the darkened path

 Without the light of His word, the my path darkens...

a strong line of storms came through a few weeks ago.  it was predicted days in advance but because we live in an area with underground utilities, the power rarely goes out... until lightning strikes a transformer.  and then you wake up in the middle of the night sensing something is wrong.  it's eerily quiet.  you're all alone.  in total darkness.  completely unprepared.  blindly feeling your way through a home that was once familiar.

yea...  life's like that. 

in the ebb and flow of this walk - and this life - i often, all too often, lose sight of the path that God has set me on.  quite frankly, some days, all too many days, i don't want to be on the path He has set me on.  it isn't what i would've chosen for myself.  in fact, it is - all too often - in direct opposition of what i want for my life in the present.  and yet each time i turn from it, He is faithful to bring me back.  over and over.  and over again.  and i am learning that this, this path and this life, is about so much more than patience and perseverance and even obedience.  it is about total, complete and utter dependence on Him.  His Spirit.  His Word.

Ann Voskamp writes, "without the lens of His word, the world warps" and i resound in a similar vein that without the light of his word, the my path darkens...

storms of life, predictable as they are, inevitably come and unlike like a real storm, you know, with a real power outage that sends me rushing to find the the way to the candles and matches or a flashlight - the proverbial storm, whether plowing through my heart or head, paralyzes me.  in the darkness. sometimes for days. and i find myself unable, if not unwilling, to turn to the only source of light and the only one whom the wind and the waves obey (Mt. 8:27). 

only silence.  only darkness.

the very same silence and darkness the psalmist wrote about in Psalm 39:  "I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse."  and in Psalm 32:  "When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.  Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.  My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.  Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.  I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”  And you forgave me!  All my guilt is gone."

and just like that, the light meets the dark.  power restored.  the path transforms before my eyes as my heart transforms within me, conforming my steps - and my desire - to walk with Him.  always.  only with Him. 

and just like that, i write.  more.  again.  my story.  bits and pieces of grace.  tattered and torn by my own inconsistency and woven together by His grace.  His mercy.  four years ago i sat, head buried in hands against the kitchen table, sobbing that i was unworthy of this calling - and of His constant pursuit of me.  it took a long time to realize that yes, even in my unworthiness, He is worthy of my everything.  His words heal, slowly mending the gaps.  and I'm reminded that it is here, right here, in the midst of my own messy story, He meets me....        
"It is in story, we meet the Spirit of God. The reader meets the Spirit of God in the reading of story — the word made flesh in your life. The writer, you, meets the Spirit of God in the writing your story – the word made flesh in your own life.
The Word God wastes nothing and He heals two broken hearts with one story – the reader and the writer
Us who are fighting for joy from behind the laundry heap and in the trenches with the crying kids and with the bruised marriages and the crushing debts and the battered, frayed dreams, and we. Don’t. want. To. Get. Out. Of. Bed — we need your messy, real, authentic, unmasked stories.
And you who are fallen and broken and scraped– you need your messy, real, ugly stories. Because in the hands of the Spirit, story becomes a salve to the skinned souls. 
The first person that any words ever heal — is the writer of those words.

Because our words aren’t wholly our words. 
They are from the Word God Himself."
Ann Voskamp 
Amen, Ann.  Amen. 

"Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!
 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!"
Psalm 119:5-8 (NLT)


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