A Light in the Dark

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By: colie, sister to allie and future school psychologist. lives in denver, colorado

I don’t consider myself an expert when it comes to faith. But just like any other follower of Christ, I’ve had my fair share of seasons of growth, loss, and abundance, and have learned a thing or two along the way. My big sister created this incredible platform, and I feel honored to contribute from time to time.

For this particular piece, I’d like to bring back a post I wrote in 2015, while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. It was a time of immense growth in my confidence and identity and in learning that I am capable of doing hard things. I also learned many lessons about friendship and community. More than anything, I learned that intimacy with Christ is essential in this crazy world we live in. I share this post because even today in 2018, while I am now a graduate student living in Denver, Colorado, these words and these lessons apply to my faith life, and perhaps even to yours.

Excerpt from March of 2015:
“On the way to school, I walk over huge tiles of cobblestone. There are days when I walk that cobblestone like a straight model. I giggle to myself as countless tourists trip over their feet, so proud that I am a "local". But sometimes there are days when I don't feel as confident. And every once and a while, the front of my Birkenstock digs into the cobblestone before the rest of my foot has time to catch up, and I go crashing to the ground.
Today is one of those days.

"He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the way of his power." Hebrews 1:3

This week I've been having "hammock time". I have taken a few of my roommates hammocking for the first time, and they have absolutely loved it. We go to this small park along the river that is full of wildflowers. It's right by the dam, so you can lie on the hammock, listening to the crashing water and the birds chirping. The sun shines on my skin and I feel so content in those moments, soaking up the daylight.
I found the verse above while reading my bible during hammock time on Monday. I've read Hebrews before, but for the first time I stopped to actually comprehend what this verse is saying. Jesus is the radiance of God's glory, and the exact imprint of his nature. How well is that worded?? What beautiful truth. Jesus completely encompasses the nature of God, and upholds our universe with his power.
At bible study yesterday, we talked about Philippians chapter 4.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice." Philippians 4:4

Our group discussed what it means to rejoice the Lord in the worst of circumstances. How do we as believers show our complete trust in the Lord, despite being absolutely unsure of how things will end up? We decided that rejoicing doesn't always look like having a permanent smile on your face. Sometimes rejoicing looks a lot like sacrifice. Offering your most crippling fears and insecurities up to God because if you don't you might explode. It's knowing that whether your circumstances end well or with your life in literal shambles, God is still standing right next to you, full of infinite wisdom proving that everything will be alright.
"Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4: 5-6
The Lord is at hand.
At the end of bible study, our leader asked us to think about a moment in our lives when  we didn't feel like rejoicing. Whether we were confused and bitter towards God, or completely unable to rejoice in our circumstances. He asked us to think about that moment, and apply the wisdom and love that God has for us, and how that knowledge changes the entirety of the situation. I was listening to the words our small group leader was saying, but I couldn't think of a specific moment at that time. My mind drifted, and I quickly forgot the immensity of what he was saying. I didn't realize how quickly I would need to be reminded of what I had learned moments earlier.
Later that night I suddenly found myself in a place of complete despair. I felt hurt, confused, upset and angry. My anger was clouding my judgement. I began to let my thoughts fill with lies. They came in like a dam that had been broken, consuming me and leaving me immune to truth. It wasn't until my friend told me the exact words that we had heard at that  bible study, that my perspective changed drastically.

It was if someone had turned on the light, and I could suddenly see.

In that moment of weakness, I felt so abandoned by God. I had forgotten that He had prepared me for that moment only hours earlier.
I guess I don't have an easy answer for how to rejoice in the midst of unfortunate circumstances. Despite the fact that I am so clearly taken care of by my Creator, I still doubt Him. I think it's always going to be a struggle for me, and I'm going to have to try really hard to trust. I hope I always have someone in my life who turns the light back on. And maybe, if you’re reading this, the light will turn back on for you too.”

always, Colie