Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites,
to serve as a sign among you. Joshua 4:5b
My baby girl just crossed the age threshold into adulthood. This is such a marker for us, one that calls me to symbolically set up a stone of remembrance as a sign for us and future generations of all that God has done.
Far beyond the legal status that requires her to sign off on her own medical decisions, opens the way to vote, and increases the entrance fees to the adult range, this is a milestone of celebrating the successful navigation of the treacherous road of trauma, a discovery of self, attaining a place of maturity and healing … beauty from ashes.
Nearly 12 years ago when our life as we knew it and dreamed about was torn to shreds, my little one woke up to a new life sans “daddy.” That is hard for a six-year-old to take in (much less her much older momma!). His poor decisions and removal from our home left what she astutely declared as a “hole in her heart.” No more donut dates and the simple things like “climbing daddy mountain” and the giggles that ensued … left only with the ugly secrets and soul piercing that a young psyche has no means to manage.
In the coming months and years of wading through the caverns of trauma that sin had opened, I began to dread what could occur when my daughters turned 18. They would be free to make their own choices about it all … including relationship with their father. (God took care of that when he passed away in 2011.) Still, adulthood was a goal set out before us, spoken or unspoken, realized or not. What would it take to launch my daughters from this nest as healed enough, whole enough, and equipped enough? What miracles would God do to give them courage, confidence, wisdom, and maturity in him as foundations for whatever was next?
The days and years have passed. Today I pick up a stone and place it for us all to see. While we have seen our years of pain and sadness, faced the mountains of anxiety and detachment, and felt our loss and the agony of life altered, we have also seen God’s presence, his healing, his provision, and his gifts of grace, forgiveness, and hope.
Hope. Not that life will never again see pain or struggle. But hope because we know that we know that in the pain and struggle, he is Lord of all. He sees. He knows. He loves. He stands in the cavern and knows the way.
You are our only hope.
You are our only healer.
You are the only One who sees and knows the way.
Today we remember and celebrate.
Hold my daughters close, Lord.
Lead them in the paths of righteousness, for your name’s sake.