She’s giggling, running, faster and faster,
So fast that chubby legs cannot keep up with internal thrill
But she tries valiantly…and goes down.

I’m watching, delighting in her delight
Yet simultaneously cognizant of the great risk of physical abandon and asphalt to her toddler body.

Gravity–real life–fulfills what I had hoped against.
Bright pink shorts can’t protect fair, tender knees against what meets them when she falls.

I scoop her up, investing heaps of emotional energy to contain my overwhelming compassion and vicarious physical pain.
I check two little palms, grateful that they are simply scuffed and not abraded.

My eyes don’t want to travel downward
Because my heart already knows what awaits.

She is bloodied, her delicate young skin bilaterally broken and bruised.
She is crying, her delicate young mind swirling as it tries to make sense of what just took place.
She is dependent, her delicate young heart needing comfort and relief that is mine to provide.

Amidst the blood and pain are black specks of gravel,
uninvited and unwelcome,
yet there they are nonetheless.

And they have to go in order for true healing to occur.

I want to deny them, delude myself about the harm they can cause, rock and nurse my wounded baby, and JUST STOP HER PAIN.

Words of comfort and secure hugs seem to fall short of this ultimate goal,
especially as I consider what must be done before she can be bandaged and sent on her happy way–a bit more experienced, and a bit braver for having crashed, burned, and lived to tell about it–to continue exploring her world.

Rinsing through screams,
Holding kicking legs attached to writhing body,
Wishing those black specks didn’t have to add injury to injury.

Feeling intense fury: at the damn road, at the injustice of little ones’ wounds, at the fact that she can’t just calm down and make my terrible job a teensy bit easier, please oh please.

We make it through,
Both of us do.
We’re a good (yet undeniably weary) team, my toddler and me.
We join every other human ever to add proof to the adage, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

Or whatever.

I’ve come to despise debridement,
Probably because it’s almost always necessary for wounds seen and unseen,
and because sometimes I don’t like to be told I have to do something I don’t want to do.

It sure feels like it makes pain far worse before it gets any better,
and I would just prefer to get better, thankyouverymuch.

Why must we enter in and scrape out and dig deep and deeper?
Why can’t we simply note the blood and gore, cover it quickly, and head out for ice cream?
I prefer ice cream to debridement any. old. day.

God sees me in my fallen state,
and enters into my screaming, writhing, wishing-it-away, longing-for-ice-cream heart.

He holds me as He rinses, as He speaks steady Words of comfort, as He aches with merciful compassion, as He is present in my pain and darkness.

He is the Great Physician,
picking out one-by-one the seemingly innocuous yet truly insidious black specks:
the lies I’ve absorbed unaware, the hurtful words others have spoken to me that reflect their souls’ conditions, the agreements I’ve unwittingly made and valued above the Truth of His heart.

He loves me too much to slap a band-aid on my wounds and take me out for ice cream.
Instead, He is working for something so much more satisfying: REDEMPTION.

Lacey Wood is a wife and mother learning to extend compassion to her inner child in the same way she extends it to the children and adults in her life-space. Lacey has invested herself for the past 11 years mothering and homeschooling her two long-awaited daughters. She enjoys engaging with others in deep ways, savoring their unique stories and learning to love them, Jesus, and herself better for having done so. God currently has her doing the hard work of getting out of her own head and trusting Him to help her rebuild community in her new home state of Alabama, while allowing Him to “restore the years the locusts have eaten” in her 17-year marriage.