As many of you know my precious first born, Emi is a super tomboy. I remember when the girls first came into our life....it was all sparkle, glitter, pink and purple princess land. About a year and a half or so ago Emi decided the princess life was not for her. She fell in love with batman, hunting, toy guns, her bow and arrow and all things camo, solider and police officer. It's like the best of both worlds having one super girly girl and a tomboy! :)
We are the kind of parents that don't have a problem with our kids playing with toy guns, swords, bows, etc. We have always talked about what we use them for and about appropriate rules. We thought we did everything right. (Emi is quite the sharp shooter and it has been a lot of fun seeing her practice with her nerf darts and suction cup arrows!) A while ago all the good parenting that we thought we were doing, the teaching right from wrong came to a screeching, failing, halt. Emi had been in her room playing nerf guns with Daddy and she got upset about something and said, "I'm going to kill my self." Literally our world stopped. The breath in my lungs stopped. We asked her to repeat herself just to make sure we heard correctly. Hearing your six year old utter those words is earth shaking. We still to this day do not know where Emi ever heard those words or learned what that meant.
*Pause for disclaimer....she has never heard these words from the other kids in her life such as her foster siblings for the record. This is also not a post to debate opinions about guns real or fake.*
After Emi said what she did we both sat down with her and had a long discussion with her about what she said. We learned that Emi was really struggling and she needed help. We immediately removed all of her toy weapons, police gear, hunting gear, minecraft games, blocked her from all videos, movies etc that could trigger these feelings. Then we got her into counseling. You see, Emi is a trauma kiddo. We don't feel like it's our story to tell to the world at this point but know that even though she is only six and was removed from her situation very young...she still remembers a lot...mostly bad. At times the things she remembers and tells us are heartbreaking. All of those things led up to what we experienced. We have also worked with trauma kids long enough to know when we are out of our league and need outside help. We are privileged to have that help right here on our campus. We met a great play therapist who is working with both of our girls. It's been great just having the outside support. Also the prayers and support of our close family and friends. Satan was planting lies in my daughters heart and we had to command that spirit to leave by praying over her.
Today, about eight months later, Emi got all her "boy toys" as she calls them, back. She has made great progress! We have had much better conversations with her about her feelings (as much as a six year old can convey). Will we still be talking a lot and reminding her of rules? Of course! But our little solider is growing soo much more in age and maturity! She is in a great place now!
I share all of this to not only share our story and struggle but also to be a spokesperson. A cheerleader of sorts. You see...suicide pulls mightily on my heart strings. I have lost friends, coworkers have lost children, family members have threatened....this is not a joke to me. At the same time there is such a stigma in our society that it's not okay to be open about suicide and the feelings around that. That it is a sign of weakness, it makes you a bad person, it means you are a failure. Let me be the person to stand up and say that all of the above are lies. Satan's lies. Sometimes the depression creeps in soo heavily that before you know it you are drowning in quick sand and you feel there is no other way out. Jesus seems soo far away and you feel you are at the point of giving up. While I cannot claim to personally understand that journey I can speak from the side of loss. The side of fear. Know that in that darkest moment when you feel there is no one left and Satan is screaming in your ear that I am always there to listen. I will call upon Jesus and pray over you. I will not judge you.
We remind Emi (and Linah) promises of Jesus daily...
You are loved.
You belong to Jesus.
You are a child of the King.
You are not alone.
God is going to use our daughter in a big way. Emi is a warrior. (In fact her name...Emilyn Lu means Loud Warrior) It is no coincidence that God gave us that name for her. You too are a warrior. God has great plans for you. You are loved.