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Identity, Spiritual Life, Suffering

Keeping Up Appearances

September 17, 2014

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“You have no idea who I really am. No one does.” 

These were the words that poured out of my seventeen year old mouth one night while sitting on a curb with my best friend. And I meant it. No one really knew me. At least, not the real me.

You see, I grew up in an environment where I believed that good or bad, you always put on a good face. To be weak was to be the unbelieving and faithless Christian. So I faked it.

I had the smile, the giddy personality and the super “I love Jesus forever and ever” persona down to an art form. I was the poster child youth group kid. On the outside, it looked like my life was perfect and I was lovin every minute of it. Inside, I was screaming. Hoping that somehow, someway someone could see through the facade. See me.

Fast forward to three days ago. Husband out of town, one sick kid, one wild preschooler and one worn out, stressed out, plain done mom. I wasn’t in a good place. I yelled at my kids when they didn’t deserve it. I swore to the heavens. I lied to my kids. I was lazy and disconnected and wanted nothing more than to just crawl into a hole and hide for a week. I was a mess.

Sunday came and I was barely able to muster the energy to take my kids and I to church. But I made it, all the while making sure they looked spotless, smiling and happy..and I did the same for myself. I smiled. I sang. I shook hands. Hugged my kids and greeted my friends with a smile. I put on my good “face” because that’s what I thought people wanted to see. But it wasn’t what I feeling. Not in the least.

Masks don’t take away our pain and struggle..they just cover it up. 

I think I believed that if I tried hard enough to keep up the appearance that my life was good, somehow it would magically get better. But it didn’t, and I always ended up feeling worse because I felt hidden. I felt like no one knew, and even worse, that no one cared. But how could someone care for my pain if they never knew it was there in the first place?

Girls, I know some of you are desperately hurting right now. Your pain is kept locked up deep inside your heart as you fake your way through your day with a smile on your face. But that is no way to live. We both know that.

Showing our pain is hard. It’s vulnerable and exposing and scary. It let’s everyone know we don’t have it all together and maybe aren’t the pillar of strength everyone thought we were.

Pain kept hidden kills the soul. Pain revealed sets the soul free. 

There’s a reason addresses pain so much. Because it’s real. Because we can’t escape it. And because we are never ever ever meant to walk through it alone.

“Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2

Let’s break the chains of keeping up appearances. Let’s set ourselves free from the expectations that we have to be happy and perfect and good. Let’s show and share in one another’s hurts. Let’s cling to Christ and one another, reminding ourselves that we are never ever alone in the fight.

I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.  ~ Elizabeth Elliot

What are you hurting from today? Hold my hand and let’s walk into the storm together.

Faith, God, Redemption, Spiritual Life, Suffering

Open My Eyes

July 23, 2014

The moment right before I wake is my favorite part of the day. No phone calls to make, emails to respond to. There are no little ones clamoring for my attention or breakfast to be made or bills to pay or laundry to fold.

The world is still at peace.

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As soon as I open my eyes, I am immediately flooded with all the things the previous days have left me with. A friend grieving over losing a parent way too soon. A brother and sister in law fighting to claim joy in the midst of a deep valley. Another friend aching to have a child fill her womb and the anxiousness of not knowing if it has happened yet.

Opening my eyes means opening myself up to the chaos this world can lend. 

Of course there are my own battles I wake up to as well. Will I fail as a mother today? How am I going to believe the lies that Satan tells me today? Am I going to like who I see in the mirror? Why did he have to molest me? Why am I so royally screwed up?

Jesus….get me through today. 

And yet, I also wake up to hope. Hope that my friend’s parent will be held in the arms of Jesus when they pass. That new mercies are given to my brother and sis in law every day and God has not abandoned them in their time of need. Hope that someday, a miracle will grow inside my friend and she will have a baby once again. Hope that despite all my shortcomings, wounds and failures, I am not a lost cause in the eyes of Christ.

Because opening my eyes also means opening myself up to all the joy this world has to offer.

“…the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” -Ann Voskamp

The world is a hard and depressing place. It can cripple the soul and crush the heart. If I put my faith in this world, then every morning is a morning where I wake only to the horrors of life. And who wants to live like that?

No, I want to put my faith in LIFE, in JOY Himself.

For, “Whom have I in heaven but You?And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73: 25-26)

When I wake, I don’t want to see storm clouds, I want to see cleansing rain that chases away all the dirt. I don’t want to see the the wounds on my heart telling me I’m broken; I want to see the scars on His hands telling me I am wholly found in Him.

Open my eyes that I might see…..

Faith, God, Identity, Redemption, Relationships, Spiritual Life, Suffering

Hey There Lonely Girl

July 9, 2014

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Hey There Lonely Girl,

On some park bench in the middle of the day, there you sit. You see everything and everyone around you, and you wonder, do they see you back. These vacant benches and quiet spaces have become like an old comfy shirt to your weary and broken soul.

For to be seen, is to be known. 

Sitting in secluded corners sipping coffee, you look like you’re waiting for a friend to arrive, but you know that’s not the case. You seem confident in the loneliness, almost as though you prefer the solace. No one can see, however,  that silently your heart is screaming for someone, anyone to notice you. To come into your pain. To make you…not so lonely.
Coffee Shop Girl

Fear of your destiny to forever be abandoned, excluded, denied, rejected, and forgotten sweep over your already tired soul and you just cant imagine how this life could ever bring you joy again. You will forever be alone.

Darkness has a way of captivating our spirit. Consuming us thick and tricking us into believing that dawn will never come, only night. Only the emptiness.

But hear me when I say this, Lonely Girl- light HAS come. He has come. He has seen those spaces and places you keep hidden from the world. The things that trap you in your loneliness. He knows the thoughts and regrets that plague you in the night when you feel the most alone. He knows it all.

And the moments when your heart’s mouth cries out to be known, to be loved, to be seen, He is right there, looking right at you….and loving you.

The world will always lie to you. It will tell you that you were a mistake, too screwed up to ever be fixed; destined for solitude. But He who is named TRUTH says otherwise.

He has said that you are more precious than rubies. He has said that you are so worth loving, that life itself is not too great a sacrifice for you. He has said he would never leave you or abandon you. To Him your name is not Lonely. To Him, your name is

Holy, Righteous, & Redeemed

He is for you. I am for you. And a chord of three strands cannot be broken.

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So hold hands with me as we hold onto to Him and together we will see just how abundant this life can be.

“For Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, Fear, God, Redemption, Suffering

Dear Despair

July 2, 2014

 

Dear Despair

You used to be an old friend of mine.  We would sit for hours while you told me lie after lie and I would listen.  You saw into my heart and you knew the strings to pull bringing me closer to you and farther away from truth and peace.  You somehow shadowed my vision so that all I saw in front of me was the painful circumstances at hand.  It was as if your home was a deep pit and once I walked through the door I would fall onto your cement floor and stay for awhile.

You sat across from me and told me this life was too much for me.  You told me there would be no more money to provide for my needs.  You told me there would be no job coming to my door and my searching would go in vain.  You told me I would be alone forever and no one would ever want me.  You told me that I wasn’t worth much.  You told me death would win and I would be left only in sadness without hope.  You told me my burdens would continue to push me down and this struggle would get the best of me.  You told me there was only light if I could see it, feel it, and sense it.  You told me to put my hope only in my friends, family and others who I admired.  You taught me how to put people on pedestals and secretly worship them.  When I sat there crying you told me I had every right to be upset- I deserved to feel hopeless- I deserved to feel like the victim, to remain the victim.  In some twisted way that brought me comfort.  In some twisted way it gave me control.  You told me God was failing me and He didn’t really care at all.

For some reason I trusted and believed you.

But even in my doubts of a loving God and in my believing of your lies… truth broke through as it always ends up doing.  You were wrong.  You didn’t tell me- ” He knows what He is doing with me, and when He has tested me, I will come forth as pure gold!!” (Job 23:10)

You didn’t tell me that God may be calling me to live my life without something I never thought I could live without.  But if I have Him- I have the only wealth, health, love, honor, and security I really need and cannot lose.

You didn’t tell me that these present burdens are actually mercies from God.

You didn’t tell me when it feels like God is killing me He is actually saving me!!

 You didn’t tell me of the redemption that lies at the end of all this.  The Joy available to me in every moment.  The peace residing in me who is Jesus.

My trust has not been in God but has been in my circumstances, public opinion and my own competence!

I may not always understand… but I now see the truth.

God will provide for all of my needs.  (Matthew 6)

I don’t have to fear because God is always with me and I’m never alone.  (Isaiah 41:10)

I am worth more than sparrows.  (Matthew 10:31)  The sparrows were worth nothing… and yet God was concerned with them!  He cared for them and not one of them fell to the ground without God knowing.  If God is concerned with these birds… how much more He must be concerned with me?

Death may come and sickness may sneak in, but even death cannot overcome me or my God.  (1 Cor. 15)  There can somehow be peace present in the pain.  Unimaginable peace.  Unexplainable hope!

There is light.  When I don’t see it, feel it, or sense it…. it is there.  (2 Sam.22:29, Ps. 27:1, Psalm 4:6, Ps. 119:105, 119:130, John 8:12, 2 Cor. 4:6, 1 Peter 2:9)

God will not fail me.  (Jos. 1:5)  At times I feel as though He has dropped me from His hands.  But in those times I now see my faith is found in God, not my feelings.  He is Gracious and Holy.  Merciful and Loving.

You’re very good at persuading me to look at what God may not be doing.  But you forget that it’s all about who God is.

Dear Despair

You won’t win.  You cannot have my heart, my thoughts and my body.  I have believed your lies too often and now I see the truth.  For even when I am discouraged I will look to Him and rejoice in what He did for me, I will have the joy and hope necessary- and the freedom to follow the call of God when times seem at their darkest and most difficult.  I choose to not remain a victim.  I will stand up and shadow my eyes from the darkness so that all I can see is Him standing there with me- lifting my heavy shoulders, teaching me how to walk again up the mountain, and bringing me out of this shining as pure gold.

“We’ve all felt it- the uncertainty, pain or fear that leaves us on the brink of despair.  Perhaps you are feeling it today as you rise to meet what greets you.  We close our eyes and drink in the truth like water: He is our hope.”- Anonymous

 

Faith, Fear, God, Identity, Redemption, Sex, Spiritual Life, Suffering

And Then The Fog Lifted

June 10, 2014

 

It’s as if for the last year or better my life has been like driving in a fog. It was as though I could see where I was heading, but the world around me felt dismal and cloudy. Sure there were bright spots, lots of bright spots in facts. Moments where the sun broke through and the world seemed well again. But the fog always stayed.

A year ago I went into therapy. Theory after theory of what was causing this heavy pressing on spirit was tossed about, but no answers came. At one point, I just said it’s the season of life I’m in and it will get better. For a while, it did. I left therapy and I thought the fog as well. But that fog….it kept pushing.

I could count on my hand the many “Ah-ha!” moments I’ve had in my life. You know, the ones where everything suddenly clicked into place and all made sense in the world? Five months ago I got my ah-ha.

Weeks before it happened I could feel the fog pressing down stronger than ever. It was almost so thick, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The night before, I was listening to a sermon online by Tim Keller. He was speaking about the rich young ruler who God told to sell all his possessions and follow Him. As we know, the man couldn’t do it, and left grieving. What Tim said next cut deep to my core.

He said that in the book of Luke he writes, “Jesus looked at him and loved him and..” Tim’s point was that God looked into the heart of the ruler, saw a cancer living in his soul that kept him from Christ, and out of his love for the man, he wanted to call him to freedom from it. Amazing, right?!?

The next night I was sitting with Jeff in our room when the fog began to consume me and I was left in panic. I asked him to give me a moment alone, and began to pray. I begged God for answers/deliverance/healing..anything I could name. And gently, like the fog lifting at the dawn of a new morning, I had my answer. The answer I’d been seeking for over a year. The answer as to what was making my spirit feel so incredibly heavy.

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I, Heather, had been sexually abused by a boyfriend in college. 

I wish I could go into the depths of all that transpired leading up to that moment and all that took place immediately in the moments after, but I will save that for another post. What I can say is this: God had seen this cancer in me for years. A cancer that I somehow never saw. And because He loved me, He had, for the past year, slowly been drawing that cancer to the surface so that I could be healed from it and become closer to Him.

I’ve been back in therapy for a while. Painful, beautiful, agonizing and glorious therapy. One thing my counselor said to me in my first session was that this abuse would one day not be the thing I fear, but a foundation on which I stand. Today ladies, is that day.

So few women/people ever speak on the journey of healing from abuse. The ones that do only find the ability to do so after years removed from the pain of the process. I can understand why. But what if someone invited others to walk with them AS they journeyed along this path? Could there be power in that for others? Could you, dear girl, maybe find the courage to face the cancer living inside your own soul? Could you, along with me begin to realize that the journey is not something to fear but rather a foundation to build upon?

I want you to come along with me as I hold hands with my abuse and learn how what the enemy intended for evil, God intends for good. His good, and my own. I can’t promise you my journey will be easy or pain free. But I can tell you it will be honest, and hopefully, it will show you that you are not alone and that our God…wow…that He is so very very good.

To continue following my story, please head to our sister page A Girl In Progress .There I will be posting regularly the road I am traveling, and hopefully, one you’ll walk alongside me in.

Faith, God, Identity, Spiritual Life, Suffering

Ugly Pretty

April 23, 2014

Every week when I go grocery shopping, I buy a bouquet of flowers to put in my house. There’s something so welcoming and homey like some pretty blooms in a cool vase that just brightens up a room. At least that’s how I feel.

Last week I was at the grocery store doing my thing, when I stopped by the flower section to pick up the weeks bouquet. Spring is here, so the assortment of flowers were incredible. Roses, daisies, hydrangeas, tulips, peonies…you name it, they had it. But for some reason I passed them all by and beelined for this little bushel of flowers hanging out all by its lonesome. My choice? The purple thistles.

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The thistle is classified as a weed. Often mentioned for its harsh exterior and ability to inflict tremendous amounts of pain if stepped on or grabbed. It is not a beloved flower, thats for sure. Even in Genesis the thistle is mentioned as part of the curse placed upon Adam. “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.” Not exactly a recipe for beauty, am I right? 

So often, I feel like the thistle. Deceiving the world at first look with a facade of beauty, but when gotten close to, discovered for the harsh, prickly and wounded/wounding person I am. Feeling so often like I am nothing more than a weed, but rather something annoying and needing to be plucked out of the world.

Maybe I’m being a tad overdramatic but I think you all could admit that you’ve felt that way at least once in your life. The feeling of anxiety that if you were truly known, you’d be hated. If people only knew what you had done or what had been done to you, you’d be forever alone. You’re not the flower, you’re the weed.

One thing I love most about God is how He tends to take the ugly and seemingly useless and surprise us by making it something of great beauty and use. Take the thistle for example: It has long been known that the thistle is a great form of herbal healing. Known to cure stomach issues, reduce headaches, and even reduce certain types of cancer cells, the thistle has been a healing agent for centuries.

Today, you may feel like the thistle. Unwanted, unpretty, forgotten by God and the rest of the world. And today I want you to know that is not the case. For as Isaiah 43:19 says, Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

You may see only your hurt and your uselessness, but Christ sees so much more. He looks at your pain and only sees the beauty and healing and joy that will come from making it through to the other side. What once was a source of wounding, will now be a balm that heals.

I’m proud to be like the thistle. An ugly that is made pretty pretty by His love. I’d have it no other way.

Faith, Fear, God, Redemption, Suffering

When Will the Evil End?

April 16, 2014

 

I’m really trying to make sense of it all.  Trying to understand why bad things happen.  Why evil is so real and so awful and why I seem to be so clueless to the pain people feel at night when I’m safe in my bed.  I’m trying to understand why God chose me to have this life and why others have to go through “hell”.

Sometimes life shakes life up a bit.  Sometimes it even shakes my faith up a bit.

Tossing and turning in the storm as waves start crashing in the boat and I’m told that God is in control.  Most of the time this gives me hope, but today it makes me angry and confused.  Do I believe God is in control?  Absolutely.  However, I’m a little terrified He sometimes choses to not stop the storm.  To allow it to persist and to let evil get away with evil per say.

You don’t really think about evil all that much when you’re running to do errands, cleaning the house, in class, having coffee with a friend. But then there’s moments when you come face to face with it.  When you see the murder, you see the sexually abused, the physically abused, the scared and the starving, when you see death right in front of you.  You see it presently in the life of someone you know.  Then it becomes real.

She stopped at the side of the curb with her tire spitting out air and becoming a flat.  I had just finished a run and stopped to ask if she wanted some help.  She stepped out of her car with her messed up hair and her thin frame.  Her bony fingers began to shake a bit as she began to explain that all she did was look down for a second to put lotion on her hands when her car hit the curb.  She then looked up at me and on the side of her face was a massive hole in her cheek.  Looked like someone took a cigar and burned her cheek until it practically burned through to the other side.  You could tell she didn’t want me to see it.  She tried to look at me from the corner of her eye so that her face was hidden.  Her husband wasn’t the kind and friendly type when he showed up.  He was definitely not “thrilled” that she had a flat and even his shirt posed some kind of threat.  I walked into my house and felt my stomach drop.  Who knows what kind of life this woman was living right around the corner from my life in here.  Was she being abused? Was she constantly having to defend herself physically?  Did she fall asleep at night in fear of screwing up and fear of what the outcome might be?

We all ask the question “Why does God allow bad things to happen?”  And not just bad things… horrible things!  I typically have the answer- God has reasons beyond our understanding.. reasons leading to an ultimate good.  But tonight I am searching high and low for God to give me a really good reason for all the pain in this world.  Because I am seeing it with my own eyes in people that I love and I don’t think this is ok.

In my searching for “why”… I was answered with “who.”  The heart of God doesn’t think this is ok either.  His heart is broken.  When we search the heart of the Father we find that He is not this big powerful being just watching it all happen without a care in the world…He is weeping and angry and ready to pounce.  ” …..how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols.  And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations.  And they shall know that I am the Lord.”- Ezekiel 6:9  God, even more than myself, wants evil to end.  He hates evil.  He will not let evil go unpunished.  And that, my friends, is where I find hope.  I may not know why but I do know there is punishment waiting for those who walk in evil.  And there has to be judgement.  Either on the sinner or Christ for the sinner! There will be redemption! He will make right everything that is so wrong.  This life will be made new and these scars will be wiped clean.

” He will bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God’ to comfit all who mourn; to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit….. for I the Lord LOVE justice; I HATE robbery and wrong with violence.” – Isaiah 61

We have hope in the God of justice and love.  We have hope in His wrath knowing that He will have revenge on all who have chosen to take the path of idolatry and evil.  And we have hope in His love for us… He is fighting for us and He has died for us.  He is coming back! Your kingdom come Lord!!

” Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is hoy continue to be holy.  Look, I AM COMING SOON!!  Bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  Blessed are those who wash their robes.  ( In His blood)  They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.  Outside the city are the dogs- the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.  I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches.  I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.  I am the bright morning star!.” Rev. 22:10-16   

” I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage… in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for ALL hearts, for the comforting of ALL resentments, for the atonement of ALL the crimes of humanity, for ALL the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.”- Fyodor Dostoyevsky,  The Brothers Karamozov

 

Faith, God, Spiritual Life, Suffering

Lament

March 26, 2014

He asks me how I’m doing and I say, “Ok.” There’s something in my voice that gives away that I’m lying, so he asks me again. This time, I know I’ve been found out, so I just decide to tell the truth. He’s my counselor after all, isn’t this why I’m seeing him in the first place? “I feel like I’m grieving, but I don’t know why or for what I am grieving over,” I tell him. He looks at me, and I know he knows theres more for me to share.

Just like that, the dam is open and the words and feelings come spewing out of my mouth in uncontrollable waves of emotion. I say it all out loud. I share the doubt and the anger- the ugly things that only ever really live inside my head. I say them all as though my life depended on me sharing them. I don’t speak of hope or joy or grace-only the pain and loneliness. All the while, he listened.

There was a brief silence after I finished before he spoke. So brief, but in my mind, it was an eternity. With great sympathy, he looked at me and said, “I bet you feel so much better now, don’t you?” And the truth was, I did.

He tells me of a Psalm. Psalm 88 to be exact. He tells me it’s the only one of its kind in all of scripture. The only Psalm of true lament. Eighteen verses of one man crying out to God in his anguish, consumed by despair. He doesn’t speak of God’s goodness or his mercy. He never even speaks of hope. Only pain and nothing more.

I immediately went home and read it, of course. These verses were written thousands of years before my time, yet were so relevant to the state of my heart in that moment. Things like:

“O Lord, God of my salvation I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!”

“I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead”

“Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness?”

“O Lord, why do You reject my soul?Why do You hide Your face from me?”

I begin to ask myself, why would God allow something like this to be in the Bible? Why would He promote the writings of a man who is questioning God, doubting God, and not choosing joy in the mercy and love of God? Isn’t that what we are supposed to do as Christians? Aren’t we, even when we’re walking through hell, supposed to have a smile on our face? So why Psalm 88? After days of running these questions over in my head, this is what I came to.

For me and you, that’s why. 

God gave us Psalm 88 so that we could know that moments of lament don’t mean moments without faith. We live in a broken world with broken people, where evil and death and destruction are all around us. It would be impossible to think that we would walk our whole lives and never feel the sting of the fall that separated us from Christ.

God, in his unfathomable mercy gave us Psalm 88 as His way of telling us that we don’t have to like, understand, or be ok with life when suffering and pain is cast upon us. He wants us to see that the hurt caused by the brokenness of this world is supposed to leave us unsettled. Because this wasn’t how life was meant to be.

Knowing that I can cry out to God like the psalmist did is what takes my lament and gives me hope. Hope to know I am not alone in my affliction. Hope in knowing that I don’t have to understand why I’m going through what I’m going through-and better yet, that I don’t have to like it. And ultimately the relief to know that despite my shortage of hope, he is still with me and for me. And nothing, not even my own lament can take that away.

Feeling your pain doesn’t mean you aren’t embracing Christ. In fact, it’s in feeling our pain that we can begin to see our need for Him much more clearly. Because as Paul reminds us in Philippians, “His power is made perfect in our weakness.”

Amen.

Faith, Fear, God, Redemption, Spiritual Life, Suffering

There’s Always A Light

March 12, 2014

I don’t like the dark. It’s not that I’m really afraid of the dark, it’s just that there is a level of uncertainty that comes in a poorly lit room or area that makes me a tad uncomfortable. Even in the most familiar of spaces, like my home, I get uneasy walking through at night when there aren’t any lights on. Shadowy corners become dark figures, noises become heightened and I, well, I become on edge.

Crazy things happen to our bodies when we enter into darkness. Our vision blurs, our pulse races, and our anxieties heighten. The night closes in and almost feels thick, tangible to the touch. Yet in the midst of it all, our body also begins to seek out light. Our brain sends a message to our pupils causing them to open as wide as they can, embracing the darkness so that it can grab on to any light source that exists. Once found, our vision adjusts, things become clear and we can see again. In a moment, that huge void no longer seems quite so colossal.

I’ve been memorizing scripture throughout the book of John this year. One of the first verses I learned was John 1:5-

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The light (Jesus) shines in the darkness (evil/sin/pain/hurt/abuse/fear/anxiety) and the darkness has not overcome it. Just like our bodies are designed to instinctively seek out light in a dark room, so are our souls created to ache for the hope and light of Christ when our lives seem to be overcome with darkness. Because there is always, always ALWAYS light.

The greatest weakness of the enemy is that he cannot see the future. When he rides in and stirs chaos and deceit and abuse and pain and lies and sin…in his arrogance, he believes he’s beat you. But girl, he cannot see what God sees. He forgets that light can never become overcome by darkness. And that because light can never be consumed, it can never be destroyed. And if it can never be destroyed, then light will always win.

In my own life, I’m currently entering into a very dark room that has been hidden deep in the chasms of my soul for a very long time. It’s a room I didn’t know was there, and one that’s way too painful and uncomfortable for me to go into. Everything in me wants to run. I want to close the door and tell myself that the hurt doesn’t exist and that I can be ok and happy even if the room is still there.

And then He whispers…”My light is in you…you cannot be consumed.” So I open the door and walk in to that darkness. I embrace the vastness of the black abyss as it slowly leeks its way out of its protective walls and fills up the spaces of my heart. My spirit begins to feel weak, my heart’s vision starting to blur. And then…light

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His light. Like the pupils in my eyes, my soul begins to stretch..to open itself up to the darkness and seek His light because I know it’s there. He’s there. And when I find Him I find hope. Hope that creates a spark filling up all the corners of my darkened heart with a light and grace that moves me forward into to greater joys. It moves me into freedom.

So for you girl, the one who feels like her soul is welling up with darkness, there is light. There is Him. And with Him, the darkness will never consume you. Never. Don’t fear walking into that dark place. Do it holding the hand of Jesus as he guides you with the marvelous light of His mercy and grace into the place of life abundant.

Because in the end, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome it.