Last Tuesday, my alarm didn’t have a chance to go off as it is on most days. My one year old daughter babbled softly in her crib; the monitor a beacon on my nightstand. I caffeinated and tip-toed around my sleeping husband and blew my hair dry and snuggled my baby and fed the dog. Notoriously, I ran out of the house seven minutes too late with half of my coffee still on the bathroom counter. Where it most likely stayed for far too much time.

I worked and worked in my small, yellow-walled office. It was Spring Break and all was quiet for just the week. Emails were sent, contracts were reviewed, budgets were balanced and I ate a healthy lunch and drank enough water (finally). Errands were ran, dinners were made, baths were had, foreheads were kissed and a slobbery dog snoozed in the corner. It was, by all accounts, a normal Tuesday.

It was also one year to the day that I returned home from an eight day stay at a psychiatric hospital.

As it turns out, you can be normal and crazy all at the same time.

The details of my stay are dim and scary; a scar on my memory that has just finally closed up. Talking about it no longer stings the corners of my eyes or leaves my chest too heavy and too warm. In fact, sometimes getting the words out into the air expels the bad energy, making room for the good. It aids the healing.

But this isn’t about the details. This is about the terrible and glorious aftermath.

The climb from the pit where the dirt feels like quicksand and your knuckles are bloodied by your fight to get out. You can’t see past the backsliding earth blurring your vision and putting grit in your teeth. But there is a climb. And you will dig your fingers into the walls and make yourself a stair. And then another. And then another.

So yes, we’re going to talk about the ugly middle. Because there are no secrets here. You cannot afford keeping your truths locked away behind your ribcage when your heartbeat gives you away. These things, I’ve learned.

I’ve learned that pain is a useful tool. And can be of God. I’ve learned that every once in a blue moon, if you squint just this way and tilt your head that way and really listen, you can see a glimpse of God’s plan. The divine spark that burns somewhere deep in the middle of your core will flicker to life and warm your bones and tell you that you were brought here. And in the middle of the ugliness and pain, God plants a seed; a breath of an idea. And the fruit of that vine that will grow from that seed may seem like an insurmountable future, an impossible happiness, and you may or may not tend to it as it settles in and takes life beyond you.

But that’s the funny thing about life. It will tend to the seed, allowing it to sprout in your belly and grow winding little tendrils that will reach from your fingers to your toes to your head and finally, your heart. (Turns out that process can take about a year. Give or take).

So all the while, I’m tending to my brain. A fallible organ. A chemical warfare. Where a few doctors, a little time, and a lot of prayer were my only hope. And all the while, He tended to His seed and lo and behold, here I am. With a deep sense of joy and purpose. And a dream to help anyone in the pit, digging their own stairway out.

This is what I’m called for. I just know it in my bones. And the fire in my soul. The sharp and longing pain has been answered with a light and conviction setting connections in my life on fire. Little sparks of His plan are flashing all around me and my eyes are finally clear enough to see them. The timing couldn’t be more correct with this flood of spirit and warmth and life and energy. One of my favorite songs speaks, “So like the rain come drench us in love, and let your glory rush in like a flood.”

The flood is here.

And if you’re in the middle of the pit, know this:

I will throw a rope. I will dig in my heels. And I will pull with all my might.


By: Aubrie Montgomery




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