My tango with Darkness
I was that church girl. I grew up around the Christianese world and always felt that I was born on the right path. My family was Christian and we went to church every Sunday. I was told to pray for every meal and every night before bed my dad would read the bible and we each would pray. I had no doubt. I was that church girl.
Until of course my naive little world got shattered. Basically to cut a long story short, my parents marriage began to disintegrate rapidly, which ended in a messy divorce a couple of years later. While this was the catalyst to finding personal faith, it was by no means the end. My own journey then became messy as I now struggled through the big bad world, feeling alone and lost.
In this bitter time, my faith became real to me, because it literally felt like God was the only one who was there for me. While this was great, I was also fairly misguided in the sense that, my relationship with God became very emotional and my spiritual journey was filled with elaborate highs, and depressing lows.
I finally thought I started getting it together during my final year at high school, until college happened. From there on forward, it was a slow downward spiral leading me to a valley of death. Well, that’s what my experience felt like anyways.
I call it my tango with darkness because darkness is the only way I can describe the place I found myself in. It was a terrible cycle of bitterness and self loathing, hopelessness and disobedience. The more I failed at being Christian (I felt like I had a big “F” in my forehead) the further I would drift into darkness, the further I drifted, the more I felt like a failure.
The confidence I felt as a child and pre-teen faded completely, I was a mess and I felt that God had made a mistake. I felt that once you reject God, there was no going back. I was convinced that I was doomed.
I usually describe my darkest hour as me laying on a hospital bed dying. You know, those dramatic scenes where they rush with the crash cart and revive the person. That’s what God did for me.
Meet Ephesians chapter 2
2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
(emphasis added by me)
Captivated by Light
Like any person in captivity, I cried out to be free with all my heart. In reality I looked happy, but the person I had become was a dead person walking, and I was drowning in my brokenness. My guilt and shame created a monster of hopelessness, which began swallowing me piece by piece and most of all I think I was consumed by the fear that the great God who judges all would smite me to dust. Seriously.
But then, BAM! Ephesians chapter 2.
He said, “Toni!! WAKE UP! get out of there. REPENT. turn from your wicked ways. I HAVE MADE YOU ALIVE!!”
That was all I needed, a fragment of hope. I needed Him to reach down to me and pick me up and do something in my heart and spirit that I couldn’t do myself. The very words I read became a light, a revelation, and a lifeline.
I repented. But guess what? I still felt like I was sinking in guilt. I said, “GOD!! If you are real, do something! I cant do this by myself. YOU have to do it for me. Change my life. Please?!”
God said: “Toni!! Hear me and hear me well!! Even though you were dead, I AM He who is rich in mercy”
He kept pursuing me. He kept reminding me of Truth.
Eventually I said, “Ok”.
I decided to trust Him.
It was God’s choice to save me, It was my choice to believe. He chose to give me another chance, I chose to accept the hope He offered me. As hard as it was, I had to get up, dust my self off and FIGHT like I had never fought before.
This was the fight of my life.
My God said, “13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2v13)
which to me said, though you have fallen short like all of humanity, “come boldly to the thrown of grace” (Heb 4v16)
As if in a dark room with just a sliver of light shining through a slightly open door. I ran. Ran towards the Light. Though the grips of darkness held tightly, my gaze upon the Light was determined. I wasn’t willing to die. Not in a hopeless state anyways.
I had known Light before. We married. I cheated. But Light never stopped fighting for our love. His covenant solid, my commitment shaky, but both our hearts were sure.
The “exceeding riches of grace” which He gave as a free gift, strengthened me. I had to fight.
Today, I am happy to say that I am not the same person.
My journey continues still.