I stood in the grocery line and wondered why the cashier was ignoring the customer…
One of the most important parts of our healing retreats is the small group time. Small groups are the place where sisters can share their experiences more deeply with one another and receive individual healing prayer. What I share in this blog post is based on a vision I had during small group time at a recent Hope Blooms Healing Retreat.
A Little Context
Our Hope Blooms retreats are for women healing from betrayal trauma, that is the trauma of discovering a spouse’s or significant other’s infidelity, pornography addiction or sex addiction. The dear sister in Christ being ministered to shared that her suffering is minimized in her home of four males (3 sons and her husband). The boys tend to defend their father and emphasize his efforts at recovery while not acknowledging that she has been impacted by her husband’s addiction and that she too is on a recovery journey. In our small group, she was able to share how unseen she feels and to open up to us her pain of being rejected and misunderstood, not only by her husband, but also by her sons.
As she shared and cried, I sensed immediately that our Blessed Mother Mary was right by her side and the painting below popped into my mind. This painting, by artist Kate Caputo, is titled, “The Woman,” (shared here with artist’s permission. View more of Kate’s beautiful work here: https://www.visualgrace.org).
In the vision, I saw our dear hurting sister laying across Mary’s lap just as Eve is in the painting: exposed and vulnerable with Mary looking upon her face so tenderly as she cradles and covers her.
As the vision unfolded, I saw a circle of female Saints surrounding Mary and our sister. The circle of female companions stretched on and on. The ones I recognized in the most inner circle were St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Theresa of Calcutta, St. Faustina, St. Maria Goretti, St. Catherine of Siena, Elizabeth Leseur, St. Joan of Arc, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Gianna Molla.
Outside of this circle was St. Joseph with his holy cloak. Jesus was holding a shield that wrapped all around this circle of women. The co-leader of our small group saw the shield was made of purple velvet. Purple has biblical significance as the color of royalty, nobility and majesty and we sensed the Lord enfolding and shielding the women in purple to remind us of our true identities as daughters of the King. We are guarded and protected as His beloved ones. Lastly, was St. Michael the Archangel and another angel, presumably her Guardian angel, keeping watch up above.
“You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. – Psalm 139:5
This is how we fight our battles. This is the reality of our position on the spiritual battlefield: the unseen but very real reality that we are never, ever alone.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
What is the battle you are facing today? Rejection? Abandonment? Self-condemnation? Shame? Fear of failure? Betrayal? Unresolved trauma and its after-effects? Let us take our battle position, surrendered in our Mother’s arms. Put yourself in Kate’s painting in the place of Eve. Envision the heavenly encampment described above situated around you. And let the fiery darts come!
The enemy’s darts may come at us in the form of a loved one’s deceptions, unjust treatment, hurtful comments, the temptation to despair or feel depressed or hopeless or other ungodly experience. As the darts come, turn your face away from them interiorly and snuggle more deeply into Mary’s bosom. Allow Mary’s perfect tenderness and strength to wash over you, as you breathe restfully in her protective mantle. In this position, our reactivity or defensiveness is met with a little space, that deep breath necessary to calm and cool.
Resting in Mary’s arms while the adverse circumstances wage on, seen and known by the saints who have gone before, letting Jesus be our shield and buckler gives us hope when all seems hopeless and strengthens us when we are weak. Let us sing unceasingly the words to the song referenced by the title of this post: “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You. This is how I fight my battles.”
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14
From artist, Kate Caputo, “In this painting [The Woman], you will notice a bitten apple and a white rose that is growing out of it. This is a symbol of hope and redemption, for nothing is lost or without hope when we give it over to Christ. I pray this image brings you healing, brings you peace, and gives you hope. Sit with it. Pray with it. Just stare at it and let the Holy Spirit work in you. Allow Mother Mary into your life. She yearns to be your mother and will bring you assuredly to Christ.”
Copyright 2022, De Yarrison