Here’s a piece I wrote a few years ago after a long season of darkness. I fell off the earth and three months slipped through my fingers like water. I tried to go back and recapture those months, only to fall into the darkness again. In the middle of that darkness, I found Ann Voskamp and her book 1000 Gifts and learned the importance of counting gifts. This became the beacon of hope for me.
I may or may not continue to recapture the last three months. I tried and ended up on the edge again; at the gaping hole of darkness. If I pick it back up, it probably won’t take the form of recitation. Maybe it’s a shame that I didn’t capture it then. But if I do go back to it, it will be with the lenses of thankfulness, lenses of the gospel and what the Lord has done, what He’s doing and where He’s brought me. And He brought me. Through a long, dark valley I can only hope is over. Pain, hopelessness, suffocating darkness, fear. But there were these people who looked at those things head on and said, “You’re not allowed to do this alone. We won’t let you.” They spoke truth and hope when truth and hope seemed like myths.
Why was I so surprised by the darkness? By suffering? Don’t all good stories contain an element of suffering? If the Lord is the author and perfecter of my faith, the Master Storyteller, how can I question suffering? And how can I persist in anxiety, fear, worry and depression? A good storyteller never leaves out the pain and hardness of his story. The story would be boring without it and I don’t want a boring story. The story He’s writing’s got to better than anything I could write.
What do I do? How do I let Him write the story—the one that includes suffering and darkness and pain? I’ve learned a new word. One that I think holds the key. Eucharisteo. Giving thanks. Practicing gratitude. Counting gifts—out loud and on paper. Numbering them one by one. One day of gift hunting—finding even the little ones—grandma’s quilt hanging on the line, the littlest boy turning back to blow kisses, kneading bread dough, the first lightning bug—and the full force of this truth burned into me. See, there’s this God. And He loves me. And He takes ugly things and makes them beautiful. And from darkness He calls forth light. Eucharisteo—even the hard ones—darkness and depression, worry and anxiety. If He’s brought me to this place of light from darkness in three months, how can I not trust the story He’s writing? And this is when I know. The head truth has finally become heart truth. He loves me. I’m His daughter. Praise be.