At the start of 2016, I committed the word “light” to this calendar year. It felt exactly right for so many reasons, and now, almost 3/4 of the way through, it still feels perfect. I haven’t run everything through the filter of “is this adding light?” or “am I contributing light,” every day, or even every week, but it remains a good barometer by which to measure.
I’ve had the lyrics to “Forever Reign” on repeat in my head this morning, and no doubt there’s a handful of reasons why:
“You are good, you are good, when there’s nothing good in me.
You are love, you are love, on display for all to see.
You are light, you are light, when the darkness closes in.
You are hope, you are hope, you have covered all my sin.
You are peace, you are peace, when my fear is crippling.
You are true, you are true, even in my wandering.
You are joy, you are joy, you’re the reason that I sing.
You are life, you are life, in you death has lost its sting.”
While I have been busy trying to hone in on light in my life this year, God has been working on His end just as much and far more. Reminders are constant in this season that God is the source of light in our lives, and that without him, darkness is prowling and waiting to close in. It’s been some time since I felt so focused spiritually, knowing that I am dependent on God to provide and protect–to cover our family and our minds and this coming birth and baby.
I look at all of the things in front of us, and I can’t say I wouldn’t have crumbled by now without God constantly infusing his source of light into my life.
I have gone through plenty of foolish phases, where I think I can somehow address and control my own circumstances and overcome things in my own strength. The truth is, I can try. But when I fail at this, I can’t be surprised. I didn’t create my life, and I don’t give breath to it. God does. The invitation to include him in the daily workings of things makes even the hardest moments much more peaceful. I don’t know why I have to learn this lesson over and over again, but apparently, I do.
As I do my best to be light to the people around me, it’s easy to jump on the guilt train very quickly. “I haven’t called so and so…,” “I didn’t remember to ask about…,” “I said what I was thinking instead of thinking about what I should actually say…,” “I was silent when what they really needed was my voice…,” “I lacked patience from every angle…” These are thoughts we all face from time to time, and we’re not perfect, so they’re going to come up, of course.
But I can’t say how many times God has offered help in this area when I ask him. “Will you please be in this conversation,” or “Will you give me the right words?” “God, can you help me to hear from you and to hold my tongue.” The intention behind all of this must be consistent, and I’m forever still working on that.
Carrying baby #3 has been one of the most refining experiences for me–in ways I never would have expected. I hope that when I look back on this time, I can remember all of the ways that God has shown up and offered light; they are too numerous to count! Light right now looks different to me than it did nine months ago. I might have predicted that, but not in so many unexpected ways. And darkness has been prowling for sure, unwilling to relent in its grasp unless I regularly employ the mighty name of God to push it back, time and again.
This life is a battleground, sweet friends. If we look around us for more than a moment, we can see it and feel it. I used to be timid about acknowledging that, but I’ve realized I’m not doing myself or anyone else any favors by pretending we are not at war.
If light is the thing we seek, darkness will attempt to make us waver. Pursuing light sometimes feels like the harder choice, but I’m constantly reminded that it’s always the better one.