Confession time…I was scared of the dark for most of my life. Since I was a kid and up until my mid-twenties, I hated being alone in the dark. I would often watch my brother so that my mom could go to school and I hated the hour or so after I would put him to bed and was in charge of a quiet house. As I got older and moved out, I hated being at home alone and turning the lights out.
Maybe it was the fact that my car had been broken into on two occasions, or maybe it was just the weird noises that a house makes. But I would stay up until my body could not function any more and would have to force myself to sleep. I would rather watch those late night infomercials selling food dehydrators and magic hoses, than turn out the light.
This was true for most of my life, then the darkness changed but I was still afraid of it. I quit being afraid of the darkness, but went through a season of darkness in my life. My life was consumed by darkness entering my heart. My parents divorced and my father and I did not speak. I went from being a strong student to one that barely passed. I went through a rough relationship that damaged my sense of self-worth. I also probably did plenty of damage to others on my own. I have tried to apologize to any parties I might have hurt. If I missed someone, I pray the Lord eases their heart and heals the wounds that I inflicted.
I went from a place of fearing darkness to letting is abide in me. It took hold of me and I wanted to commit suicide on more than one instance. Depression is this darkness that entered my life. I still fight it to this day. I still battle the urge to see myself as less than worthy of love or belonging. I get wounded easily and the darkness can creep in from time to time.
After everything attacked me, I can safely say that the first thing that pierced the darkness and helped me to start down a different path was the Lord. He did not reveal Himself to me in some great moment of clarity, but rather through the people that continued to love me despite my shortcomings. These people included my family and a few close friends. They were not pastors or priests or preachers. They did not pray the darkness away, they simply loved me for me.
Through them, I found the strength to not take my life. I found something worth living for. Slowly through them, I started a journey that one day lead me to the foot of the cross. They did not disciple me or expect me to recite scripture, they simply asked me to seek the Lord. That is it. They reminded me to not give Satan a foothold in my life, or he would win and deceive me.
Fast forward to college and the darkness came back. I was once again primarily on my own. I was not a bad person, but the depression battles became more and more frequent. I graduated and life went on. I battled the darkness and tried to grow in my walk, but I was afraid of the dark. I was afraid of being nothing and being worthless. I needed to know I had value.
I would say this is when I finally met with the Lord. I wanted to meet Him on my terms, but we all know how that works. I actually hit the bottom. I found myself depressed and there He was. I did not have a mentor, nor did I have a close-knit group of believers to help me. I just had the promises I found in Scripture and a few books I was reading on the character of Christ. I read a book on how Christ desires a relationship with me and intimacy. That book stirred a spark in my life and sent me on a quest. To find the real Christ.
So I started a bible study on that very book. It became a new source of light in my life. For the first time, I felt like I was actually changing and revealing Christ to others. I hoped, I was. Through this study group, more light was found. I met my wife here. She loved to argue at times (or discuss with passion if you want to use those terms) but she was a light and she poured that light into my life. From there we got married and now have two kids. More light, more reasons to not fear the dark but rather to reveal the light.
I do not hide that I battled and still battle depression. I get down on myself and sometimes the darkness can creep in. But I have more and more light around me. I have more and more reasons to seek out the light with boldness and without fear. The Lord’s hand has been in it all and He is using it for His glory.
I never overcame the darkness, the Lord just moved enough light into my life so that I stopped being afraid. There is always hope if we can hold on for one more day and no matter what…He loves you!