“One more year, one more year.
Let’s hold our breath and give it just one more year.”

The twangy voice of Kasey Chambers, with the guitar in the background that has such a beautiful tin sound to it, echoes in my ears often lately as I contemplate just how much can change in a year. I hadn’t listened to the song that inspired this post title in quite awhile, but for many months a few years ago it brought me both comfort and a way to speak the sheer sadness of my story as my then husband went into a year-long residential treatment center to tackle his addiction. I knew it was the last chance I had in me, I don’t think he believed I would ever say “That’s enough.” let alone say it after his year was complete. The truth is when I said I would wait for him that year and see who he was choosing to become, I meant it. He didn’t choose to be a man living a repentant life and I chose divorce. A year ago.

I knew I wanted to post about what a year can do, I just coulnd’t find the words. Then I found a picture and a few songs.

A year can change so much. The girl who cried inaudible screams described in this post, a year ago, is the one pictured on today’s post. When I described what I saw in this image and how I wanted to write about her journey and find a similar image, she told me I have taught her to own her story and encouraged me to use it.  

I took her out for the day for her senior pictures last week. She has been through so much the last few years, much at the hands of the man she refers to as Dad. The man who abandoned her a year ago and chose an unrepentant, sin-filled life over his family. She and I have spent many nights working through the mountain of grief and insecurities and anger and loss this has piled on the tender heart of this young woman trying to figure out how to become an adult. She has written letters she will never send, letters she did send that got ignored and waited more nights by the phone for a call that never happened than I can count. She has cried more tears than anyone her age should have to. 

When I look at this image though, the last one I took of her that day, it really struck me just how much of a Warrior this girl is. An artist at heart who sees the world in feelings and experiences, when I look at this image, I see a strong, brave young woman with a poise well advanced for her years. I see a young woman who is still soft and tender in her Warrior stance. I see a young woman in recovery.

I see a young woman who, at 17 has skills and capabilities the man who abandoned her has yet to grasp. I see a young woman who looked her inner demons in the eyes and told them where to go. The inner demons dumped on her by a man who couldn’t figure out how to tackle his own. I see a young woman who can tell you just how much that man hurt her and wouldn’t be able to do it without a few tears streaming out of the corner of her eyes but one who would also embrace him in a hug only a daughter can give to her Dad if he chose to contact her. 

She has figured out something that is so hard to do when you love an addict. She knows the man and the monster co-exist. She loves the man under the monster but knows the monster isn’t capable of giving her what a Dad should, this so clearly displayed in his abandonment of her. She prays he finds the courage to have the man kick the monster out. She knows the man can win if he chooses to, and she believes in the power of redemption and recovery because she lives it. She also knows she isn’t above becoming the very monster who hurt her so very deeply so she guards her heart and deals with her feelings because she will walk away from this horrible year with the knowledge that none of us are above being taken over by the monster. She will walk away from the year that tried to kill her spirit knowing addiction takes the sweetest, softest, kindest people and turns them into monsters. She will also walk from this year knowing she has what it takes to survive anything because the year that could have led to her demise, propelled her into this tender Warrior you see pictured in today’s post. She balances soft and Warrior and makes this Mama so very, very proud. She’s amazing. She’s strong beyond her years. She’s slain bigger dragons than many adults ever will. She can hold her sword with pride because she knows how to use it and she knows when to put it down. 

This song was her birthday present, recorded and sung by our Worship leader for her and so very fitting for her.


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