“The time has arrived—I mean right now!—when dead men and women will hear the voice of the Son of God and, hearing, will come alive.” – John 5:25 MSG
I have a deep fear that visits me almost every day. It’s dark and empty like the vast nothingness that I imagine Hell to be. It’s an old reality that threatens me with revisiting. It’s anxiety and I know how to keep it at bay.
But some people don’t. Some people recoil into a figurative fetal position and find anything that will tell them they’ll be okay. With adults, it could be a bottle of burning liquid, a dosage of pills that was never meant for them, or a warm body that they don’t even care about. They’re still the little kid under the thumb of human indecency and they’ve not learned to stand up to it. They’ve not learned to be okay in their own company.
Silence’s thoughts are the scary what-ifs that torment the soul into hiding. But silence is weaponless and it can’t take you captive on any level in any form. Solitude is a brutal prison for the tortured. But solitude can introduce you to yourself and teach you that not only are you worth knowing, you’re worth the fight. If you know you’re worth the fight, then you won’t damage yourself trying to keep what wants to walk away. You’ll be thankful for the clarity.
For the one sobbing and spent. You haven’t cried like this since you were little, when the pain first showed up. I know it hurts. I’ve been there. Many times. The cries of a child who still sobs even though he knows no one is coming to save him ring in my ears as though it’s still happening. I wish I could save him. The evil twist of cruelty is when the big sister has to hear the pain of her siblings in the middle of her own. Like children in a concentration camp. Her imagination can’t come close to the reality of what is happening in the spaces she can’t see.
You’re an adult now, but here you are again. Maybe you keep circling around to this place because He wants to redeem it. Maybe He wants to show you that you were never without Him. He was a pallbearer in the death of your light.
When my darkness comes calling, I raise my chin. When the thoughts threaten, I say, “So what?” There is only so much that life can do to you. I’ve been through much of it and I don’t want any more, but I refuse to let my days be stolen by my fear. I don’t remember my own giggles. I don’t remember my own twirl. He was the pallbearer in the death of my light, too. But He lets me use His. He’s my light now.
Stop using bandaids to do what only a surgeon can. This isn’t the playground. This is a war zone. Say goodbye to what you lost and stop trying to stick your limbs back on your bloody stumps. There is life for the wounded, but you have to acknowledge that you are wounded. There is no such thing as normal. Stop using someone else’s “normal” by measuring yourself against it. It’s an alien standard that will never apply to you.
No one can take away what happened to you, but you have a choice. You can accept it. It happened to you — pain that makes the spirit of the child long for the womb — yet you’re still here. You are not still under the thumb of cruelty. You’re not umbilically attached to the evil you endured.
You are stronger than you think you are. I know you’ve done things trying to heal yourself. Damaging things, trying to free yourself from the pain. The best and worst thing that ever happened to me was when I lost everything. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t have any friends left… It was awful and I couldn’t see any future. I was pissed off at myself for ruining my life. But I had this deep feeling that there was more for me. I knew I wasn’t trash, I just didn’t have any evidence.
I know you’re hurting and I don’t know where you are on your journey, but it is just a journey. You can do and be anything you want. It’s not dependent on anyone else. This is all you. I believe in you. I wish we were taught how to navigate life better than this, but my best lessons came when I had to rebuild.
You’re looking for something to keep you from slipping away into obscurity, and your Savior is standing right in front of you, asking for you to hand it over. Your pain is a gray-lipped child. Let Him redeem it as His.
It’s lonely, but you are never alone. There are some parts of our journey that we must walk without anyone else. Otherwise, we never become. It’s like cracking out of a shell or breaking through a cocoon. It’s personal, and this grand design was made with you in mind. Like a new mother in labor, you are strong enough, but you have to push.
You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.– 1 Peter 5:9-11 MSG