Painters often use dark colors to emphasis lighter tones in a scene, allowing the contrast to draw our eye to the most important part of the painting. A writer uses crisis and conflict to build tension in a story; when the resolution comes the reader experiences joy and relief. At times our heavenly Father uses dark tones as He paints the portrait of our lives. This is my story. This is how God took me from wailing to dancing and from sackcloth to joy.
Like most of us, I’ve had “blue days” when my heart and mind were in a low place, but they usually came and went and I rode them out like waves at the beach. But when a tsunami of anxiety and depression hit me and knocked me off my feet, there was no riding it out; this was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. The constant bombardment of hopelessness, anxiety, and despair never left me. Almost daily, I battled thoughts of ending my life to stop the mental torment. There was nothing I could do to help myself. There was no shaking it off and no bootstraps to pull myself up by—and even if there were, I didn’t have the strength to grab hold of them.
So how did I go from hopelessness to standing here with the sun shining on my face; to once again pursue my dreams and find joy in my life? Only God. “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2). I was indeed in a deep and horrible pit, but the Lord rescued me. He spoke tenderly to my heart from His Word. He listened as I poured out all my emotions to Him. Often I simply sat quietly in His presence, His love and compassion enveloping me. Slowly but surely, light began to dawn in the darkness and joy took root in my heart like a tiny seed stretching itself toward the sun.
Why am I letting you see this side of my life? Because someone is struggling today just as I struggled then. Someone is in a deep, dark pit of despair, on the verge of giving up. I want you to know beloved, there is hope and joy for you—because God is for you. He rescued me and He is able and willing to rescue you, because He loves you. My prayer today is that you will receive God’s healing love and experience His joy this Christmas. Please cry out to God – right now – and receive His love. I am living proof that God can turn your darkness in to joy.