I ran away for the first time in 2nd grade—it only lasted the afternoon. By 8th grade frequently I would rush desperately to the isolated escape of our backyard to cry out in silent tears and mute screams until lumps formed in my throat, “God, just let me no longer exist.” The latter continued on for many years in the confines of various desolate moments, and there were plenty of events in my childhood to spur such actions and thought processes.
In all the dark moments, I remember the darkest most profoundly: my youngest brother suddenly passed away while self-medicating. After returning home to help keep things together, I found myself alone and crying once again. Crying until there was no more moisture in my eyes; apart from a small, feeble breath all physical or emotional output ceased. I found myself curled in the fetal position with a tingling sensation left over my skin. Once the electric buzz of nerves faded, I began to tumble into a dark pit where a thick, mind-numbing blanket of blackness encompassed me veiling even simple thought. There was nothing. Not even God could reach me here.
Or so I thought. . .
In 2007, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II– it leans heavily toward depressive episodes but tends to not include hallucinations. And still today I find myself dropping into dark pits. I cry out when no one else is around and, by God’s grace, sometimes when they are. My seasons of deep depression— that, yes, have included bouts of suicidality— can last for hours, or weeks, or month upon agonizing month. Now, I do not say this for you to consider or judge the spirituality of someone who is depressed or suicidal. Rather, I ask you to suspend judgement, and instead see God’s healing power amidst the darkness.
In the book of John the author writes of Jesus, “5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a– Understand] it. [ John 1:5 ] Hear it: Jesus isn’t afraid to go into enemy territory; he’s not afraid of the dark. Furthermore, in 3:19-21 Jesus exposes, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
Over time, I have learned the sound of the Spirit of Truth. [ 14:17 ] Through reading and being in scripture, talking continually with God, and meditating and listening with the Spirit I have learned to believe who Jesus says he is; subsequently, I have learned to believe who he says I am in him and through him. Not just in one passage or text, but in everything he says.
So when I find darkness building around me and blocking away what is true, or when I feel creeping, cloying tendrils of lies reaching towards me I listen for the voice of my Shepherd. [ 10: 9-14 ] His presence chases away the shadows and illuminates what is around me and in me so what is truly there can be known. [ 8:12 , 9:5 ] It is in those times I find he sustains me. [ 6:35-51 ] And, as I choose daily to abide in him [ 15:1 ], I believe he is the way, the truth, and the life [ 14:6 ] … because I am certain without him I would not have life, nor the truth of God’s love, nor a way to be reconciled to my Heavenly Father. [ 2 Cor. 5:18 ]
“I AM the light of the world.” [ John 8:12 ; John 9:4-5 ]
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” [ Matt 5:14-16 ]
Written By Chyanne Higgins