A lonely and scared young teacher wrote it as she contemplated her isolation—a loneliness that pervaded her heart and soul. Margaret Clarkson experienced loneliness of every kind—mental, cultural, and spiritual—as she began teaching at a logging camp in northern Ontario, Canada she wrote these words of pain and suffering. However years later she would see the “one-sidedness” of this hymn and compose a newer version—one that reflected her growth and rest in Christ.
So send I you—by grace made strong; To triumph o’er hosts of hell,
Margaret Clarkson, whose rarely-used first name is Edith, was born in 1915 into, as Margaret herself described, “a loveless and unhappy marriage” which broke up when she was twelve. The memories of her childhood were of tension, fear, insecurity, and isolation. Margaret was born in Melville, Saskatchewan where she lived until her parents, Frederick and Ethel, and the family moved to Toronto when she was around age four. Throughout her life, she was plagued by pain; initially from migraines, accompanied by convulsive vomiting, and then arthritis—two ailments that accompanied her continually. In Destined for Glory, she related sadly that her mother told her that her first words were “my head hurts.” At age three Margaret, or Margie as her friends knew her, contracted juvenile arthritis and became bed bound. She recalled the pain as well as the bald spot worn on the back of her head from lying in bed so long.