Today, you will not want to miss this blog from my friend, Amy Garrett. Her story gives hope that there is joy on the other side of pain. I pray it blesses you today.
In the Darkness the Light will shine through....
Have you ever felt like you were in a dark place? Where you didn't know where to turn? It's like being in a maze where you couldn't see in front of you or behind you. Every turn seemed to be a dead end. You would trying to scream for help to remove the pain, the emptiness, and the fear of feeling alone, but no one ever came. Satan whispers into you ear and continues to tell you that where you belong is in the darkness; he continues to keep telling you over and over again that it's your fault, you're not enough, you're not loved, you didn't do enough to save them or whatever lie he chooses to tell you. You start to believe that's all you're ever going to be is worthless and unloved. For years, I believed those lies that Satan swirled around in my head.
After years of living in the darkness of my own self-pity, wallowing in it everyday just going through the motions to survive, I had had enough. I didn't want to be here anymore, but God had other plans for me.That day I fell to my knees and I started to cry; the only place to look was up, so that's what I did. I don't think I prayed that day, I just looked up at the sky and cried. It was as if my soul was being cleansed out. And in that moment, I could feel a presence that I have never felt before. It was surrounding me and pulled me up from the darkness into the light. I don't know how to explain it, it is something you have to experience for yourself.( I know now it was the Holy Spirit)
For years I've struggled with the feeling of being lost not knowing who I really was in this world or why I was here. It's like walking around in the maze, trying to find water, because I couldn't quench my thirst to get enough to satisfy me. (I have since realized that it was God that I was missing; He is the water I needed.) After the death of our daughter, I was angry, empty, self-conscious, and doubting myself with everything and everybody. I secluded myself within walls around me; and I wanted answers... I couldn't understand why or how my 8-year-old little girl could die so young. My marriage was in shambles. I couldn't function as a mother to my other children. I couldn't hold a friendship down... or a job. I was a TOTAL MESS!!!
A few years went by and we started going to a new church (thinking that may save our marriage and family) and our small group invited us to go to a marriage retreat. That is where we met Dale and Jena Forehand for the first time. As I listened to their story and they started speaking THE WORD, I once again felt the presence I felt that day I talked about earlier. Once again, it was like He took us both by the hand and walked us to the altar, and there, Jena and Dale prayed over us. That weekend changed my life forever. Since that day, I believe God has been preparing me, and is continuing to prepare me. For what, I am still not sure, but I am so excited and anticipating to see where He's leading me and who He will lead to me!!
I love how God shows up some days, places, thoughts, billboards, people, songs, etc where He speaks to us through them. Usually I don't understand what He is trying to tell me at first. It usually takes me about three times to either hear it or see it before I start digging deeper to see what God is trying to reveal to me. Still sometimes, it takes me a while to figure that out, but the Holy Spirit knows that about me! It comes with having an intimate relationship with Him, which has taken me many years to get ,and I have to walk in that relationship every single day. I still have days that I struggle with not feeling worthy enough, and some days I have to ask the Holy Spirit, "Are You sure You want me to do that? Isn't there someone better qualified for that?"
The truth is that God wants us to be obedient and faithful to Him to do what ever He asks of us. He knows us so intimately and what we are truly capable of doing. I have to keep reminding myself that He lives in me, so YES I'm worthy and capable of doing His work here on earth!!! I am a child of the most high God! I am a daughter of the chosen one! I am a princess that will sit at the right hand with Him one day!! I am one of His AMBASSADORS here on Earth and I am here to do His will as it is in the kingdom of heaven. We are to bring heaven to earth and to love others as He loves us. We are to go out and make disciples and spread His Good News.
I love how Jena put it in Laying the Groundwork chapter of the FREE Book: "we are a spiritual being in a fleshly body; not a fleshly body with a spiritual being." That is so good and it's something I have let marinate in my soul everyday since I read it. Since the marriage retreat 16 years ago, I have started praying and reading scripture. But mostly I love worship music. I feel the closest to the Holy Spirit through music. There is just something about sitting on my knees on the floor with my arms open wide and worshiping my Savior (just thinking about it makes me tear up now). To be able to release all of my burdens to Him is so freeing to think about.
What I have learned through my relationship with God through these years is that the darkness, or the valleys as some of us call it, is where spiritual growth happens. And in the suffering, you will experience transformation. It is where we are growing and stretching, spiritually maturing, and learning that God's Word is alive and moves all around us. Living in true intimacy with the Trinity crushes lies and deceit in our head that the devil wants us to believe. Even in the times we don't feel God moving, doesn't mean He is not. God is always moving and working and this is the time we should be resting in Him faithfully and obediently. For it's not our will to be done but His will to be done. As Jena talked about this in week 2, and when I read that chapter, it convicted me like a ton of bricks. I started to think about the times I try pressing my WILL instead of God's WILL into a situation and how I felt like I was running into brick walls. You start to become irritated and angry at people and it was not even their fault. You start to become tired and wore out and just want to give up. Why? Because it's not my WILL that needs to be done it's God's WILL. If I would have just allowed God to do His WILL, I would have been free to live an authentic abundant life in a loving and kind way .
I didn't want my daughter to die, but in her death, I developed spiritual growth in my heart to know Him intimately. In her fight, God was teaching me how to fight for others. God wanted me to see Him through her eyes so I can love others like He loves us. In her pain, God showed me my strength. There will never be a more intimate or rewarding relationship than my relationship I have with our Savior! Ladies, I hope you all get to experience that personal relationship and be truly free from all your yokes and leave your darkness to walk in the Light!!
Powerful. Thank you, Amy.