What the black sheep knows

{By Amy Breitmann}

Flowering weeds line the rugged fence on the farm.

Their juxtaposition makes sense to me, their beauty tucked in between barbed wire and slivery fence posts.


lower with barbed wire

 {photo credit: http://photopin.com/search/flowers-and-barbed-wire}

Rugged planks frame the acreage in morning light and the wood reminds me of the cross and that He really does make all things new.

He started His ministry outside gates like these.

The land is dotted with sheep of all kinds: young and old, spotted, gray, brown.  The goats gather in the shade with comical beards.

The youngest lambs glow white and new against the Georgia clay.



Moss covers the fence and I peer through.
I stay quiet because I don’t want the sheep to notice me. I just want to see. I want to memorize how they move in pastures and remember the one Lamb that changed it all. I stare at them, sun warming my face and then turn toward the barn where my mother is tacking up her horse.

My boots shuffle on the dusty path.

I round the corner of the barn, sun streaming, and meet her.



The young black sheep stares straight ahead, blankly.

The farmer’s wife tells me her name but I don’t remember it. I am too focused on the words she says next.

“She was born blind, and that’s why her momma wears the bell you hear ringing. It was necessary those first days because the lamb needed food and the sound was her only way to find it.”

The explanation is still hanging in the air when she appears, a clanging chime preceding her.




The bell’s rhythm sounds like a smile in the air and her blind daughter tilts her head to listen close.  It becomes clear that she can’t navigate these 200 acres on her own. Her mama’s bell is her compass. Blindness keeps her close to her protector.

I think it’s a little sad, at first, that they aren’t out in the field with the dozens of others.. The pair stay close to the barn, near the roosters and the cats, the chiming sound leading, inseparable.  The little one plays with confidence on her own, chasing the chickens and crouching under the fence.  But she never wanders far.

As I watch this girl and her momma I know there is something beautiful in being the lamb who can’t see, dependent. Something intimate about the injured one who has to listen close. Because in the darkness ears tune sharp to the sound of the maker’s presence.

And I know darkness. I have listened close in long winter seasons, with cancer or confusion stealing any vision of hope.  In other seasons I have squinted hard  for others with faith- blindness of one sort or another. I’ve held the hand of one that feels alone in a crowd or the one whose pedestal has cracked.  And I think now of the one whose past caught up, whose addiction is railing. I recall how I grasp for words for her, searching for any sound that can slice through the pitch black and make things new.

The truth is that we are all blind, black sheep at one time or another and when darkness comes heavy there is no human voice loud enough.

And this little one of His, here on the farm, the black, blind one reminds me again:

There is a single voice that can cut through darkness:  a shephard whose life rang the only bell of Truth. A shepard who took all our darkness onto two beams of wood and fashioned them into salvation.

That shephard promised that He wouldn’t leave and forsake us, not matter how bleak or how blind life became.

I tilt my head to hear the whisper of His still, small voice in the wind, which sounds today like a clanging bell.


Amy 1Amy Breitmann’s name means “Beloved” and she’s on a quest to believe it. Her boots carry Midwest soil but now she kicks it up in the south where she weaves marriage, ministry and motherhood together. Though she’s been a Christian as far as she can remember, her boots are covered with mud from her wanderings. As a cancer survivor, she was the Co-Founder of The Lydia Project, a ministry which holds hands with other women facing cancer.  She also is a lost-sock finder, a keeper of secrets for the best cheesecake recipe, and gets grace in the ordinary. The words that tumble out on her blog Beloved in Blue Jeans are balm that the Spirit speaks to quiet her soul. She loves others to eavesdrop there and walk a bit of this cobbled path with her. She’s a Co-Visionary with Tammy, Facebook Team Editor, Big-Dreamer, and Writer. Find her on her blog by clicking here, or on Facebook  or Twitter.





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23 Comments on “What the black sheep knows

  1. Pingback: What The Black Sheep Knows | Beloved in Blue Jeans

    • Michelle, I needed this story the most. The relationship between this little one and her mama stirred me to remember truth. Thank you for being here with this community on the back roads~ we’re so glad you’re here.

  2. Beautiful Amy. Couldn’t wait to see what you wrote about our little black sheep. It is beautiful, just beautiful and very wise.

    • Mom, thank you for introducing me to the little black sheep that taught me a powerful lesson. I love those acres, that barn, and the spirit there in the mountains. Thank you for sharing it all so generously with me. I love you.

    • Amy, your words take my breath away. I can smell the air around the barn, smell the fresh grass the goats chew and eat. I also hear the bell, your words give it sound, I even hear the bleating of the young goat as he looks for his mother. Your words convict me, to stop and listen, to her the voice of my Master, as he calls me, His sheep, to respond. Oh, how I pray I respond as He would have me respond. Thank you, BJG, for this amazing word picture and message.

      • Kathy, your friendship has been God’s presence in my life. Thank you for holding this black sheep’s hand so, so many times.

    • Yes, sometimes it is. And sometimes, as the black sheep, we can receive the presence of community. Thanks for being a constant encourager to so many, Tammy. And for listening close with me for His voice on these back roads.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs author of Bad Girls of The Bible…God’s excellent potential perspective and transforming power in the lives of these women and ours!

    • Gifts in the darkness, huh Paula? Sometimes we have to remind each other and I’m blessed by sisters like YOU that help me remember.

  3. That is truth right there Amy. All of us end up in the darkness somehow one way or the other and the only way out is by following the voice of the Father. The Shepherd. And we, we know his voice. Such lovely writing.

  4. Beautiful illustration of the Omnipresence of God and His Unconditional Love.
    In pursuit of our affections, allegiance, despite our dysfuctions, imperfections desires to lavish us with His faithful care.

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