In almost every epic story there is a moment that is so dark- you are unsure how the characters or your own soul will ever recover. You can’t see the road out. Very very few cruel stories ever leave you there but the best of stories always go there.
We have been in the darkest hour in Austin, Texas. The moment when you turn in each direction on this earth and you physically shudder. My friend Sarah can barely move and can’t speak, her 3 children have been told they may not see their mom again or it will be a really long time.
Lately hope mostly exists in the form of heaven and laughter exists in inappropriate jokes that thankfully usually surround my darkest moments due to many inappropriate friends.
I got dressed for church last Sunday and we got there just a little bit late and I was so down …. so I dropped my kids off at church where my husband pastors and I went to Target to get a few last minute things for Christmas. (Should have probably not publicly admitted that.)
As I pushed the cart my mind went places it has rarely ever gone…. like… “if this is how you roll God I want off” types of wrestling. And as I retold this moment to a friend recently, she asked, “Then what did you do?” Like I was telling her a story before bedtime…. but I get it… we all want to know:
What do you do in the darkest hour…
how do you fight for faith?
Here is my answer as I currently fight:
First, Go There. Go to the darkest place. Something about facing what I am most afraid of, facing the worst case, facing the underbelly of God helps me. I am not good at pretending. I have no rugs where all dark things wait for me. It’s all out in the open and there is something refreshingly healthy about that. God’s grace has always been big enough for me to question him- I don’t go to him and pretend we are ok when we are not.
Second, We need people. As I pushed my cart that day skipping church, a Spirit filled friend called me and fought for me. She begged for me to not give up, that God was at work and this dark hour would not define this story. I cried walking aimlessly through Target as she preached but I got off and laughed at God’s timing.
We tend to isolate ourselves in the dark moments. DO NOT.
We have kept a 10 person text stream running through the last few weeks since Sarah’s strokes. In it we have prayed and celebrated and cried and fought for each other. I call it our sisterhood. It is beautiful.
Thirdly, I fight for faith. Faith comes easily for some, I envy them. Mine is fought in the trenches of me on a regular basis. I fight to believe that God is real and good and all-knowing, especially when all hell feels loosed. But I think it is ok to have to fight for it.
And I fight by remembering…
I remember that God did not promise to make this all right now. But he promised to make it right. I remember that Jesus didn’t live a posh life. It began a few weeks after he was born being chased by baby genocide as he fled to Egypt. That was what Christ did after the first Christmas- he fled a genocide. I remember that in heaven the darkest hour will seem like a moment, a second.
And I fight for my friend! She is fighting to come back and we are fighting beside her! We believe our God can heal! Pray with us!
I kind-of think we are in the best of stories here.
Sarah and her three kids one week before the strokes. Photo by Jessica Taylor.