It’s been a over a month now. One very long month since the shadows began to fall on us. Since the darkness pressed in and we began the fight to save our family. The fight to be who God created us to be.
The shadows fell, and we have never fought the darkness like we have this past month.
But we have never seen the Light shine so brightly either.
The darkness has been so real- and I will not lie, I have crumpled in fear more than once. I stopped eating, stopped sleeping- lived wide-eyed and scared-to-death, and when it was time to stand and face the enemy, I shook with fear and didn’t think I could do it. I mean stand. I just didn’t think I could stand.
Yet that’s the thing about shadows.
Standing in the shadow you feel like you might be overcome by darkness and you weaken. But the truth is there is no shadow if there is not still the presence of light. There must be light to cast a shadow. And the whole Truth is that we cannot be overcome by darkness. We can.not. We are “hidden with Christ in God” and there is no power that can separate us from his love; and where His love is there is Light. Always the Light.
When I thought I couldn’t stand that day they took a piece of me away- there was the Light. Shining brightly on that Saturday morning, gathered together to lift up one of their own. The light of Christ, shining so brightly through his Bride, the Church. It was the Church being who God intended her to be, and it was beautiful… so beautiful.
There she was, pushing back the darkness in that place just because she was there that day. And in every day since.
Shadows being pushed back by the Light. One minute we are accused and slandered and knocked down and the next You are on my doorstep with a meal… and You are mowing our lawn… and You are opening your home to our precious son. You are here at 7 am, and You are here at 7 pm. (Once I even called You at 2 am, and You came quickly).
One minute we are starting to believe those lies and the next you are reminding us who we really are, Whose we are- and telling the Truth over and over until we remember to keep believing.
One minute we are overcome with fear and overwhelmed by the darkness and the next You are surrounding us with prayer… and You are feeling our pain and You are not afraid to cry or to hurt with us or Hope for us.
Every time we turn around, there You are.
And the lines are blurred, for there HE is- just so very near to us, because You are. You are present at every turn- so many of You. And where You are, there He is. Such that we are always reminded when tempted to doubt- He is near. So very near. We are not forsaken and we are more than conquerors… only because He is near.
It is said that they will know we are Christians by the way we Love one another. Church, with an unbelieving world watching, You have loved so well. You’ve let Jesus love through you, and we knew it was Him. And oh how we pray they will know, too. I just have to believe that Jesus is so pleased. Just so proud of His people and how they have rallied to love our family and hold us up in this time. I have never ever been so proud to be a part of the Church.
It’s also said that the Church is the Bride of Christ and I think I get it now. Because the Bride and the One to whom she is wed- they are one, yes? So when it was hard for me to pray or to think clearly enough to read the Word, I thought “How will I keep near to God, hear Him, see Him in this dark place if I cannot do well these things that have always connected me to Him?” But He came to me. I guess that’s Grace… and wonder why I ever thought my efforts were what brought us together anyway. In grace, He came- through You, His bride.
You haven’t seen me in six years at least but You drove two hours to be there that day, and you put that bracelet on my arm and I couldn’t really speak. You are a few hundred miles away but you wrote that letter, the one You said you cried while writing- and I cried, too, at those redemptive words you wrote.
You fasted. You prayed. You came. You cried. You loved. You embraced. You believed. You served. You worshipped with us in our back yard. And through You we saw Him. Always there.
What a beautiful display of the Oneness of Christ with His Church, His Bride!
Tonight I write about the Church, because that is how I best see God right now. Yet I know in coming days and months, the layers will peel back and we will see the hand of God all over this situation in so many different ways. What the enemy intended for harm, will only serve to bring glory to our Lord in the end. We will never be the same, because we will have gone into the shadows and emerged with a greater knowledge of the Light… maybe (oh, let it be so) even a greater capacity for the Light? And the Truth is that it will have been worth it- all of this… just to know Him more.
Encouraged by these words tonight---
“And I cry, because I do not feel courageous. I feel downright defeated sometimes. Maybe courage is not at all about the absence of fear but about obedience even when we are afraid. Courage is trusting when we don’t know what is next, leaning into the hard and knowing that it will be hard, but more, God will be near. Maybe bravery is just looking fear in the face and telling it that is does not win because I have known The Lord here. I have known The Lord in the long, dark night.”
Katie Davis (kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com)
Tonight after I wrote this, I heard this song for the first time. So I thought I’d share it here because it says it all so perfectly. Thank you for rising up.