guiding lights.

Sometimes you need the darkness to remind you of how even just one light, one candle can illuminate your way.

I’m not sure where you find your light. Maybe it is the small spark of a dream, a goal that you keep striving towards. Maybe it is the person you love the most, and the light in their eyes that guides you when things get dark and the road gets long. Maybe it is a family member, a song, a passion. Maybe it is someone else’s words that resound so deeply with your heart. Maybe it’s even the simplest things, sunny days, the perfect cup of coffee, a smile from a stranger.

But whatever it is, wherever you find light, don’t lose sight of it. Don’t forget that it is there.

I have experienced my fair share of darkness. Depression is something that I have wrestled with for a while – and I still struggle with it every day. And these last few months I have been wading through the aftermath of losing someone I loved. There have been days where it felt as though the darkness was going to consume me. There have been days where it has taken every bit of strength and will power to get out of bed. There have been days where it felt like i was alone. There have been days where the pain and grief felt overwhelming.

I have seen darkness, but I have seen light that has chased away the darkness. I have seen light that reminds me that I am never alone. I have seen light so bright that it was nearly blinding.

I have found light in different things, different people, different words. I have found light in the hope I have in Christ, that because He overcame the world, I can overcome the darkness that I face. I have found light in the relationships I have, and the people that are present in my life. I have found light in words of others, who have experienced their own darkness. And when the darkness comes, when the fear sets in, I search for the light. I chase after it with all that I am. Because I have promised myself that I will no longer let the fear of the dark dictate my life. I have resolved to always, always look for the light even when it seems impossible. Because even the faintest light can guide me when the path darkens. Even the smallest candle me illuminate my way.

In seeking the light, I have found that my life, my story, my words can bring light to others. I have discovered that I can be that light for someone else.

And this is why I write, this is why I share my story. Partly because it brings healing to me. But mostly because I have found that my words have power. The things that I have struggled through and overcome have a purpose. And that purpose is to bring hope to others, to bring light to those struggling with the same darkness.

Last weekend, I got the opportunity to share a piece of my story while on choir tour. I stood up in front of around 100 students, and I opened up my heart to them. I told them about losing my best friend. I told them about the darkness that the weight of grief and loss has brought into my life. I told them about the nights that I felt so alone, the nights I cried myself to sleep. I told them that it still hurts… I’m still healing, and I’m still walking through this dark time. I told them that even though that sometimes hurt and pain can come into our lives, we can still find healing and we can still find purpose. I told them that there is still light. There is still hope. There is still good to be found. It’s found in the people surrounding you, in the songs that express how you’re feeling, in the words of someone who has gone before you, in the love of God and His faithfulness. And I desperately hope that the things that I said brought healing to someone who heard. Even if it was one person… I hope they saw the light that I carry.

What have you overcome? What stories do you have to tell, of trial and triumph? What hurt has turned to healing? What has roads have you walked, what storms have you weathered?

Don’t be silent about your struggles or your story. Don’t be quiet about your fears, about your hopes, about your dreams. Don’t hide the trials you have overcome. Hold them high, like a brilliant, burning candle. Hold it for everyone to see. You just might be someone else’s light, cutting through the darkness and guiding them home.

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