There’s a girl you know, or maybe just know of. She used to be happy. Joyful. Cheerful. Always smiling. But something has changed. She’s been told her smile isn’t as bright….that it doesn’t reach her eyes anymore. If you’re close to her, you might know why, or you might just wonder why but don’t want to ask. You’ve watched her change right before your eyes. You watched as she began to laugh less. And smile less. You watched as she lost her song. She has been asked about…..and talked about. She’s been questioned on whether she has lost her faith. On whether she has been faithful to read His word regularly, to seek Him in all things, to pray. The answer is NO. She hasn’t lost her faith. It’s the one thing she clings to….the one thing that keeps her going. The answer is YES….she kept seeking Him, turning to His Word, and praying even though she has felt those prayers kept bouncing back at her. She’s had to. She doesn’t know how else to live. Her faith is as real to her as the air she breathes….she doesn’t know how to live without it and doesn’t want to, doesn’t know how NOT to pray….sometimes she lacked the words, often times it was just crying out His name and knowing that He could see her heart and hear the words she couldn’t find. She’s been filled with confusion and hurt. With PAIN. She has been mad at God….YES, mad. She has questioned Him, has cried out to Him, has yelled at Him….but she hasn’t turned away from Him. She knows that He’s a big God and can take it…that He knows her heart and her hurt, that He can handle her emotions….that if there’s anyone it’s safe to be REAL with….it’s Him.
She’s felt like just a shadow of her former self….and the changes in her, her visible descent, began long before it showed. You never knew what lied underneath her laugh and her smile….but there was something there before they were gone. She’s been on a journey so painful, it’s threatened to do her in. She’s been stuck in a realm of confusion and indecision, of a 2 steps forward, 3 steps back process of awakening and enlightenment that left her in a holding pattern, hovering over which direction to take to break out of it….feeling so close to reaching bottom but never actually touching down. Her closest friends have wanted to push her, prod her, somehow get her moving….hurting as they watched her hurt and feeling helpless. It wasn’t something they could do for her….she had to do it herself. And she couldn’t. Not until she knew for sure…..and she couldn’t find a way to know for sure. It took something coming into her life, briefly and completely unexpectedly….something she never imagined would be there….to break her holding pattern and cause her to make the final descent to the depths that were bottom. To shake her up completely, to just give out in every way….to cause her to see what was happening to her….to the person she had once been, and would continue to happen if she didn’t come out of her fog.
That emotional bottom is paralyzingly dark….so dark, you wonder if you’re going to stop breathing and have to force yourself at times not to. Days of functioning just enough to get the basics done….because life goes on whether you’re up to it or not…. while the tears won’t stop and the burning, clenching ache in your throat, your chest, your stomach just won’t let up. She spent sleepless nights curled up around that ache….spent sobbing into her pillow, crying out desperately for the Lord to just SHOW UP….pleading for Him to turn His face towards her again, begging for His deliverance, for His clarity and firm direction on what to do, for Him to reach out and lift her up out of this pit of confusion, to finally hear His voice again. And in those darkest hours, while her children are sleeping and all is quiet….everything she’s lived, every painful memory, every hurtful word and glare and experience….every bruise on her body and soul is relived in excruciating detail and she can’t make her brain stop thinking. She can’t hear His voice no matter what she does, no matter how her heart longs to. She reaches an exhaustion she didn’t know it was possible to live through. And then….in the darkest of nights, the voice of the One to whom she had sought and the music she kept playing but couldn’t hear….slowly began to speak. Through the darkest of the dark, He came. It was just the faintest glimmer, like the hesitant glimmer of the most distant star breaking through the clouds on the stormiest of nights….but it was there. And she clung to it. All night long. And when daybreak came, she still couldn’t see that path laying out before her, brightly illuminated so that she could see days ahead or months ahead or the clearing on the other side. But she saw a stepping stone. Just one. And it was clearer than clear in which direction she should go to find her way to the dawn.
She’s still afraid to write it. She’s afraid to click that “publish” button that will mark the beginning. It’s hard….and it’s going to hurt. But she’s already hurt more than anyone ever should and knows that in this hurt, this surrender to doing something so hard but knows she’s called to do…lies a step to that healing she’s desperate for. It leads to another stepping stone and to that clearing along the path that she can’t see.
Not yet, anyway. But she believes it’s there, she KNOWS it is…..beyond her vision, but not beyond His. Her vision is dark….but His.....HIS vision leads out of the darkness and into the dawn.