At the beginning of February, I had coffee with a friend. Last year was one hell of a year for both of us. We sat with our warm beverages and sweet treats and mourned what the last year meant for us. We commiserated over how long, dark, cold, and bleak February is. She told me she recently found a book a loved one had given to her titled, Learning to Walk in The Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor. She thought it might be a good read for me as well. It just so happened the next day I was at the library and they had a copy. All of January I had struggled to read. I just couldn’t find it in me to finish a book. I think it was because I didn’t have the right book, this was the book I needed to start my year off with.

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I’ve dealt with the darkness a lot. I remember being a serious kid with serious thoughts. I’ve never been big on small talk. I’ve always wanted to get to the meat of it and dig. Growing up we had our share of dark times in our family. And since married life began, I think we’ve had more than most in darkness. Some darknesses are self-induced and some are not. We’ve had both.

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When you have kids with special needs it takes you places a lot of people never tread. I envy those people somedays. I imagine what our life could be if we had never felt those dark places. Then I realize I can’t even imagine that. It would change everything. I’m not even sure it would change it for the better.

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When I finished the book, my friend asked me how I liked it. If I liked the way she talked about how so many people equate God with light and all bad things with darkness. I told her I never realized how much I already did the opposite, how I was the person who saw God in the darkness all the time. Just the thing the author was trying to get us to see. I enjoyed the book a great deal.

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I’ve been meditating on it since I finished it weeks ago. My life verse is Exodus 14:14 (NIV),

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

The ESV uses the word ‘silent’ instead of still and the NLT chose ‘calm’. All three have played a part in my journey. The thing I have learned the most about darkness is that is the place where God comes. When our life is chugging along and no real problems arise, I praise Him, I see Him, I know He is with me, but when things go dark, that is when I feel Him most.

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It is in darkness my soul has cried out, in anguish, in despair, in ruin. It is in the darkness I have felt His presence, in darkness He has spoken to me, in darkness, He has sat with me and wept. The most powerful times of my story happened in personal and sometimes real darkness. It has taught me to not be afraid of it, for that is where I find Jesus, every time.