Darkness in Stormy Seasons of Life Dispelled through Love

Continued from here.

The perspective I shared in my last blog entry was not always the case for me. For decades, my stormy seasons were also very dark. I have lived through many dark monsoons, and I questioned whether God even cared.

I was severely abused as a child and grew up into an emotionally shattered woman. I hated myself and could not believe that anyone else could ever really love me. After all, I saw nothing in me worth loving, so how could I believe that anyone else would see anything to love, either?

My self-hatred manifested itself in numerous ways – an eating disorder, suicidal urges, self-injury, intense bouts of anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares … I was one hot mess. I didn’t actually believe that God loved me. I thought I was an “add on” – that Jesus was already dying for someone else, so he tacked me on for the sake of efficiency. I could not/would not receive God’s love, and that made my life dark.

My life was radically transformed when I chose to believe that God loves me. That one choice changed everything and has forever removed the experience of dark and stormy seasons in life. While I still experience storms – and even heavy storms, they are no longer dark.

Hawk Nelson has a song out that I encourage you to meditate on: Live Like You’re Loved. What would change in your life if you really believed that God loves you … just as you are?

Here’s what it did for me: I became able to give grace to others as I received God’s grace. I was able to love others as I realized that God’s love for me is more than enough – that I could not use it all up if I tried. I started learning from my mistakes rather than defining myself by them. I developed hope that anchored me in light – no matter how stormy my life gets, I know that I know that I know that God is in control, He is with me, He loves me, and He is good. This sliver in time is not the end of the story.

Believing and receiving God’s love for you is the way out of the darkness. Life can get stormy, but it doesn’t have to grow dark. The light of the world lives inside you, so darkness has no power over you. Start living like you are loved, and you’ll never again have to experience hopelessness.

[Graphic: Cover of Hawk Nelson’s Diamonds CD, which includes the song Live Like You’re Loved. Courtesy Amazon.com.]

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Four Fundamental Beliefs

believeContinued from here.

Before I continue with the narrative of my testimony, I’d like to discuss four fundamental beliefs that each of us needs to embrace in order to live in a state of joy. I will be referring to these as I continue my narrative. God’s way actually works, but you must align your thoughts with four core beliefs in order to access that joy and experience life as God intended:

  • God loves you.
  • God is good.
  • God is with you.
  • God is in control.

If you do not truly, from the bottom of your heart, believe any of these four fundamental pillars, then Promised Land living (such as God’s joy and peace) will continue to elude you, despite how frequently you pray and ask for it.

Note that believing each of these pillars is not the same thing knowing them. For example, you might know that God is good. You have might have grown up hearing this in Sunday School and reflexively “know” this about God. However, if you don’t believe this – if you don’t know in the marrow of your bones that God is good – then when the waves of life crash over you, you will question God’s goodness. You will drive yourself crazy asking why a “good” God would allow such bad things to happen to you, someone you love, or a stranger across the world.

Conversely, if you truly believe that God is good (as well as loving, present, and in control), your perspective of even great tragedies will change. The best way I can phrase this is that you will no longer experience “dark and stormy” seasons in your life. While the storms might continue to rage, you will no longer feel “in darkness” because the pillars of God’s love, goodness, presence, and control will shine a light that the strongest storm cannot snuff out. You will experience hope, even when your circumstances look hopeless, because you absolutely know in the marrow of your bones that God is good, loves you, is right there in the storm with you, and is in control, working this terrible mess for good. You might not know HOW, but what matters is that you know WHO.

Whenever you find yourself struggling in any area of your life … or whenever you notice a glaring absence of God’s joy and peace, stop and remind yourself: “God loves me, He is good, He is here with me right now, and He is in control.” As you choose to believe these four fundamental pillars of faith, you will find joy and peace in the midst of life’s trials.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling, looking up, holding up her hands, and saying, “I believe.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]