When You Need Light in the Dark Places

I think I am depressed.

I’ve been here before. So maybe I recognize this place. It’s different. It’s the same.

But don’t worry, I know my way out of this twisting tunnel. I just walk towards the light.

It’s not like the scary hormonal roller coaster I rode into the valley after my son was born with high highs and low lows, unexpected dips and turns. It was a wild ride and I desperately wanted off. And it’s different from the dark weeks that followed my marriage falling apart, when I couldn’t eat or sleep or function because I focused every ounce of energy on forgiveness and love.

I can see now what I couldn’t see then and I can honestly thank God for those past broken places. Broken places heal stronger. And I can only hope one day in the future this will make sense to me.

It’s sort of like the first time I returned from Kenya:

I’m getting dressed and making dinner, folding clothes and allowing obscene amounts of Netflix in my house. I am functioning, but in a fog, filled with a deep, abiding sorrow and a heavy cloud hovering even on all the good in my life.

But I’ve learned in the valley when you’re face to face with grief and pain and change, God doesn’t always make sense.

Three years ago, when I stood on this filthy path and asked God how he could allow His people to suffer, He asked me the same thing.

common site in Kenya

I haven’t been the same since that day. It’s etched on my soul. I asked God to break my heart with what broke His, He has. Over and over. Sometimes it looks like a hopeless pregnant girl in the slum or a dirty baby sitting on a pile of trash. Sometimes it’s a heart attack or heartache.

And sometimes it’s both at the same time.

When Jesus looked over the city and had compassion on the people, he didn’t just love them, He suffered with them.

I’m beginning to understand what that kind of love looks like, that kind of compassion is about hurting with those who hurt.

I’ve never experienced more joy or more sorrow or felt more meaning to my life than I have in the past couple of years. I’ve never felt more alive or more desperate to touch His hem.

The darkness in our lives only makes Jesus shine brighter. Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

I believe we are created for two reasons: to fellowship with God and to bring Him glory.

I want to do both.

Even when neither make sense.

 


Comments

  1. says

    Isn’t it amazing how keeping our eyes focused on the light of Jesus can help us during dark times?!? Thank-you for sharing about some of your experiences. I also want to encourage those who need professional help to seek it. :) Bless you!

  2. says

    Praying for you tonight. Hugs.
    Thanks for letting us in so that we can battle for you on our knees.

    I am reading Jennie Allen’s book Anything right now, and you and your hubby have come to mind several times as I am reading along.

    Surrender is costly, but worth it.

  3. Janna says

    Thank you for this. Not just personal, but very challenging. God’s question to you, and your response of faith and humility. You have kept me accountable in the most encouraging way thru this post. God Bless you with an ever deepening connection with Him.

  4. says

    I remember the depression that came with returning home after a difficult two years overseas (conflict, etc). And I remember the depression when my son started weening (postpartum, I think). They were so different, such that it never occurred to me till afterwards that I might be suffering from postpartum depression that second time around. I remember the heaviness and inability to change how I felt… all my strategies for dealing with a bad day failed me. It was starting on some fertility med (clomid) that kicked me out of it, and made me realize it was probably postpartum depression (even though little boy was 9 months old then). I wish I’d bothered to seek help for that, though I’m thankful that the clomid worked so wonderfully on my moods. That is a bit strange to say.

    I’ll be praying for you.

    • says

      I was reading an email from a good friend who explained to me that PPD can begin as far as 9 months to a year out!!! It can also begin immediately after having your baby. As supermoms we are pushed to not stop, slow down, or admit that we need help. Yet Christ tells us to come to Him when we are weary and heavy laden (and call the doc!).

  5. Gwen says

    Prayers for you as you walk through this season. You are obviously in tune spiritually & physically with what you are dealing with. Please don’t hesitate to seek professional help. You are a remarkable young woman.

  6. Debra Stanley says

    Thanks for sharing!! This is truly a God send to me. I’m facing many things and obstacles that I find myself going in that dark place. I’ve been there before and do not want to return! I face something in life that I HAVE to conquer because God has called me to do it. I too want to glorify God in all I do….. if my results are good I will glorify him and if my results are bad I will glorify him and face the obstacle head on because HE IS WITH ME! Thanks for sharing from your heart!

  7. Anna s says

    I don’t really know where to begin……I can relate. We all can. Shattered dreams, unfulfilled longings, life – all of this deep pulsating pain and throbbing , I get so homesick for my eternal home. Sitting in a hospital ,day after day ,and it all adds up to three years of watching my baby go thru chemo. Yes, it takes its toll. Somedays I just survived. The sin doesn’t come from the depression… It comes when I yield to the temptation to blow out my candle in the middle of the dark tunnel. Just do the next thing….keep walking toward the light. There will be no empty words from me, I won’t be that person who says” just have more faith and it will get better” . Because truth be told, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. But Christ holds me, He is my breath. He is the lifter of my head . He is redeeming all things to himself . I have to believe this or I will just give up. Thanks for the transparency. May God in all His riches richly bless you with peace and unexpected delight and laughter.

  8. Kate says

    Thank you for opening up like this. I’ve been going through some similar things in my relationship with God this last year and I really thought I was beginning to lose my mind. I’ve never been so desperate to do the two things you mentioned, fellowship with Him and bring Him glory. It’s so simple. And He is so good.

  9. says

    Thank you so much for sharing your words. This brings me incredible hope for the future and what will happen when I can fully trust God and walk in His light always. Praying for you!

  10. says

    Hi there,
    I just stumbled across your blog and was immediately drawn to it after reading your “about” section. I am thankful for your abilty to be honest and open. I get ridiculed for this often…so it is refreshing to come across someone else who can be real! I too am a pastor’s wife and have experienced INCREDIBLE loneliness as a mom…and have just gone through my 2nd lost pregnancy. I hear you, I see you (although I don’t know you), and I am praying for you sister in Christ. You are not alone…standing with you tonight.

  11. says

    Thanks for sharing what is in your heart. Your faith is very inspirational to all. There are so many things that you said that everyone can relate to. I especially was moved by your statement, “Three years ago, when I stood on this filthy path and asked God how he could allow His people to suffer, He asked me the same thing.” !!! Wow!!
    Hugs, much love, and prayers to you.

  12. Pam says

    I’m a bit behind, but I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you. I have wondered about the misery & suffering that you see & how it affects you.You are such a blessing.

  13. says

    You are speaking my soul. I just got home last night from another trip back to the DR where we began our work on the future of the orphanage. I met my first set of orphans, and I sobbed uncontrollably all the way back to the hotel…and all throughout the next few days. On the plane ride home last night, I cried nearly half of it. My heart is broken. I sang the lyrics, “break my heart for what breaks yours,” and I understood it in a whole new way. I’m prepared now for what I call “P.M.S” (post mission trip syndrome), but wouldn’t want it any other way.

    I see just a glimpse of what God sees, I ache just a smidge of his ache… and while I know I can’t save them all, I know I can start with one.

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