My remaining frustration melted when I heard the scream. It was the kind of scream that instantly pierces a mothers heart with fear and panic.
Only moments before I was scolding my children. The warm spring days had drawn them outside. Toys that had been forgotten with the passing of seasons, suddenly scattered the yard. As dusk approached the task of picking up had turned into bickering and ugliness between the three siblings.
With a firm warning, the children had begun picking up. One was in the yard gathering toys, and the two other on the deck filling the outside toy bin. I turned away for only a moment. If I had been watching, I would have seen my daughter climb up on an unsecured toy. A small slide that had been stored away with the chill of late fall, and not yet set up for the arriving spring.
Nobody saw her fall. There was just her scream. Brothers that had quarreled with her moments before cried out her name in fear. The earlier anger and annoyance melted as they ran to help her.
My daughters fall produced emergency injuries. With a severely swollen mouth covered in cuts and blood, we could not see the extent of damage. After hours in the emergency room, she was deeply shaken. By the time we were able to return home, she was pale, had a severely swollen and cut lip, cut and bruised gums, and one less front tooth.
Home felt especially comforting. As I helped my daughter prepare for bed, she noticed her reflection in the mirror covered closet door. She caught her breath and looked as if she didn’t recognize her own reflection. Her voice seemed so soft as she quietly asked, “Mom, do you think my friends will think I look funny?”
My heart broke. My sweet little girl has never before voiced a concern over personal appearance. She enjoys wearing a pretty dress, or painting her nails a bright color, but it has never defined her.
In that moment I wanted to tell her to stand tall. Short is cute, but tall is beautiful!
- Stand tall in faith
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
- Stand tall in love
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
- Stand tall in strength
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
- Stand tall in peace
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
- Stand tall in beauty
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
I didn’t say those things. Instead, I looked into her big expectant eyes and said, “No honey, your friends will be concerned for you.” As I embraced her, I silently prayed.
My daughter had a restful night. She went about a reasonably normal morning routine. A warm shower washed away any missed blood spots from the trauma of the night before, and a bit of color seemed to return to her cheeks.
As she prepared for the day, she carefully selected a colorful play dress. I helped her so she wouldn’t accidentally bump her swollen lip. I watched her as she stood in front of her mirror. She carefully smoothed out her dress, and brushed a lock of still damp hair out of her face. She stood still for just a moment as she surveyed the reflection staring back at her. Then she stood a little straighter before giving herself a careful smile and announcing, “Picture perfect!”
In that moment, my daughters four feet seemed to stand especially tall. She shined with beauty!