The day my daughter was born I held her in my arms and recalled the dream I’d had a few months earlier, of holding her cheeks in my hands and telling her she was beautiful. My dream, now a reality, has repeated itself over the last three and a half years as I’ve watched my darling girl grow more beautiful by the day. I was prepared to love, protect and adore her, but I was not prepared for the buried hurt that would surface as she grew older.
It began almost unnoticed as I would tell her how beautiful she was, my heart would remind me I was not often told I was beautiful. I would tell her how she has a gift for making people laugh, and my heart would remind me I was told I couldn’t do anything right.
And so it began. Each sweet mother-daughter moment a reminder of one missed in my own story that can never be recovered. Facing the buried hurts and fears my own “little girl” heart had covered up has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. After trying to manage the hurt myself for a few years, I finally took the brave step of going to see a counselor.
One friend had told me, “it was the best thing I did for myself.” I clung to her words as I faced my fears of admitting I was not ok, and I couldn’t hold it together any longer. As my counselor and I began to tackle the deep heart wounds of a childhood of physical and emotional abuse I realized how much of my thinking about myself and relating to others has been affected by my emotional scars.
Sometimes the brave thing is to stop acting like you have it all together and finally fall apart. I’d like to think the hard part is over, but the truth is – healing takes time. Some days require a whole lot more bravery than others as I learn to stop protecting myself so fiercely by holding people at a distance. It takes guts to let people in to know you and love you. It’s hard to trust when your heart has been so badly hurt, but the only other answer is to stay frozen and alone. As I recall the dream I had of my beautiful girl, it is all worth it! My precious little girl gets to have a mommy that is healing and loves her with a well heart!
Hannah Collins is a wife of 11 years to her patient husband, John, and mommy to two children – Caleb, 6 and Ava, 3. She is part of MOPS at First Baptist Church Niceville in the panhandle of Florida where she had attended for four years. You can find Hannah’s very beginnings of a blog at Planting the Word.