As I sit here, trying to get my thoughts out, I’m struggling. Struggling because there’s so much hurt and darkness in our world. So many families are hurting. So many individuals are hurting. An acquaintance of mine, from Team RWB, posted today about how he failed because a friend of his committed suicide over the weekend. This acquaintance posts, every Wednesday, a Buddy Check status on Facebook. He wants anyone to know that he is here for them, if they are feeling hopeless and like they’re in a dark place. About 2 months ago, or so, Frank challenged others to also start posting Buddy Check as a status update. It hurts that he is hurting because he feels that he has failed his friend.
Earlier this week, I was having a conversation with someone about how when a person gets to a point where they are feeling hopeless and so dark, where they are desperate to end it all, they are only wanting the pain to stop. They’re not being selfish because they aren’t thinking of those around them whom they are affecting. They are in such a dark place, that the light is so dimly buried that they can’t see it.
When I was a teenager, I was super depressed. I didn’t know what it was I was going through at that point, but after years of therapy and looking back, I can identify my depression and anxiety. I have started to open up, more, in regards to my life and my struggles with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. There have been times in my past, especially as a teenager, where I was in a place so dark that I couldn’t see the light. However, I must have been able to see a very dim glow, because I am still here. I am writing. I’m thriving now, even in the midst of my challenges and dark days. While some days I’m just surviving, overall I am thriving. I am thriving in GOD’S grace (which is why I named my blog Thriving in God’s Grace).
Today during worship, Pastor Joe talked about the light. He quoted one of the speakers we heard at the D6 Conference in September.
Sometimes, when we get into those dark places – especially the really dark ones – we abandon the truth that we know in the light. I know that I have done just that. Two weeks ago, most recently, I hit a pretty dark place. Let me be perfectly clear, for me, suicide attempts are NOT an option. Sometimes though, I get in such a dark place, that I don’t really want to live. I want to wallow in bed and never get out. That sounds ludicrous for being someone who places her hope in Jesus. Jesus never promised us an easy life. Jesus never promised that our lives would be perfect. Yet, He provides the light in these dark times. We know that truth – in the light, yet when we hit those dark times, it can be so easy to forget it.
Sometimes, I have to hold onto the very small glimmer of truth in a whole lot of darkness. Jesus is that small glimmer. We’ve heard the footsteps poem before, where a person asked God where He was because all he saw was 1 set of footprints. God answered him, “That’s where I carried you.” There are times in my life where I can look back – times where I’ve asked God, where were you. Then God answers me by showing me where and how He’s carried me. It’s not always God being like the genie in a lamp. Sometimes, I’m convinced, His way of carrying me is through community. In some of my darkest times, it’s been the various communities I belong to that carry me through. I’ve lived and survived through so much. Someone recently commented that I should write a book about my life. Maybe one day I will.
John 1:9 (ESV) says, ” The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” Jesus is the light that John is referring to. Over the last few years, I have relied on the fact that Jesus is the light – that Jesus is MY light – to get through the dark times. Depression is ugly. Satan wants to keep me in that depressed state all the time. Then, the light shines through. Romans 8:28 (ESV) says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” My therapist has told me, on multiple occasions, that God never intended for all the crap that’s happened to me, to happen to me. There is real evil in the world. Satan tries to keep us down. But our God, being the awesome God that He is, can take the crap in my life, in any of our lives, and use it for good. All we have to do is keep an eye on the light.