Life lessons from an ordinary girl with a lot to say about the life God's given her before and AFTER triple negative breast cancer. I'm pretty much a simple book worm, a wallflower and a nerdy girl who grew up to marry the love of her life, fought the beast and by God's grace raised two amazing young men.
In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!
"And at last I see the light, and it's like the fog has lifted." ~ Tangled
As children we're afraid of the dark, at least I was anyway. Growing up an only child I didn't share a room with anyone. It was just me, and the quiet of my room filled with toys, stuffed animals and dolls surrounding me. As you can imagine, my imagination sometimes got the better of me. After I brushed my teeth, put on my Strawberry Shortcake night gown or dare I say Wonder Woman underroos I'd grab my favorite stuffed animals and dolls and climb into bed ready for goodnight kisses and prayers. Before my mama and daddy could leave, they'd check and recheck under my bed, above my canopy and inside the closet for all those mysterious monsters I was convinced were ready to pounce once the lights went off. OK so full disclosure, till this day I can't sleep without the bathroom and closet doors in our bedroom closed. I know, silly right? I absolutely understand that nothing is going to jump out from behind those doors, and yet I can't quite fall asleep until both doors have been shut. I guess it's just a hold over from my wild and sometimes untamed childhood imagination. Plato said once, "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."` As a child my parents understood my fears of the dark and never made me feel undeserving. As a I became a young woman, I embraced the light and my fears of the dark faded as I learned to face the darkness without alarm.
I think as children, we just found the dark overwhelming. Once the lights were turned out we were ready to hide under the covers, peeking around just enough to catch a glimpse of the monsters under the bed as they materialize. We knew they were there, or at least our imagination did that's for sure. So much so we'd convince ourselves we needed a night light on, maybe even two. It's much the same for us in life, especially as we face times of spiritual darkness, facing difficulties and complications. Pitfalls are everywhere it seems when you're fumbling around in the dark. Obstacles come one after another and stumbling blocks are a dime a dozen as we become adults. Once the light has been doused, our hopes become obscure and our dreams begin to fade into nightmares. As we get older our night light grows smaller. Our lives begin to take on more stress, strain, anxiety and ultimately the weight of the world. Suddenly the real faces of those monsters under our beds are revealed in the wake of our uneasiness and angst. Much as Meredith Gray explains on Gray's Anatomy, we begin to understand, "When you're little, night time is scary because there are monsters hiding right under the bed. When you get older, the monsters under the bed are different - self doubt, loneliness, regret - and though you may be older and wiser, you still find yourself scared of the dark."
The dark can be pretty scary if not an exceptionally intimidating place. Waiting for the dawn to break can be almost unbearable. Sleeping exposed under a dark, starless sky can be down right frightening, hair-raising and eerie. Those monsters under our childhood beds have surfaced and with no shame about showing their faces either. I will admit it's absolutely eerie and spine-chilling. The hope I have, especially as a believer in Christ, is this: "Even the darkest night will end and the Son will rise." I may have to face the shadows and every scary, dark monster hiding under my bed but I will never have to go toe to toe with a single one alone. I may certainly not like the idea of sleeping in the dark but I know without a doubt the darkness will lift. I am confident in the One who walks with me. The One who died and rose again, faced the monsters of the night and on the third day tore through that same darkness, piercing it by His blinding light. What I have come to realize about the dark is it's not there to break me, but to strengthen and ultimately enlighten me. See,"when you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings."
Personally my life has been a constant struggle. My wings have absolutely grown under the cover of darkness. I've most definitely lived through the night, hiding from monsters more times than I'd like to count. I've spent the night more often than not with nothing more than a pocket size flashlight running around my room, up and over and across my bed in an attempt to get away from those monsters taking residence under my bed. In those moments when I'm simply dog-tired I call out to Jesus. He's my light in the darkness and it is He who not chases the monsters away but banishes them too. When I'm at the point I'm most fearful I find my heart at peace, raising my voice in praise singing out, "Lord, enlighten what's dark in me. Strengthen what's weak in me. Mend what's broken in me. Bind what's bruised in me and lastly revive whatever peace and love has died in me." The truth is I've fought a good many battles under the cover of darkness. Some have been physical and others have been emotionally charged with pain. I've fought off the fear of death, felt the searing agony of rejection, grappled with the ghost pains left behind in the absence of a breast. I've walked into rooms completely devoid of light and slept under the darkest skies. Fear has crept up behind me, scratched at my back while demons danced all around me rushing out from unseen doors. The reality is we all live in a world lacking light, full of evil, manipulators, wrong doers, and wolves in sheep's clothing. We could hide and cover our eyes and fear the darkness and truthfully we have every reason to be angry, resentful and afraid about it. The battles going on all around our lives, spiritually, emotionally and physically can be downright exhausting but then again maybe if we embrace the darkness the light will shine brighter inside of us. Al Carraway clearly gets this, and reminds us in his own words why we no longer have to fear the monsters hiding under the bed. "Maybe that's what I love most about the gospel, not that it prevents us from the blows of life but that we can feel an incredible amount of peace and love in every dark moment."
I hope you, my friends and family know I'm writing today's post not just to share my faith and my heart with you but also to remind myself the darkness will indeed vanish. Life Lesson #158 ~ Lifting the Darkness simply reminds each of us, "The broken will always be able to love harder than most. Once you've been in the dark, you learn to appreciate everything that shines." And that is the truth. Deep down in my heart I know I am secure and confident in my faith. Do I question why I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere in the dark sometimes? You bet I do. There are times I can even be heard yelling and screaming out to God, frustrated in my circumstances. I'm not perfect and I've never claimed to be. Neither am I always patient, that's for sure. I can be irrational and agitated, and quite frankly annoyed with where I am at times. But what I love about this personal relationship with God is that I can talk to Him just as I do with those I'm closest with. We may not always agree but just like my best friends, my husband and my parents usually know me better than I know myself so does God. And what's so comforting about the relationship I have with my Father is He's always patient with me regardless of my attitude or if I'm a little too scared of the dark. John 1:5 so clearly encourages us, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." So today, be encouraged, especially if you're feeling you're facing the dark and all those terrible, miserable monsters under the bed alone. Take heart, you aren't I promise you.
"Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise." ~ Les Miseralables