and released His spirit.
As he hung there, fully human and grasping at life, Papa God showed Him me.
And He decided my song was worth every moment.