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