Published: Sunday, 18 November 2018 07:17
Written by Bethany Looyenga
I've heard it described as the dark night of the soul, and for me, that's exactly how it felt. It started in the car one day. I was minding my own business when I was bombarded with a loud thought that my brother was in trouble, a lot of trouble. The thought was repetitive and would not let up. I had spent enough time in prayer that I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. He was not just telling me that my brother was in trouble, but he was prompting me to go to him. My brother lived 2000 miles away. I quickly drove to my husband and told him my thoughts and that I believed it was the Spirit prompting me to drive 2000 miles to visit my brother, he agreed, and the next day my son and I were on our way.
Indeed, my brother was in a lot of trouble. Eventhough I was prepared for what he was going to tell me, I was not prepared for the spiral it would send me into, the very dark night of the soul. My brother had always been my hero, the one person I looked up to the most growing up, the person I always believed I could go to for strength. Now, it felt like I was the only one left standing, my family of origin had fallen apart in every way, and God was sending me down a spiral that was dark and scary because of it. My grief over my brothers choices and the way they impacted everyone around him ripped my heart apart.
I went to my church desperately needing someone to talk to, only finding that there was push back and lack of compassion. The spiral continued, and my crisis worsened. My relationship with my brother became very strained. My relationships within my church family became problematic and painful. I continually clung to the very small glimmer of light as I cried out to God for truth and revelation.
This place of deep questioning, deep sorrows, pain and angst hung on to me for several years. Day after day my heart pled for relief, yet it felt like God did not hear me. It felt like the people in my life did not hear me. The spiral and the depth of it all was endless. The small light was getting smaller and smaller, through the rejections, the loss, the financial crisis, the physical pain, family, etc....and then, God began to broaden the light so I could see.
The anger and bitterness were gone. Through that spiraling darkness I had learned to forgive. The fear of loss had dissapated, for I had learned to surrender. The ability to accept who I really was had surfaced in my heart, and through that true friends had been made. Reconcilation had become a practice, as well as faith and daily time with Jesus. The value of legacy was recognized and put into my life as a priority. Boundaries were set in place to guard my heart and my family. Laughter lifted my spirt and hope danced with Jesus daily.
This is how the little light transformed me; it never went out.