Walking into the darkness can be difficult – whether it’s a physical, emotional, or spiritual darkness. Going from the light and having to adjust to the darkness takes some effort. We can’t move quickly, for fear of stumbling. Darkness, by nature, forces us to slow down, to move cautiously.
We consider it easier to maneuver in the light – for obvious reasons: we can see where we’re going, we can see stumbling blocks, and God is showing us the way.
Have you ever been in a prolonged darkness? Maybe you’ve spent the night with a child who did not want to be alone. Perhaps you’ve weathered a storm that took out power for a couple days and realized just how quickly the darkness sets in as evening rolls around.
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When the light finally comes, it can be hard to adjust – we’re so used to the darkness, to how we have to manage in the darkness. The light can seem almost painful – we’ve all seen people shielding their eyes, or reaching for sunglasses or a hat on the brightest of days. We’ve seen people squint as the light comes on in a dark room.
I’ve been living in a darkness for almost 3 years. I wrote a post one day, not realizing that just a few days later those words would be for me – that my entire world would turn upside down, my heart would be completely broken, and I’d find out just how much of my life had been a lie.
What do you do after a trauma occurs?
I think we all retreat, in some manner. I gathered my favorite blanket and sat on the end of my couch. I just sat. Sometimes I would lie down, but mostly I sat. From time to time I would sleep a little longer. Other times I would watch TV, or put on a movie – anything to protect me from what I was feeling.
I changed my schedule, my sleep habits completely changed, and I started to realize that life would never ever be the same.
I spent time asking God the obvious question: Why?
I waited and listened for His answer: This isn’t about you, it’s about him (my husband).
Almost 3 years have passed.
In fact, as of this writing, 1,082 days have passed.
I found this image the other night and shared a teaser post on Facebook (the image, minus the text on it). I promised a post to go with this image. Since then, we’ve had a car accident that threatened to derail my faith in what God is currently doing in our lives. But after several days of working through what is currently happening, I’ve determined that it would be a shame to throw away 1,082 days of faith in God over a car accident. Mind you, it has possible financial ramifications, of course. We’ve recently made some choices that are necessary for our family, and we’re having to trust God with the finances. I came back to this image, to the fact that it represents all that God has done, and I’m unwilling to go back to the darkness of the tunnel for what is hopefully just a temporary setback.
It’s been almost three years since the original trauma. And while that seems to be a long time, I’m sure we all know that grief takes its time. There is no set amount of time until – poof! – grief is magically gone. No. In fact, I’m sure we all carry scars of many different hurts from years past.
I’ve been pretty sure that this was what might ultimately do me in – this mess that my family is in because of the choices my husband made, and because of my choice to support him in getting the help he needs. I’d prepared myself to never know a “normal” life again. I’d pretty much accepted my “new normal” as being far from what it was, and even farther from what I’d ever hoped.
Which is why I was surprised to find myself writing these words to a friend the other day:
I look around at 3 happy kids, a husband on the way to being whole,
a house filled with love and laughter and good memories despite all the garbage that’s happened,
and I realize that somehow, slowly, I’ve managed to climb out of the pit I was in.
Not only have I climbed out of the pit, or maybe made it to the end of the tunnel, but I realize that God has faithfully carried me every step of the way.
I’m reminded of a few verses that have helped me on this journey:
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back.
No matter where we are, no matter what our situation, no matter how lost or forgotten we feel, God has never once lost track of us. He knows where we are, how we got there, and He is caring for us even in the midst of our situation.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
I Peter 5:10-11
God, in His grace, will restore us, no matter what we’ve endured. He will make our footing sure.
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
This last one has been the hardest to grasp hold of. It’s easy to read the promises of what God and what He will do, but this verse in Psalm 71 struck me because of the writer’s words – I will praise you more and more.
How do we hold onto hope in the tough times? How do we continue to get up each morning and trust that God is going to do what He says?
It’s truly a moment-by-moment decision to trust.
As we trust God for today, let’s not forget to give thanks for the many things that He has done to get us to this point.
What did He do for you yesterday that encourages you to trust Him still today?
What did He do a year ago that causes you to have hope and trust even still?
Have you thanked Him today for those things?
I found a quote/saying some time back that reads:
“What if we woke up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?“
Friend, even in the midst of struggles, we can find things to thank God for. You can make your own list of 1,000 Gifts. Not only will it give you something to focus on – finding blessings – it will also give your mind something to do instead of worry, instead of fearing your situation.
The devil wants a foothold – just a foothold. It’s our job to know where we belong – safe under God’s care (Psalm 91), and it’s our job to take our thoughts captive so that the enemy doesn’t even get the slightest opening to our heart.
Friends, if you’re going through a tunnel, if you’re stuck in a pit, I’m certainly not here to promise that you’re going to get what you ask of God, though I sincerely wish I could promise that.
I am here to say, though, that God is still about redemption. His desire is still for us to be with Him. That doesn’t change whether you’re on the mountaintop or in the dark and dank pit.
“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”
If you’re in a pit, God is there.
If you’re in a pit because of someone else’s actions, God knows all the details.
If you’re in a pit, perhaps God is at work in ways He has not revealed yet – keep trusting Him.
Wherever you are today, please know that there is hope. There IS hope. His name is Jesus. Keep trusting, keep worshiping, keep believing that He will redeem and restore. Then step boldly into the light.