I Need You to Face Me

I Need You to Face Me

I hear your door open late at night (or is it early morning?), your feet padding down the carpeted stairs. The sound changes as your feet hit the hardwood. My door opens and there you are next to my bed. We don’t say a word. I pull back the covers, hoist you up to me, and you fit your body alongside of mine. We both go back to sleep…quickly, wordlessly, deeply.

You drape your tiny, soft arm over my shoulders.

Sometimes I don’t hear you at all. I just wake up as my alarm goes off at 6 AM and there you are.  Before I open my eyes, my first sensations of the morning are an awareness of your sweet, sleeping, rhythmic breath.

I’m a side sleeper. Throughout the night I get uncomfortable and shift from side to side, turning away from you. If you are asleep it doesn’t bother you. You usually snuggle into my back. And that arm…that sweet, sweet arm…goes over my shoulder.

This morning you wake up. Early morning. Very early. I had just shifted away from you onto my other side. I hear you become restless.

I become very still. I am hoping for just a little more sleep.


I am quiet, trying not to move.


I relent.

“What, sweetie?”

“Mommy, I’m scared. I need you to turn and face me.”

I shuffle my body over to face you. You put your forehead on mine. And I listen as your breathing slows and deepens.

I breathe you in.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

Later that day I am laying with you before bedtime, getting ready to read a story to you and you say to me: “Mommy, at night when I am by myself anything scary I have seen during the day…it is like it is down inside me (she pats her chest and belly)…and it comes out. The ‘scared-edies’. Remember when I asked you to turn and face me? That’s why. Do you know what I mean?”

Oh, sweet girl. I do. I really, really, really do.

I inhale deeply. I center my heart as I connect with yours…wanting you to catch the peace I hope for you.

      Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

“I do know what you mean, sweetheart. That can be so hard. That has happened to me before, too.”

“When you were a little girl you had that happen, too?”

“Yes, sweet girl.”

Of course, what I don’t tell you is that it happened last night. And last week. And last month. And last year.

Yes, sweet girl. It has happened to me, too. HAPPENS to me.

And, I have the same need, sweetheart: to say to someone…I need you to turn and face me. And, that’s all I need, too, sweetie. I need someone to turn and FACE me. Someone safe. Someone I trust. And, just like that I listen as my breath—my thoughts—slow and deepen. Grounded.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

We all need safe, safe spaces…faces turned toward us…faces that reflect love, hope, and grace.

Faces that may not ask anything. They just put their forehead to ours. They are present. We are acknowledged. They incarnate the yearned message of our soul.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

What say you, friend? Have you ever been in a dark place? Long night? Do the scary things that settled into your soul during the day rise up? Do you ever get a case of the “scared-edies”?

Don’t be afraid, sweet friend.

Don’t. Be. Afraid.

Of the scary things?

No. Totally unrealistic. I wouldn’t ask that of you.

Those things settled into your soul ARE scary. Authentic scared-edies.

You are not crazy. They really are terrifying. You aren’t making anything up.

Frightening…and your fear is a sign of your wisdom, honesty and care.

No. I’m not going to tell you not to be afraid. I know better than that. What I AM going to tell you is just this very important, very hard OTHER thing.

Don’t be afraid…to say…“I need you to turn and face me.”

Don’t be afraid to reach for support. To say “I’m scared.” To say that the scary things have risen again. To say “I need someone to see me.”

You are worthy of being seen. You are worthy of making eye contact…face to face.

You are worthy of being seen. Your fears recognized. Your sadness affirmed.

You are worthy of safe, safe spaces…faces turned toward you…faces that reflect love, hope, and grace.

Faces that may not ask anything. They just put their forehead to yours. They are present. You are acknowledged. They incarnate the yearned message of your soul.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

And this is my prayer for you this week, friend. My prayer is that you will not be afraid to say to someone…someone safe…someone who has earned your trust…to say “I’m scared…or angry…or sad. I need you to turn and face me.”

That is on you, friend. You sometimes have to ask. And, I pray that someone…someone safe…someone who has earned your trust…will turn around… and you will let them…and they will face you.

And if there is not anyone…and there are those times…I pray you don’t forget. I pray you don’t forget that you have a God—a higher power—that is ever present, ever ready, ever trust worthy…to turn and face you.

“They” say…that proverbial “they”…that you are most like the five people you spend the most time with.

Friend, be choosy about who you invite to look you face to face…eye to eye. They will reflect back to you messages of your identity and self-worth. Your belovedness.

And, dear one. If you have reached out and invited someone to face you and you get something painful. Something traumatic. I’m sorry. So, so sorry. Especially if that reflection happened early in life. Those messages are HARD to dig out. So, so hard.

But I’m going to tell you how. A way through. Here it is. You slowly replace the messages. You choose new messages and new messengers. You choose new people. A new tribe. You choose new faces. New reflections.

And you trust. That God loves you.

He is always ready to face you. And reflect.


This isn’t about not having boundaries. This isn’t some idea of a love fest where anything goes or a disregard for right behavior.

This is about knowing that love begets love.

Trust begets trust.

Hope begets hope.

The opposite is true, too. If you continuously tell someone that they are worth dirt…that they don’t deserve anything good…if you don’t approach someone with respect…they are going to act like it, too. They will live up to those reflections.

But, if you are told you are worthy of love, trust, and respect? You start to ACT like it.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

I went to a church this morning where the very first thing said to the congregation in the sermon was something like this: “You are worthless. None of us deserve the love of God. The more you realize how awful you are and that you don’t deserve God’s love the more you will be grateful for it.”

Well. Ok. I mean, I guess none of us deserve anything, right? And, I know… Isaiah and our righteousness is like filthy rags and all that.

But, I think there has to be a better way. There has to be a better way to teach gratitude. And grace. And love. And salvation.

I looked over at my oldest two daughters sitting with me and cringed at these words being spoken over their souls. At the message being taken into their mind.

No. NO.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

We are such an all or nothing culture. All bad or all good.

The truth is that we are gorgeous and complex and we need others and we need God and make mistakes and create beauty and cause messes.

The truth is that we are bearers of the image of God. And, also human. Beautifully complex, needy humans.


Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

Beauty, mess, complexities, and all.


Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

Do you hear me, friend?

Look at me. I am talking to you. Face to face. Forehead touching yours.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

Breathe that in. Make it your rhythm this week. Your heartbeat…deep and true.

Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.