Strength After Darkness

“After the Rain, there will be singing. My heart will sing a new song. Sunshine will break its way through darkness. Night only lasts so long.” (Bill Gaither Trio, After the Rain, Fully Alive)

I’ve spent a good portion of the last two days singing this song over and over again in my head. I looked online this morning, but couldn’t find a copy of it to download, nor even the full lyrics.  So why, after most of the world has forgotten it ever existed – if many even knew to begin with – does it still resonate in my head? I believe my Creator knew I would need those words more than I could have ever imagined as I learned them at the age of 8.

We all go through “Night” – a time when darkness is so alive and abundant in our lives that it appears the sun will simply never shine again. What’s yours? Is it abuse beyond imagine and so hidden from everyone else – sexual, physical, emotional? Is it the pain of bad choices that are seemingly irreversible? Poor relationships that just get worse and worse as time wears on? The absence of a loved one that has left such a hole in your heart? Just a road that was given to you travel,when you had hoped it would be so different?

I’ve been there. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Bad choices, poor relationships. Absences that lasted for a few months, and those that will last the rest of my life. And, I spent so many years with the hope of a different road. Some how, some way, my darkness lifted. The sunlight that spills forth on my road now is blindingly bright.

It’s not been easy. The abuse never goes away, but you find a way to heal from it. Bad choices are some times irreversible, and the poor relationships are difficult to move away from, but somehow you work through both. The absences – those that last for months while my husband is fighting a war, or those that last forever because of the death of a loved one – they recreate you.

The truth is, the horrific experiences in life that we feel are unjustly given to us are really the very building blocks of who the Creator intended us to be. I couldn’t see it at the time of each unfortunate incident but now, as hindsight is 20/20, I see my strength coming from my weakest moments.  This Winnie the Pooh quote has hit the nail right on the head: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

More important than any road I’ve traveled in the past is what I do with it today. Do you allow your past to hinder you, to keep you down? Or, do you allow the past to make you stronger, and use your experiences to help others?

As I got brave enough to admit some of the abuses in my past, I met more and more women who had been through the same thing, and I have been blessed to be their partners in a road to recovery. As I have struggled through long lonely nights without my husband due to combat deployments, even birthing his only child without him present, I am now able to support other wives who must endure the same pains for the freedoms in this country. And the list could go on and on.

Truly, watching the darkness pass and allowing only the sunshine to remain has become my greatest source of strength and for that, I am grateful for the darkness.

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