I Will Send Out an Army

I’ve been looking for someone to rescue me for months now. I have a perfect life, and I don’t know what to do with it. The tedium of tip-tapping through the tulips of distance learning would normally about do me in, but add some rather challenging children and a brain that wants to condemn me for every misstep? Yep, killing me. I break more than I bend lately.

I recently learned of Charles Blondin, the remarkable tightrope walker who repeatedly cleared Niagara Falls while performing other hazardous feats.

Well, he has nothing on me.

Between a dozen medications, confusing dietary and appetite issues, and a whole lot of chores that I can just barely persuade my children to help with, my precarious load as a mom sets me to searching for balance in some hazardous ways.

I have been eating just to eat lately. I don’t want to work out. I think obsessively about a different life, one where I am rescued from my current one. I feel motivated momentarily in my editing, writing, community involvement, and then I just stall out and punish myself for having tried at all.

I seem to think that if I can pile enough burdens on the “me” side of my balancing pole, I can offset the burdens on the “kids” side.

Except that my center is where the balance comes from, and if my heart’s not in it, my arms soon follow.

Both arms are buckling.

Last night my center dropped right out of my heart. A soul plummeting toward certain destruction.

The reasons didn’t matter anymore. I felt disgusted by my entire existence. How had I gotten here again? This place where I loathe my heart. I deserve my pain. Nothing is left to fight for.

My husband wanted to help. He knew I would need to talk it out. His first attempt met a fiery explosion, the next a perilous iceberg, and the final attempt accompanied a waterfall of tears.

I pitied him through each disaster. Such a man should not have such a worthless wife.

Into the dark pit I fell. I didn’t even flail out for something to grab the way I usually do. Don’t spare me the pain, I’m falling all the way.

I deserved it because I had finally seen over the past three weeks how much I am relying on specific people in my life to approve of me so that I can approve of myself. And while the jury is out, I haven’t really been showing up for my family.

My heart is struggling to stay in this daily mothering thing. Since I’m in this place of deliberation, maybe I won’t have to stay in this role, so why get too attached? Maybe I will make something of what’s left of a tired mom and achieve some sort of notable success so I can stop measuring my success against the inconsistencies of childish behavior (mine, not the kids’).

And it didn’t seem to matter what I knew or what I had gained in terms of perspective, maturity, a growth mindset, and so on. All I could see was how I’d come up short by not being fully there for my family.

So I gave way to tears and abusive epithets aimed at their maker. My husband winced with every word I leveled at myself. The restraint in his silence spoke volumes: he knew better than to get between the abused and the abuser just yet.

I no longer wonder why an abused partner doesn’t leave. I’ve stayed with mine for decades. I’ve described her in many ways, but last night she said things like, “Well, if it isn’t our uppity Miss Elissa falling apart at the seams. You thought you were really something announcing a plan to complete a book in one year. Taking on an editing client as if that amounts to anything. But look at you! Nothing more than a dreamer running on false hope. You’ll always come back to me in the end.”

Somewhere in all of this, a glint of humor surfaced. I couldn’t resist a tiny look in that direction, and I began steering away from the latest disaster. I told him that I wished my inner voice sounded like Elise from my BeachBody workout videos.

My husband went to tend to the fire and came back saying he had made a surprise for me. It would greet me in the morning. I like good surprises. Even better, I had a happy reason to get out of bed today.

What I found over the course of the morning were several notes like this.

Later I had this song, “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle, running through my head. I often associate it with Operation Underground Railroad and their mission to free children from modern day (sex) slavery.*

Today the words spoke to me when she sang,

“I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you”

As I looked around the kitchen at my collection of positive affirmations from my husband, I saw that some armies are made of post-it notes.

The truth God reminds me of over and over (along with some humor and an attentive husband) has again set me free.

*Lyrics:

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you

There is no distance
That cannot be covered
Over and over
You’re not defenseless
I’ll be your shelter
I’ll be your armor

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you

I hear the whisper underneath your breath
I hear you whisper, you have nothing left

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you

Oh, I will rescue you

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