Finding the Child Within

Finding the Child Within

I’d heard about the inner child—how important it was to find her, listen to her, and integrate her feelings, memories and pain with mine—but I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t even sure I believed all that nonsense. Yet, whenever I considered the possibility of my “child within,” I felt strong emotions. I despised her.

I thought the little girl was stupid and weak. She should’ve done something to stop him. At least she should’ve stood up and yelled, “If you touch me one more time I’m going to scream and tell the world what you’ve done!”

Instead she retreated. She fled to a hiding place, a safe place, separating herself from the painful experience and burying the memories in the recesses of her soul. I self-rejected for a long time. I’d grown to resent the vulnerable little girl who, I thought, bailed out on me emotionally when she encountered abuse. She was vulnerable, naïve, and unsuspecting, trusting others. Her blind trust, however, proved to be detrimental to me, and I was angry with her for it.

Then one day we met. I was in church, singing,and worshiping God.  An intense and almost tangible yet weightless peace fell in the room.  I could feel warmth flowing over me. My eyes were shut as I sang that morning, but in the solitude, I saw what seemed to be a movie screen drop down in front of me.

I was having a vision of sorts, an impression I believe was from the Lord. In that vision I saw a little red-headed girl sitting on a playground bench—her toes turned inward as her feet dangled just a few inches off the ground. Soft sobs echoed from her, though she tried unsuccessfully to muffle the cries with her delicate little hands clasped over her mouth. She was alone, and desperately scared, without anyone to comfort her.

I stood at a distance, my arms crossed. Standing next to me was a figure dressed in white. I knew it was Jesus. Together we quietly observed the troubled redhead. No one spoke a word, but I could see Jesus’ eyes filled with compassion as he looked on. Mine were filled with contempt. Then I broke the silence, blurting out in disgust. “Someone should go help that little kid.”

“Yes, someone should. I’d like it to be you.”

“Why me? She must have done something to deserve this pain. Why should I help?”

Jesus said nothing. He simply looked at me and then gestured with an open hand toward the hunch-over figure of the child. I kicked at the dirt and shifted my weight from one side to the other. I huffed and muttered, “Fine, I’ll go talk to the weakling.”

The little redhead sat frozen as I slumped down next to her on the bench. Unlike hers, my feet touched the sparse wood-chip covered ground, but my toes were as turned in as hers. I wondered what to do next. As I searched for something brilliant to say, I couldn’t help but notice her slender arms and compare them to mine. They were amazingly similar: fair-skinned, and generously spotted with freckles. Weird. She looks just like me.

“So, what’s wrong? What did you do?” I asked.

She shrugged her shoulders, “Don’t know.”

I was impatient. “Well, why are you crying?”

For the first time, she turned her face toward me and looked me in the eyes. I was astonished. Dawnie, it’s you! I mean it’s me. It’s us.

Compassion flooded me and I threw my arms around her. Words of comfort and assurance poured out of me the adult, to me the child. It’s ok. It’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong. You’re going to be all right.

I soothed and comforted the child— my inner child. I assured her of her innocence. I told her she was forgiven and not to blame. I hugged her again. This time as I embraced her, she melted into me and we became one. Jesus stood nearby. He nodded and smiled. And with that, the vision ended.

I knew God had given me a precious gift, a vision to show me what must take place in my life. If I were going to heal from my sexual abuse, I’d have to do away with the scolding, critical, and fault-finding adult. I’d have to learn to love and accept every part of myself—even the frail and vulnerable child.

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In the Bible, a man named Joseph was given a dream from God. But before his dream could come to pass, he faced ridicule, sabotage, and other nasty "dream thieves." Like Joseph, you may have a dream inside of you from the Lord. In this teaching, you will learn to face the obstacles every dreamer goes through, and how to overcome!

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