Rapunzel was the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old the Witch shut her up in a tower, in the middle of a great wood and the tower had neither stairs nor doors, only high at the very top a small window.
We’ve all felt trapped haven’t we? Contained by our circumstances, captured by the enemy, locked up in a high tower on the outskirts of town. We play by the rules. We smile, we say we are fine but inside there is frustration and fear. We were beautiful once before life unwittingly captured us.
For us it was cancer that sent us away. It locked us up. It chained Sam to imeds and the slavery, which is chemotherapy. It insisted on a multitude of drugs she did not want to take and I did not want to dispense. As Rapunzel’s hair grew in her isolation so Sam’s fell out and with it fell her sense of self, her confidence and her ability to laugh. Where her eyes used to sparkle in cheeky rebellion now they look back at me begging for hugs.
Sometimes all we can do is look out the window from her bed and take delight in the morning. The sun is shining, the butterflies hover over the hedge and the Adirondack chair looks a cozy place to sit. Yet the tears fall from her eyes that are tired of being tired and the salty liquid leaves a trail down her overly sensitive skin.
My heart is heavy within me. I pray for a way out, for this to be over, for life and vitality to come back to my daughter’s face. I long to hear her laughter, the jingling of her keys, the tread of high heels on the floorboards but there is only sadness as she leaves the house holding her plastic disability parking pouch to suction to her window and her feet scuffle along the floor in ‘comfy’ shoes.
She is brave but intimidated all at once and it seems that as her body recovers her mind battles doubt like never before. Everything requires effort and determination but she takes the time. She washes and styles her short hair, she puts on make up, she chooses her clothes. “I don’t know who I am anymore.” She says as she shrugs lifting the strap of her handbag over her shoulder and heading out the door. The whole house shakes as it bangs behind her and I am shaken too. The echoes reverberate through my body and for once in my life I have no more words.
Moments later the door flies open as Emma returns from a sleepover and the sing song sound in her voice is like new life. I am reminded of a quote by Anais Nin.
“Joy appears now in the little things. The big themes remain tragic but a leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the taste of coffee–Joy accompanied me as I walked… The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.” My joy over Emma’s returning is equal to the pain of Sam’s departing and I am undone, sitting stunned on the couch trying to make sense of my captivity.
My evening devotions take me to the story of Rahab who much like the fictional Rapunzel lived in the outskirts of town in a wall with a window. She lived alone in a wall, vulnerable to the attack of the enemy but from her vantage point she could see what no one else saw. Sometimes God takes us to places of complete isolation. We love our family with our whole life but sometimes we must draw aside to get the answers from Him. Like Rahab I am learning to hide God’s word in my heart for the deliverance of my family in the same way as Rahab hide the men of God in her roof.
We can feel alone, disregarded, judged and without mercy but God always brings a strategy if our hearts are fully His. He ignores the mistakes of our past, he doesn’t hold us to ransom, he never treats us like outcasts. He knows our grief, he knows we feel unnoticed but His eyes are on us as our eyes are on Him. Terror may fall upon your community but God can deliver your family, you just have to know what He knows, you just need to seek favour with Him.
The statistics told us we would not make it, the gloom and despair of hospital continually confronts us with what can go wrong. We are not living the life we imagined but God is taking us through. He devised a plan for our deliverance and I bind that scarlet cord to my window and I gather my family. I hold onto the power of Jesus blood to protect and to heal and restore all that has been stolen from us. I do it time and again.
And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Philippians 1:6