“I will send out an army in the middle of the darkness… I will never stop marching…”
Matthew 18:12: If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?
I’ve recently been reflecting on everything it took for me to come to where I am now. A place of healing. A place on the other side of the mountain I moved. A place in the light and out of the darkness. I’ve been to the very bottom caves of my heart, dealt with the toxins, and risen back up out into the daylight. I’ve raged against the emotions of abandonment and rejection. I’ve cried the tears of sorrow and grief. I’ve screamed as I remembered memories a 4-year-old girl tucked far away into the recesses of her mind out of protection. I’ve gone numb looking at the overwhelming depths of painful sludge I’d have to wade through to heal. I’ve groaned and rolled my eyes at each diagnosis I’ve received. I’ve given up. I’ve risen up only to find another mountain in front of me. I’ve stood on cliff sides and wanted to jump. I’ve felt the cold bitter wind standing on the top of the mountain reminding me how desolate I feel even having overcome.
Sometimes I get cocky and I strut around wearing the coat of my former pain haughtily as if I have done this work myself. I sometimes use my pride as a wall and a barrier pushing others back because I don’t want anything to mar MY hard work.
I’m going to do it myself!
I’m doing this myself!
I did this myself!
With hands outstretched, I protect myself because I never want to experience so much pain ever again.
But silently I hear the wind on top of the mountain whispering to me to look around. Its gentle pressure turns my face from right to left and behind. What I see is a trail of flickering lights in my past and in my present marking the locations of my guides who helped me journey up this mountain. The sherpas of my past who guided and helped me carry my burdens. Unlike Pilgrim’s Progress led me to believe, we don’t carry our burdens alone. We have been sent out an army.
But most of the time it doesn’t look like angels on horses riding on storm clouds bearing down into the frays of our wars.
Sometimes it looks like an aunt who held me and then my mother’s hand as I was shepherded from a hospital room into a receiving room where another mother stood waiting.
It looks like the nurses and adoption workers who did their best with the knowledge they had at that time.
It looks like the hand of a sister who patiently rubbed my back for hours to calm my soul and get me to sleep not knowing the dysregulation in my brain that I still carry and is still only calmed by someone touching my back.
It looks like a teacher in elementary school who recognized something in me underneath the brash, bratty little girl and handed me books that fired the neurons in my mind and sparked my love of reading. A tool that saved me in my formative years.
It looks like my high school teachers who called out the best that they saw in me and empowered me to believe I could.
My army looks like a doctor doing an intake on a 21-year girl checking into a SECULAR mental institution because she knew something inside wasn’t O.K. A doctor who took this girl’s head in his hands and said, “Andrea. You don’t need to be here. You are a beautiful girl who is loved by God. But, I’m going to help you rest so you have the strength to move on.”
It looks like parents who did not understand why I was the way I was, but who rode the waves with me and kept throwing me life preservers when I fell back into the waters and kept pulling me in over and over. My life ring.
It looks like a best friend made over yarn who listens to the most silly of rants. A friend who wars for me in prayer, hugs and light never-fading even as she begets her own trials. My Lighthouse.
It looks like a therapist who is able to pull the truths out and push the healing forward. Who is able to hear the most sinister of things and remain steady. My life raft.
It looks like a husband who stood steadily by my side for over a decade as he watched me implode and explode floundering in my own skin. Who let me break apart and rebuild myself through my battles. Who gave me grace and mercy. Who is sits by my side as I change and grow. Unwavering. My rock in the storm.
We are not alone.
Even in the darkest of moments, we are not alone. Remember sitting in darkness we cannot see the people that have been placed or taken their place, around us. We only see the darkness and the hollowness of it.
But look harder. Look for the flickering lights of the people camped out in the mountainsides all around you.
He has sent out an army. Maybe not altogether on horses and chariots blazing forward with fire and weapons.
But maybe one by one dotted along your path up the mountain helping you overcome just one more hurdle laid in front of you.
You are the 1 sheep He has gone marching out to find.
You are the 1%.
And you’ve got an army behind you.
I know. I’m one of them.
As I stand here on the mountain and I look around me at the lives and the circumstances that have brought me to this place, I stand in awe at the beauty at the top of the mountain. The flickering lights of those who have brought me here and those who are going before twinkling like stars out in the dusk of the mountain top as the sun rises. I ready myself to take my step forward to come alongside and to go before for others.
Especially for my own children who I will fight for. Because for them I’m the general plotting strategic defense and changing the path of their own war.
May you see your army today.
May you be reminded how precious you are.
May you know you are being rescued.
Screenshot from and Written while listening to Saturn by Sleeping at Last
Song lyrics by Lauren Daigle, “Rescue.”