What do you do when the darkness threatens to swallow you whole? You discover the most important weapon in your arsenal.
I had always tried to be the good girl. The one who obeyed. The one who held things together. The one who kept her promises even if they hurt her. The one who was everything to everyone. The one who wouldn’t take failure as an option and would push herself past exhaustion. The one who always had a plan and was prepared for every circumstance. I was the one who had her life together.
It was an illusion.
Control is always an illusion. I was a control freak because that was how I learned to survive. I had to keep myself together, or at least appear to from the outside. My world would spiral into oblivion if I didn’t. I couldn’t let those around me see the cracks.
There were so many cracks. Cracks in my emotions. Cracks because of trauma. Cracks in my family. Cracks in the very fabric of my identity. If anyone had held me up to the light, surely they would see the web of fractures. They would see the myriad of flaws in the vase that held my life.
But no one did. The light around me must have been too dim. That’s better than thinking no one truly saw me. It’s better than thinking no one really cared.
So I continued surviving. Never thriving. Just getting by without falling apart. A continual cycle of painting over the cracks but never repairing them. A touch up here. A little smudge there. No one could tell…
until I broke.
My vase hit the floor and all the pieces shattered. From that moment, there was no going back. In that moment, I had to learn how to fight through the pain and darkness.
I only had one weapon.
I cried out to God. I turned worship music on at a volume that muzzled the noise in my head. Surely the neighbors could hear the cacophony. Surely they could hear my mind splintering. I wasn’t the only one who could hear it, right? That wail from the pit of my soul ricocheted off the walls of my house as violently as it echoed within my heart. Surely someone else could hear my pain!
Eventually the wail gave way to a stifled song as I groped to join the music of praise filling my home. I grasped for every lyrical shred of hope, as a drowning man clings to a raft. I stretched to recall the ancient promises I had heard…
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1-2 (ESV)
I lifted my eyes up to heaven. I reached out… His Presence reached back and grabbed my hand. He didn’t let go. He held me up to His light so my healing could begin.
It’s funny how, in the darkest moments, the faintest light always seems so much brighter. The depths of the darkness can’t quench the light. Darkness doesn’t make the light fade. The darkness only magnifies the very thing it tries to suppress.
In that moment, I learned the power of praise. Praise is a lifeline back to the shores of sanity. Praise is the beam of light that helps guide the weary traveler through the mountains and valleys. Praise breathes life back into the dry bones and raises the dying from despair.
Praise is the light that will always pierce through the deepest darkness. Praise revealed every one of my insecurities and faults, but not in a way that brought shame or condemnation. No, it brought life more abundantly than I could imagine. Praising my Creator, Savior, and Friend in the midst of my mess illuminated the dark that enveloped me. It broke through the barriers and tore down the prison walls. Praise was the light that revealed every crack in my vase, but, instead of throwing me out, God held me close and called me beautiful. He took each piece and, with the care only the Craftsman could, sealed every fault line with the light of His love.
So what will I do until the light breaks through the darkness? I will choose to praise.