You’re Not Alone

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share this at ReleventBrokenness.com for those who missed it over there…here you go!

A few years ago I disappeared. I wasn’t kidnapped and I didn’t have amnesia.

I disappeared emotionally.

I was experiencing the kind of emotional pain that left me curled up in bed with the blinds closed and the covers over my head.

The pain, isolation and shame didn’t hit me all at once. It was subtle.

A whisper of doubt, the betrayal of a close friend and un addressed wounds from my past all intermingled as if part of some kind of twisted social club for the emotionally wounded.

As the pain grew, so did my isolation. I continued on in my daily activities and sadly no one was the wiser. This only fueled my hurt.

As a student pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology, I was aware of my symptoms and yet I knew it was not the Big (depression), it was spiritual and it required all of me.

I was experiencing what Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline calls, “the dark night of the soul”.

For those of you who have been to the deepest places within, you know that you must go alone. You must leave your baggage at the door and you must be willing to stay as long as it takes in order to emerge from the dark, whole and restored.

Now, I’ll admit it, I am afraid of the dark. I have been since I was a kid. So this darkness in my soul was scary. I had thoughts like, what if I don’t’ make it out? And what if this is all there is for me? I knew that I had to stay and that God would show me the way out into the light.

So, how did I come out of the darkness you ask? Music.

I am a musician, music is one thing that really impacts me and speaks to my heart on a deep level.

During this time the only real solace I found was in music and specifically solo piano music.

One day after spending what seemed like hours on my face in prayer crying to God, I turned on my ipod. I popped in my headphones and assumed the fetal position.

After several songs, an unfamiliar song began to play. It had lyrics. I thought, “How did that get on my play list?”

Just as I was about to fast – forward, something made me stop and listen.

The song was “You’re Not Alone” by Meredith Andrews.

She was singing to me. God was speaking to me in my isolation and pain in a language my heart would be able to receive. He was reminding me that He is with me – even in my darkest hour.

I finally let go.

I reached out for the hand of God and He gently escorted me to the door and I walked out of the darkness and into His light.

While I was in my self-imposed emotional solitary confinement, I learned a few things. Some were gentle reminders and others were like a holy smack in the back of the head. All were an important part of my healing process.

I realized that I had been looking for others to make me feel good about myself and to meet my emotional needs.
God allowed me stay in my darkness until I recognized that He alone is the one who can meet my needs and desires.

Through this process I also discovered that I had spent most of my life hiding. Thankfully God is the great pursuer and He sought me out and found me. I wholeheartedly believe that He desires to know me and be known by me.

I learned that God is who He says He is…all the time.

I learned that my significance, worth and value can only come from God the Father.

I learned that I needed to let God be the lover and filler of my heart and soul and not look to people to fill my emotional needs.

I learned that I am not alone.

Grace & Peace ~ Karen

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12 thoughts on “You’re Not Alone

    • Karen Cook says:

      So glad that this spoke to you on some level…that is the goal of my blog. I hope you’ll come by the couch again!

    • KAREN COOK says:

      It is my hope that by sharing some of my hurts, struggles and things I’ve learned on my journey that the road will be a little bit easier to navigate for others. I’ll be praying for you that the door into the light swings wide open when you feel the darkness swallowing you up. 

  1. Katie says:

    After two failed marriages, one home foreclosure and two lost children, and a really really bad job, I decided that my darkness was likely self-imposed.  I actually kind of liked it there.  I was closed off and in that box, I felt safe.  I felt like every time I stepped out of that box expecting, hoping even with some small sliver of promise that something good just might happen today.  Just as quickly as I left the box, something bad would happen – taken away, crush a hope – and I would hurriedly retreat back into that box for another very long period of time.  I think as time went on, I had to come out of the box more and more and become exposed to the world for the sake of the kids. The world was just as mean, but somehow, the more I ignored it, it wouldn’t get to me as much.  At one point, I decided to let God in.  I have no idea why – but I knew I needed to.  Something had to change.  I think that He worked on me and in me through a series of very loving people He placed around me.  I decided, too, that I might try looking around for a church…..it was all a very slow process.  But I knew – like you, once I took His hand (actually I fully believe that He took mine) and allowed Him to lead me, things were just better.  I was still scared, but this time, found myself retreating to His robes instead of that box.  

    • KAREN COOK says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience Katie. I spent a lot of time thinking I was the only one who had ever been in self imposed darkness…Satan longs to keep us in the dark, but God gently extends His hand to us and brings us out into the light. I love the way you “retreat to His robes”…that is a beautiful picture!

  2. Marni Arnold says:

    Now of course you know I deeply value this post. 😉 I was honored to be able to share it with everyone on my end. Girl, you inspire my heart by your transparency. God is truly using you in ways to help continue to transform me, so I become a better reflection of the creation He made me to be. Thank you my friend. So looking forward to next month and finally being able to meet you!

    • KAREN COOK says:

      Thank you Marni! I am constantly amazed at how God uses the body to encourage, shape and mold us into His image. I am thankful for you and to be able to participate in the journey of transformation with you…you encourage my heart. I am counting the days till I head east! 

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