Our Inner Child: Connecting and Recovering Those Pockets of Our Real Selves


“We can’t go back the way we came.
Let’s travel ahead with each other –
to awaken our hearts to rest in whitespace,
to recover those pockets of our real selves.”

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest
by Bonnie Gray

findingspiritualwhitespace_book-194x300I read these words and I can’t help but cry, “But how do I do that? How do I recover those pockets of my real self? That little girl who God created me to be? How do I recover those lost, stolen pockets of me as a person to be loved, respected, valued?”

To recover the pockets of my real self, I need to connect with that hurting child in me. If I don’t believe what I have lost, I will never find it back. I’m trying to connect, but I feel like I’m wandering in a maze of fog, disorientation, and numbness. I don’t know how to proceed, and yet I can’t go back to ignoring her either. I can’t keep trying to forget her pain.

I look back and see that little girl always striving to be enough in the eyes of her dad. Always worried about making everyone else happy, but feeling she doesn’t deserve to be happy herself. That little girl trying to be strong for her sister, trying to cheer up her brother, trying to get her dad to talk when he was mad and wouldn’t talk to her mom for days. Desperately trying to help her mom stop crying and be happier, only to end up feeling abandoned when her mom still checked out of her life either by withdrawing into her pain or going again to the hospital.

I look closer and watch the flits of sadness on her face. I catch her sitting on the steps with her head nestled in her arms across her knees. The tears flooding… A dog noses his way under her arms and licks the tears from her face. Then she buries her head into his fur and clings to his comfort.

This little girl hurts so bad, but she keeps it inside. She feels so lost and alone. Sometimes she wishes she had never been born. She tries to be so strong, but inside she is so afraid of her dad and does what she can to avoid being alone with him. And many times his words cut her to the core of her being.

As I take a step to go deeper into that little girl’s heart, I am sucked down into a quagmire of shame. Darkness and confusion engulf me. You are worthless. Nothing. Zero. Rejected. You will never be good enough. You will never amount to much. You are unlovable, incapable, and inadequate. You make life more miserable for anyone around you. What’s wrong with you anyway?

“As I think back on my childhood,
the word shame serves as an umbrella.
It is the sense of being completely insufficient as a person,
the nagging feeling that for some reason
you’re defective and unworthy.”

(All Is Grace by Brennan Manning)

Often that hurting child cries for help. She is still so alone, so empty, so inadequate. But I ignore her. I say, “I don’t believe you had it that bad. Suck it up and move on. Quit complaining. Others had it worse than you.”

I wholeheartedly believe what my dad did do to someone else and I can feel deep hurt and anger for them. But when it comes to this hurting little girl, I minimize or disassociate from her pain as if she is not a part of me. I have shared snippets of her sadness at times, but then my heart disassociates and closes her in again. Keep thinking happy. There is no room for sadness. Others had it worse than you. Be grateful for what you did have.

It pains me to talk bad about anyone. I always tell myself that if I look in myself, I see enough. I have no right to judge someone else’s heart. And it’s so hard to talk against my dad, because I loved him and he was the only dad I had. I’d try to forget how he hurt me and focus on the good things. Then later in life, when I could see the grace of God work a change in him, I felt even more guilty to bring it up. Why should I talk about it if God forgave him? And I started seeing his inner hurting child, so again I kept minimizing the pain in my own inner child. And that isn’t fair to her. I need to acknowledge her pain. If I don’t believe the truth of her pain, how will I ever connect with her?

I can’t connect with her and bring her to a place of healing if I don’t believe her. If I face the truth, I know her identity became who her dad said she was. I have not wanted to admit this to myself, but the truth is my dad laid the groundwork of shame that made me more vulnerable to further abuse at the hands of others. Minimizing this truth is lying and continuing to beat down that hurting little girl inside of me. I just hope what I have shared is grace-filled, makes you feel less alone, and gives you courage to connect with and bring healing to that hurting child within you.

When Bonnie gave us this week’s Spiritual Whitespace challenge, I didn’t think I could do it. I still teeter between shame sucking me under and no feelings at all when I go deeper into the pain of my inner child. But after writing the above, I’m going to attempt a short note, hopefully the beginning of many more as I learn to connect with her and nurture her as God wants me to.

Write a letter to your younger self.
What would you say to her, knowing what you know today?

“My dear child, I’m so sorry I have ignored your pain. I have abandoned anything good in you. It’s no wonder you feel so empty and alone. My heart aches and is heavily burdened for the pain of other children, but I have not acknowledged yours. I’m so sorry. I want you in my life. I want to acknowledge you as a part of me. I don’t want to keep stuffing you deeper into the quagmire of shame. I don’t want to keep avoiding its power to keep hurting you. I want to nurture you more. You feel so unlovable, so incapable, so inadequate. I want to take you with me into the open heart of Jesus. Jesus who travels this journey of pain with us. He understands and longs to recover those lost and stolen pockets of our real selves. Let’s open our heart and invite Him in. To connect us. To make us one. To penetrate those deep hidden crevices of pain and heal us. He takes little girls into the center of His heart and longs to bless them. He doesn’t want me to keep hiding you. Even He chose to allow the world to see His wounds after He arose again. He doesn’t want me to be ashamed of your brokenness. Come. Let’s enter into His safe and healing sanctuary together.”

“His (Jesus’) wounds didn’t disappear with His resurrected body.
Jesus chose to walk out into the world
with His scars from the past – visible.”

– Bonnie Gray


How about you? Can you connect with your inner child?
Or do you disassociate from him/her? Maybe because it hurts too much?
If you could write him/her a letter, what would you say?


Joining Up With:

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

A Soft Gentle Voice

21 thoughts on “Our Inner Child: Connecting and Recovering Those Pockets of Our Real Selves

  1. WOW! Every turn I make takes me deeper into the “not good enough” I have been stepping in and out of for myself. Seems to be many of us on similar journeys with good books and authors to guide us through. Only with God can we face all of this and come out more and more like the beautiful creation He originally made. My prayers lift you up as He knows.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda
    visiting from Words of LIfe


    1. Thank you so much for your understanding and prayers, Linda. As I open myself up more to community, I’m discovering how many of us are on this journey together. Accepting truth and taking all our brokenness to Jesus and allowing Him to heal the deep pain is hard, but as you say, we will “come out more and more like the beautiful creation He originally made.” Love this. 🙂 God bless you on this journey, Linda, and show you more and more that in Jesus you are always enough. 💗


  2. Oh wow! I understand how precious this post is. Thank you for opening your heart. I, today, have made myself very vulnerable by way of privately sharing my story. However, your post has touched on questions that have plagued me for many years. I wrote, in the story I shared, that so many do not want to listen when others have hurt us for fear it will be classed as gossip. So, after a while, we bury it and pretend everything’s okay. But then I read what you wrote; “I can’t connect with her and bring her to a place of healing if I don’t believe her… Minimizing this truth is lying.” These are the same as trying to pretend we’re okay. Blogging is very healing for me. I’m so glad I came by here via Holley’s blog. God bless you and may this be a healing and fruitful journey for you!


    1. Thank you so much for this encouragement and prayers, Geraldine. It was very hard to tell this, even though it’s the truth. Sharing our story can make us feel so vulnerable, especially when we’re met with silence or words that show lack of support. I’m so proud of you for sharing your story. Let’s join on this journey of healing together and resurrect our hurting child so she can heal. Praying Jesus will heal you and show you how precious you are in His sight, broken little girl and all! 💗


  3. Trudy,
    Tears are brimming. My little girl has been crouching in a dark corner, hidden behind the rubble left over from wounds caused by bitterness, doubt and disbelief. I have begun the journey of digging her out… it is long and tedious but tenderly beautiful. Much like your sweet one- we are still there, ready to receive healing. Your words Trudy, your vulnerability, has me seeing hope gather light. Thank you.


    1. My tears brim, too, as I read your words, Brandi. It’s so hard to be vulnerable, but God is showing me more and more that this is what He wants. He wants us to take that wounded little girl out of the rubble and nurture her. And as we learn to bring her to rest in Jesus, He will give deeper healing and bring more beauty out of the ashes. Sooo glad you have begun the journey with me of digging her out and that you see hope gathering light! Praying for your healing in Jesus! 💗


  4. “If I don’t believe what I have lost, I will never find it back.” Oh my. That is a profound truth, Trudy.
    Shame is such a gripping emotion. Brene Brown has written some good words on dealing with that. It’s amazing how much our childhoods stick with us for our entire lifetime. I pray for grace to cover us all!


    1. Thank you, Lisa. I love Brene Brown’s perspective. She has some awesome videos on shame. Praying for that grace, too! May Jesus heal and restore what is broken and lost in each of us! 💗


  5. Oh, my, Trudy. This is beautifully written. Thank you for being so transparent. My story is different, but my story is the same … if you know what I mean. (It’s in my blog post today.)


    1. Thank you, Melissa. I read your post. Thank you, too, for being transparent. Sounds like we both deal with a lot of insecurity and shame but try to forget it, as Bonnie says. Praying we will resurrect that hurting child with all her brokenness and bring her to Jesus and deeper healing and peace! 💗


  6. I couldn’t do the letter this week. I can’t find the words. I disassociate and minimise and go numb and paralysed. Thank you for sharing this – you have great courage and it really really helps to hear others put into words what I feel but find so hard to explain. Your letter, reached the little girl in me too. Thank you.


    1. Hi Princess. Even though you could not write the letter this week, it took a lot of courage to write what you did. Your post is so powerful. I hear that hurting little girl crying out to be released. I’m so glad my letter reached your little girl, too. Praying we both will no longer stuff her down in shame but connect with her without minimizing or disassociating from that deep pain and bring her to Jesus, brokenness and all. Hugs! 💗


  7. So much of my younger years are lost to me. I think, as the peacekeeper, I buried them too deep, exactly for some of the reasons you said here: Often that hurting child cries for help. She is still so alone, so empty, so inadequate. But I ignore her. I say, “I don’t believe you had it that bad. Suck it up and move on. Quit complaining. Others had it worse than you.”

    Thank you for being so transparent with your story. It makes it so much easier for some of the rest of us who have yet to reach out to the little girl inside.


    1. Thank you for your kind words and understanding, Nina. I’m so glad this touches that buried inside hurting child in you. Praying you may yet reach out to her and bring her with you to rest in Jesus who longs for her with all her brokenness! 💗


  8. But I ignore her. I say, “I don’t believe you had it that bad. Suck it up and move on. Quit complaining. Others had it worse than you.”

    This is completely how I feel… for the most part my childhood wasn’t terrible. Somewhere along the way this “suck it up” mentality was ingrained in my personality. I could be watching a tear jerker movie and want to cry but I’ll swallow, bite my lip, get up and get a drink. I go out of my way to avoid tears and I’m not sure where that came from…
    Your post was beautiful. I love how you apologized to the little girl in you… maybe I need to dig even deeper and try to write this letter anyways.. 🙂
    (((HUGS))) my friend 🙂


    1. Yes, my friend, please do dig deeper and write that letter. Your little girl needs to know that feelings and emotions are ok. God created us that way, but some of us were not allowed to express those feelings. Isn’t it wonderful that we can take any kind of emotion to Jesus without being condemned for it? Let’s take our little girls there, too. HUGS back to you, Krista. 💗


  9. That quote from Brennan Manning and your response,” Often that hurting child cries for help. She is still so alone, so empty, so inadequate. But I ignore her. I say, “I don’t believe you had it that bad. Suck it up and move on. Quit complaining. Others had it worse than you.”” seem to pull back the curtain for me to face some things.
    Many times I have read that one can look back at the things they liked to do at age 10 and know something about who they are at heart. Age 10. The real immersion into fear and anxiety and depression. All because I was given a wonderful gift and opportunity which I didn’t want and which terrified me. My 10 year old self is hidden still but I was able to write a few words to my 6yr old self and leave them at Bonnie’s post.
    Your courage is en-couraging me to really write to her again. Thank you.


    1. Welcome, Elaine. It’s so hard to dig up that little girl, isn’t it? I still let her slip away from me sometimes and return to numbness and avoidance. 😦 I do hope you pull back the curtain and write her more letters. I’m so sorry for whatever immersed you into fear, anxiety, and depression at age 10. Jesus cries with us and for our hurting little girls. Let’s together take their little hands and bring them to rest with us in Jesus. Praying for deeper healing for you! 💗


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