Heart outside of my body....

6:45 am I find the note on her bed telling me she has finally gathered up the courage to run away.  Away.  That means not here, somewhere else.  That means she has been alone out there in the night.  I am suddenly and sharply reminded that when you have kids your heart lives outside of your body.  The tears begin, police are called, searches are made.  Nothing.  No one has seen her.  I can't tell if anything is missing from her room because we're still moving in and who knows what is still packed.  I think she is at least wearing her coat...until one of the kids finds it.  Her gray hoodie is gone.  All she's wearing in this frigid 30 degree night is a hoodie?  My heart breaks even more and a fresh round of tears come.  She has no money.  Her phone is here because it was taken away from her yesterday for having a smart mouth.  She left with no money, no phone, no coat.  This is why the police aren't terribly concerned and think she'll be back quickly.  But they don't know her.  She thinks she is bulletproof and will be fine.  I know her.  And besides, just because she left the house as a stupid teenage runaway, doesn't mean she is still safe.  A little white, blue eyed girl with a backpack on walking the streets of Phoenix in the dark doesn't make her a target?  She could be across the border and sold by now... or dead in a ditch.  We harass him all day long.  That being the "him" that we know she will be heading toward.  It is the only thing that makes sense.  Nearly two years of fighting this battle and it's still going on.  She is forbidden from seeing him and so has turned it into some Romeo and Juliet type of situation in her head.  She has decided that he is her true love and that nothing, not even a 30-mile walk in the dark through the scary back roads will keep them apart.  Not even breaking her mother's heart.  Not even bringing anguish on the house and people who love her.  He denies seeing her.  Denies knowing anything about it.  He's lying, call him again.  He still denies.  He's lying, call him again.  I know he's lying.  Paul knows he's lying.  The police go question him at school and he lies to them too.  He says he hasn't talked to her in 7 or 8 months.  Liar.  Her best friend says they talk every single day from school and video chat during class.  She says they have been together and never stopped.  This makes me amp up my harassment of him.  Tell me where she is.  He doesn't know.  I say, even if she's not there already, she will be.  I know it in my soul.  And when she shows up, you'd better call us immediately.  He will, he's so sorry ma'am.  He'll do anything to help.  Liar.  He finally gives us his new address and his mothers new phone number.  I call her and convince her to keep her eye out for Maddie through the night.  She doesn't see the point because her boy says he doesn't talk to this girl anymore.  Yeah, but he's a liar so please check anyways.  Look under beds, check closets, check your back yard.  Paul and I drive the 25 or 30 miles to his house and comb the streets in the dark.  I sob uncontrollably.  I can hardly breathe.  My head throbs from 24 hours of crying.  I scream her name as loud as I can over and over, my voice cracking and distorted with emotion.  Every park we pass, every place she could be hiding.  I yell it over and over.  As I do this, I think about John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me."  If she hears my cries, she will know me and come to me.  She has to.  She is my little sheep, my little duck.  She will come.  She doesn't.  Call him again.  He's lying.  She has to be here.  I feel her.  She has to.  We make the long drive back home.  The police have started taking this more seriously and have come back for photos of her to make "Have you seen me" posters.  She is in the National Database.  All I can do is cry.  I have no control.  I am helpless.  I look at her room.  I have to believe she will be back in it soon.  How can she be gone another night?  Another cold night with no food, no warmth?  Doesn't she love me?  How can she want to leave her home?  I decide to give up control as best as I can and go to bed.  I leave my phone on vibrate, sure that I will hear it if it goes off.  But no, I and everyone else in the house are so emotionally drained that we all fall into a God-sent restorative slumber.  A slumber so deep that we didn't hear the police at our door.  I found out later that they were out there for at least 45 minutes.  They tried to call me at least 10 times, they pounded on the door with their fists and their nightsticks.  They finally resorted to turning on their air horns and sirens at 3:45 in the morning, which finally woke up one of the kids.  I heard nothing.  I woke up to one of them knocking on our bedroom door yelling, "The police are downstairs!"  As I leaped out of bed and threw my clothes on, my stomach was dropping.  Is she home?  Or is this one of those, "I regret to inform you that we have found the body of your daughter" visits?  As I run down the stairs, my eyes are scanning for her.  I don't see her.  Only the officer.  Finally, he says the words.... "We have your daughter."  ELATION!  I am so happy all I can do is let out these guttural sobs of joy.  In she walks with the other officers.  Exhausted, eyes sunken, pale.  gray hoodie on, hood pulled up.  The mother actually did what I asked and checked her sons closet that night... and there she sat.  In his closet.  The girl that he claimed to know nothing about was in his closet.  What a liar.  I knew it.  Sore from walking so far, exhausted, bruised, starving.  She is home now.  She is remorseful, tearful, ashamed, sorry.  There's now been a day of healing at this point.  She is quiet.  She's seen a small glimpse of the people who have crawled out of the woodwork to support her and pray for her.  Humbled.  I don't know what happens now.  But she is home.  And I am so so grateful.

lurve you, xoxo v.


Allison said…
Oh how thankful I am that Maddie is home, safe and sound!! Praise God for His protection over her!! How I pray that He is able to break through her heart and bring healing and repentence where it is needed. But in the meantime, PRAISE GOD that she is home.

P.S. I love you, Maddie. Please don't ever do that again.
So glad that she's home. I feel for you. What a truly painful thing to go through! Love you babe. I pray you never have to go through this again.