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Monday, May 26, 2008

Overcoming Darkness


Sitting in the dark, a hot little forehead pressed against my chest, I watch the clock display the passing minutes. It is early, early in the morning and little Zachary has barely slept. He's comfortable now, so I plan to stay right where I am, snuggled on the couch under an afghan, listening to the sounds of our home. His breathing is calm and deep, as is mine. I don't mind the dark. It clothes me thickly and allows me to embrace thoughts I may push out of my mind in the lighter hours of the day. Busyness has no hold on me in the darkness.

Memories of the past year travel lazily through my mind. It seems far away now, but at the time my depression suffocated me and erased any possibility of future happiness. Darkness swept over me and my soul hurt with the weight of it. Looking back, from this physical darkness that feels so much more peaceful, I realize that I was pulled unknowingly through that time by a thread of hope deeper than my own consciousness. I didn't know if God was there. God is light; I was in darkness. How could I reconcile those opposites?

I tried to quote scripture to myself in those dark days. It sounded hollow to my ears, to my spirit, too. So many saints had been through darkness and didn't lose faith, why was I floundering?

The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.

Psalm 143:3-4

The baby stirs on my chest, sniffles, and settles again, his weight hot and damp. I reflect on the gift that he is, though bearing him and living through his first months resulted in my spiritual valley. I feel grateful, yet aware that I had just passed through a season of complete ungratefulness, and whisper a prayer to thank God for the darkness I experienced. That depression, a common occurrence in our world, but unique in my life, had birthed renewed appreciation for the light that is God's presence. I wished I had thanked God in the midst of it, if not for it, following Job's example...

"You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept
good from God, and not trouble?"
Job 2:10

I carefully rise from the couch, cradling Zachary's little head. His binky slips out of his mouth without incident, proving the deepness of his sleep. I realize as I begin to step toward the stairs that there is a soft, almost imperceptible glow in the room, a precursor to the dawn. I hadn't noticed the light before, but the darkness is no longer quite as heavy. I smile to myself, realizing that my depression had faded just as quietly, in tiny increments, bringing dawn in on tiptoe, until I could once more see the steps ahead of me.

I place the sleeping baby in his crib and head to my own room for an hour, perhaps two, of sleep. No matter. It has been a time of reflecting, of learning, of accepting the lessons brought by the darkness. Sleep comes peacefully, tenderly, and is welcomed.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze...
Do not be afraid
for I am with you...

Isaiah 43:2,5



  • How have the valleys in your life shaped your view of God? Your sense of gratitude?


  • Are you able to see God in the "darkness", or does it take time and hindsight to learn what God is trying to teach you?


  • What can you tell yourself in future dark times that will remind you that the light will come and you one day will be able to see God in your circumstances? Write yourself a note now to keep for when that time comes.



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9 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

Be blessed sweetie, thanks for this.

May 26, 2008 at 3:03 AM  
Blogger Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your heart.

May 26, 2008 at 5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The verses God shared through you have touched my heart.
As I ponder your words, I think about our prodigal daughter who just recently contacted us after 1.5 months of absence.
Do I know God is near?... YES!
Do I know He is with her? YES! She called us.
Do I TRUST in HIM and in the POWER of PRAY? ...YES!
But I was not always this close to HIM. Like you, I STOPPED, stood STILL, and listened... HE waited, reached out and EMBRACED me.
I have ALL I need and a super husband too!(It doesn't mean you don't worry, you don't cry, your don't rage about the situation... it just means you have someone who understands you agony and is there for you - He is there for you!)
Thank you for sharing and embracing God as you quietly embraced your little one. Marilyn

May 26, 2008 at 6:07 AM  
Blogger Chelsey said...

I have had my share of valley's over the last several years. I have had many moments of faith testing - as if I were barely holding on to this flimsy string that was blowing hard and fierce in the wind. Somehow I knew that even though I couldn't see what was at the end of that string, I had to keep holding on - no matter how hard the struggle. And then slowly, in His timing, I was able to reel that string in closer and closer until I came to the end and fully felt alive in His presence.

Sometimes I am fully aware of why I am walking through the darkness. Oftentimes, however, the clarity of why comes much later and still sometimes - not at all. I have learned to be ok with that, because I hold on to the promise that He is working out all things in my life for His Glory and that "He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it"!

May 26, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Christine,
This was a beautiful, heart-felt post. Thank you for sharing some of your journey with us. I love those verses in Isaiah and have cried out with them many times during difficult circumstances. They have brought me great comfort.

Hugs,
Julie

May 26, 2008 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

That was beautiful and brave Christine. I know we all feel like that sometimes. But God is constant, even when we are not.

May 26, 2008 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Mine has been a gradual warmth to the valley and seemingly dark seasons of this journey. The deeper I go with God, the less I fear them. I recognize them more quickly, and consequently have developed a "walk it through" perspective. And while I much prefer a mountaintop moment, I'm learning to cherish the closeness I feel with God in the valley. There's nothing like it...

finding the comfort of the Comforter in the darkness. He never leaves. He never forsakes. He always holds and he always loves.

Thus, I am learning (albeit a slow embrace) the secret of being content in all things.

peace~elaine

May 26, 2008 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Twinkle Mom said...

That is a very powerful reminder of God's love and comfort; I really enjoyed reading this post, particularly Isaiah 43:2,5.

We have an awesome God who even when we may not hear from Him, He's there ahead of us, preparing the way for us, protecting us, and guiding us.

May 26, 2008 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I know only too well the traps of depression and anxiety! Most of my life, I have dealt with one or both!
I will be on medication the rest of my life. It takes therapy, pills, family and my faith to get me through the worst! Thanks for your thought. Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

May 26, 2008 at 3:38 PM  

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