“You've grown up.”
I awaken, startled by the whisper.
“You've grown up,” the Voice whispers to me again.
I sit up straight, rubbing sleep away from my tired eyes.
“I'm listening,” I say to the voice in the darkness.
“Little Lucy, My dear one.”
Now I know that it's my Lord's voice whispering.Only He calls me “Little Lucy.” He gave me that name.
“You've grown up,” He says again.
Tears fill my eyes. “No, Lord! Please, no! I don't want to. I don't want to grow up. I want to be Your Little Lucy, the wide-eyed child. I want to remain young and innocent and full of faith.”
I think about what it would mean to no longer be a child.
I tremble as I think of how my life would change.
“It is time, dear one. I need you to be my warrior now. You are still My Lucy, but you are small no more. I must show you things that will break your heart. I must reveal things to you that will make you cry. If you remain a child you cannot bear it. You must grow up.”
As I consider what He said, I see a sword. The sword is glimmering and sparkling in the night. I reach for it, momentarily awed by its beauty.
“Take up this sword. Keep it ever by your side. You must be ready for battle at any moment. This is your weapon. Learn how to use it. Memorize its shape, its weight, and its inscription.”
Holding the gilded handle I look at the blade before my eyes.
As I look, a scrawling script begins to write:
“Take this sword within your hand.
For Peace and Truth and Justice stand.
Upon your side wear this sword,
for it holds the weight of God's holy Word.”
Startled, I place the sword in its sheath. I look to the heavens and say, “Tell me what to do.”
There before me, the darkness parts. Suddenly I see children. They are dirty and tiny with ratted hair and bare feet. They stoop and stumble on a mountain of trash. Their eyes look old. Their bodies look weary.
For a blink of an eye, they all turn to look at me.
It was barely noticeable…
But I saw them look. And in their eyes I heard their plea:
“Help us. Help us.”
I shake my head and try to remove the image. I cannot make it go away.
“For Peace and Truth and Justice stand.”
I remember the words on the sword.
“I surrender. What else must I see?”
The darkness parts again and I see beds. Long, dark rows of beds in a cement room. There are bugs crawling up the walls. There are buckets of refuse lining the hallway.
The image comes closer. On the beds I see emaciated forms of men and women. Their skin is stretched taut on their faces; It hangs loose from their arms. It reveals sores and bones and lifelessness.
“These children of mine are dying from AIDS. I am losing an entire generation to this demon. They leave behind millions of orphans. They have known nothing in life but war. They have known nothing but sickness and suffering.”
A dark little cherub walks into the hallway.
Her eyes search the room.
She seems unaware of the stench and the dirt.
She sees someone and runs to her side. “Mama, mama, don't leave me!”
The weakened, fragile hand of a women opens. It floats through the air and rests on the child's head.
“I love you, baby.”
The hand slips and falls. The woman is gone and the child weeps.
I realize as the scene goes dark that I am shaking. I realize that sobs are wracking my own body.
I want nothing more than to take my sword to that place. I want to pierce the heart of the demon and restore family.
I want to bring the little ones' parents back.
But I cannot.
“It is the weight of God's holy Word.”
His Word tells me to care for the orphan. Does He mean for me to care for this little one whose life is tragedy?
Yes, Lord. So be it.
Once again the darkness opens before me. At first I see color and smiles.
“This is better,” I say. And I breathe a sigh of relief.
But then, one of the smiling faces turns to me. It looks me in the eye and laughs.
The laugh starts as a chuckle. But then it grows into an evil, lurid, haunting guffaw.
The face transforms into a nightmarish witch. I feel her sharp nails pierce my shoulders as she says,
“Come in! Come in! Let me show you my wares!”
Unable to get away, I follow her through a door. Inside I glance around and see a dozen people.
They are lined up against a wall, sitting. When they see me, they stand up.
Some of them fake a smile. Some don't even try.
Some of them are little boys, 7 to 14 years old.
Some of them are little girls the same age.
Some are women my age.
My eyes rest on a girl my size whose face is turned away.
“Talitha, look up!”screams the witch. She turns and looks up. She looks right at me.
And upon this girl I see my own face.
She's dressed in a soiled sari. There's a gold ring in her nose.
But I realize still that it is I reflected in her face.
I crumple to the floor, terrified and shaken.
“Lord, what can you mean? How can you show me these things? I am not a slave! I am not a prostitute!”
“There but for my Grace you would be, dear one.”
I fall on my face and weep. Time drifts by.
I do not know how long I am crying there. I know it has been hours.
And then, I feel a warm breath on my face. With it comes the smell of lilacs.
I wipe my tears and turn. The room is filled with sparkles. They float and dance through the air like so many stars.
I know that my Lord is with me.
I wait for Him to speak.
“You've grown up,” He says, breaking the silence.
I look at my hands.
They are no longer small and soft. They have grown. They're still delicate, but strong and scarred.
I listen to my heart.
It still sings songs of joy. But intermingled with it are dirges of mourning.
And within my chest I also hear a drum beat.
“These are the war drums. Arise, my warrior, and take a stand. You've grown wise and learned much. Now go and rescue, conquer, restore, and revive. This is your time, dear one.
You have been a child long enough.
I am still your Daddy, but now I am your Captain, too. I have chosen you for such a time as this. I need my Little Lucy to become a queen.”
“Let it be unto me as you have said.”
With that, I stand.
I leave my child self behind.
I take up my sword and walk out my door.
May I be found worthy in battle.
Peace, Truth, and Justice is my war cry!!