At times, it appears my fire has burned out. The weight of my circumstances has snuffed it out completely and only darkness remains. Smoke circles me like a an unwanted fog, hindering my clear view, choking me, and confusing matters. Defeat has become my captor.
But then I feel it, hard to notice at first—the warmth of a tiny cinder, holding on, refusing to go out. The tiniest of lights, still burning at the core of my being, begging to be reborn. Begging to thrive.
And I find myself wanting to, needing to, stoke that spark. There is a fierceness behind my desire to turn that small soul-burning speck of fire into a light bright enough for the world to see. I was not made to be dim.
But how do I do it?
Am I qualified to do such a thing?
Maybe I’m not qualified. Doing it alone leaves me lost in the gray, seeking refuge but instead finding weakness, insecurity, and frustration. The dark is too much to bear alone, and I find myself sinking, deeper into sorrow and uncertainty when no hand reaches to pull me out.
Even the support of friends and family, kind words and encouragement, are not enough, alone, to feed the flame. I need something more. I need something to fill this void and help me rise from the ashes like a Phoenix.
As I embrace my inabilities and acknowledge my need to be lifted from the pit and carried a while, I find strength. Not in myself, but in the One who is an ever present light in even the darkest of places. The only One who can truly free me from the overcast seasons of life. He is the Light of the World and a constant guide, if only I choose to turn to Him and say “Here I am”.
See, for any flame to grow to its potential, it needs fuel. Of that I am certain. It needs kindling and care. And I don’t inherently possess what is needed.
So I must surrender, ask for guidance, and trust that i will be given all that is needed for my passions to re-ignite. To burn again as before or to burn anew, revealing fresh passions to explore.
Today I renew my commitment of turning my life over to Him. I ask forgiveness for looking down in defeat, when all I needed to do was look up.
I pray today that the Holy Spirit will fill me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I ask forgiveness for searching for my worth in others. For seeking validation from others. For losing sight of who I already am as a child of God. I renew my faith in His goodness, even in hard times.
I pray that to my faith will be added goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness.
The tools lie before me. My restored determination will reach up from the depths to wield them with a quiet resilience, strengthening the light within me until it burns brightly again.
Maybe even brighter than it did before these attempts to extinguish it, because once one has lived in the darkness, there is much joy in experiencing the light. And I believe the more darkness we endure, the greater our capacity is to shine.
I do struggle with thoughts like “but I had come so far! How am I back at the foot of this same mountain, having to climb it all again? It just isn’t fair!”
Still, I feel certain there is something to be gained from the climb. No matter how many times I sink back down and feel like I’m drowning in the gray, I know the greatest thing I can do is to reinforce my belief that God takes broken things and makes them beautiful, and to accept that I don’t have to be perfect. God uses the broken, so maybe being broken, at times, isn’t such a bad place to be.
I hope that my rekindled light will shine on those who feel these same feelings and need encouragement. On those who feel lost and hopeless and stressed and unsure and like they can’t get out of the hamster’s wheel. On those who have had a beloved vision for life, only to have it flipped turned upside-down by things beyond their control. On those who need reassurance that good can come from the bad.
The truth is we all struggle. With different things, certainly, but we all have our dark clouds at times. Any good story has conflict. What we choose to do with it is what shapes us.
I don’t always make the best choices. Sometimes it is easier to accept the dark and hide there in a perceived hole of safety, but that’s not living the life God intended for me here on this earth. I am meant to do more than just survive. We all are. In Him we can see it all realized.
So I ultimately choose to walk the path of the Lord’s Will. I choose a life of faith. The good news is no matter who you are, not a single person has to endure the darkness alone.
Just say, “Here I am, Lord.”
3 thoughts on “Out of the Darkness”
Leanna, you are such a beautiful writer. I’m a retired teacher of 40 years, and I think you could have a career as a writer. As a childhood friend of your mother, I have been on the sidelines praying for you, and I know that God answers prayers. You and your family will continue being in my prayers for a recovery from your pain. Remember your many blessings such as your family, and try to focus on why God wants you to be here with them. I pray that your doctors will be guided by our merciful God to heal you. If you get a chance to watch “Breaking Through,” you and your family will find it very inspirational. God bless you and yours. Kay
As usual your beautiful soul springs forth wisdom eternal in your recent Fairly Grounded essay “Out of the Darkness.” I’ve been struggling with a deep turn of darkness since my darling wife of forty years passed away in late July. Susan was stricken with a massive abdominal infection for which there was no acceptable medical recourse.
After reading your outstanding piece I wish my sense of faith was as strong as yours is.
My struggle with the Darkness of Susan’s death is a daily evolution with progressive intensity on Fridays, the day she died. I don’t know if I will ever find the light to deal with it. But reading your essays is always a tremendous help. I respect and appreciate your unique experience and insight to so many situations that challenge the Human Experience and Human Condition.
Reading Out of the Darkness brings this inspiring quote to mind:
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir (1898-1978) Israeli teacher, kibbutznik, politician and the fourth Prime Minister of Israel.
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LeAnna, Your “Out of Darkness” writing is a testimony of your daily faith in God. We are praying for you to have successful surgery and for you to have relief from your pain. “Here I am Lord.” Love you