Watching for Morning

Watching for Morning; 2013; 21" x 28"; mixed media: watercolor, charcoal, ink, pastel.

Watching for Morning; 2013; 21″ x 28″; mixed media: watercolor, charcoal, ink, pastel.

Dear Child of Early Trauma and Neglect,

Nights can linger deep and long for you. Phantoms of yesterday taunt you in dreams.  At times you wake and physically feel them, and you cannot be comforted.

I try to hold you, but my touch invokes memories that you don’t consciously remember. In your fog of confusion, you blame me and push me away.

Sometimes night terrors stalk your days:

You take what isn’t yours, trying to fill the heart-hollow where innately you knew you were created to be loved, but love was denied. 

Your unpredictable moods snap like sudden lightning and thunder on an unsuspecting alpine ridge. Alone in a crib, flooded with early emotions, you never learned emotional regulation from an attentive caregiver.

Conflicts with siblings escalate exponentially. You fight to conquer them, so you can be first in my heart (first and only is your preference). You’ve already lost one mother, and you can’t bear to lose another – even to a sibling.

You are a whirl of motion and noise, constantly afraid that if you cease being noticed, you will cease to exist. As you once almost did.

Something as simple as a blood draw impels you to insanity’s edge. You fluctuate between angry hysteria and a crooning whimper. You try to kick and bite the nurse, then press into my shoulder as I restrain you, pleading for rescue.

Flunking a class because of a learning disability means intensely more to you than lack of academic achievement. Your heart receives it as confirmation that you are as worthless as you felt the moment you were betrayed.  

You act silly-crazy, floundering for affirmation from anyone willing to try to convince you of the message you were refused at birth – you are welcome and wanted here.

You react to denial of the smallest scale, like not being given a piece of candy, with the same tantrum intensity as denial on a larger scale, like not being allowed to go somewhere with a beloved aunt. For you, both incidents sting the festering wound of deprivation.


For me you save the best and worst, because you feel safe with me. And you are right. I am safe. I love you fiercely and forever.

Yet, I admit, there are times I buckle under the weight of your darkness, exhausted by the abyss of your need. Even understanding the roots of your behavior, there are times I am overwhelmed. I am profoundly sorry for the times when I reach the end of myself, fall off the cliff of putting my love into action.  

But, hear this – I’m not giving up. If you look for me during those long nights, I’ll be by your side.  And even if my strength fails and I can do nothing else, I will be sitting right here on this trembling-grass hilltop. Watching. I will keep watch through the dark night for the first rays of morning.

You see, I know that morning is even more stubborn than I am. It always comes. The night tarries, but in the end it must always surrender to dawn. Your morning will come, too. Because Jesus loves you far more than I do, and He will never give up until you claim your hi-jacked truth.

When at last you surrender and believe what was always your birthright – your true identity as His Beloved.

8 thoughts on “Watching for Morning

  1. Such powerful words. They brought years to my eyes. You have my love and prayers holding both of you in God’s amazing love. Sometimes when we can’t know the truth of who we are we need someone else who can/will hold the truth on our behalf. So my promise is to know the truth that Lily and Jed were made in the image and likeness of God and that they are spectacular, amazing, beautiful children of God and that they are loved forever by their family who still


    • I think of my longing, our family’s longing for these beautiful children to embrace who they really are… How much more so the longing of God for each of us to know how much He loves us…. Thank you for walking with us!


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