by Joy Martin, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
When it’s my week to write the Set Me Free Blog, I spend a lot of time thinking about what to write. I watch life more closely, looking for anecdotes that have some profound meaning. I ponder conversations and think outside the box regarding certain situations, all while asking myself if there’s a blog somewhere in there. Of course, I should point out that I rarely, if ever, actually write the blog before the Sunday it’s due. I’m just saying I think about writing it, but I digress.
At any rate, Saturday was one of those days for me. I knew I had a blog to write, but inspiration had escaped me. I had nothing. That night, as Justice complimented me on the turkey burgers I’d made for dinner, I was struck by just how lucky I am. I sat back and looked around at the table at my beautiful family, and I couldn’t help but smile.
We hadn’t had a spectacular, out-of-the-ordinary day. In fact, it was pretty routine, although it was a busy one. Justice started the day with his first football practice—Julie and I watched. Zach spent the day working on projects around the house. I did some routine housework, organized my desk (well, kind of), and edited for a bit. Julie and I read a few books. The kids and I spent an hour at the park enjoying the amazing weather. And then, when it finally slowed down, the four of us sat down to eat dinner together.
Yes, Saturday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the weather was warm, and I was able to spend the day with the people I love most. And then I thought . . . Aha! That’s what I’ll write about. I’ll write about spring and the beauty of life. Perfect!
But Sunday when I woke up, things had changed. I was up way too early, courtesy of Julie, and found myself parched beyond belief and with a horrific headache. And, I’ll admit, I was cranky because of it! To make matters worse, the beautiful spring weather I’d hoped would serve as my blogging inspiration was gone. Instead, Sunday was chilly, rainy, and dark—not very inspiring at all. And so I found myself back at square one—or so I thought at first.
Despite the fact that just the day before I was soaking up the sun, loving time spent with my family, and just enjoying life in general, I found myself in a much darker place on Sunday. But isn’t that how life is? There are both moments of light and moments of darkness, sometimes even pitch black.
In fact, I was recently reminded of a dark time in my life. Around the time Julie was born, Zach and I were in an extremely dark place. And although I won’t go into details, I will say that there were days when I honestly didn’t know if we’d make it through to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. During that time, I came closer to losing everything I love than I even let myself realize. I pray that we never experience darkness like that again.
The only thing that got me through that time—and I mean the only thing—was my faith in the One, True God. Sure, I was fortunate enough to have amazing family and friends who surrounded me with love and helped me out as best they could, but they weren’t able to pull us back into the light. It wasn’t humanly possible. In my darkest, scariest moments, all I could do was pray. Pray and have faith that my Father in heaven wouldn’t fail me. And I knew He wouldn’t, because He promises that in His word.
In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses is speaking to the Israelites not long before his death. He is preparing them to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land with Joshua, and he says to them, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” We’re also told in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
So while I pouted today because the sun wasn’t shining and my head hurt and I was being unreasonably crabby, and while I was annoyed that I’d lost my beautiful blog inspiration, God took a moment to remind me that even in the darkness, He remains faithful and true. He reminded me that the light of day follows the darkness of night.
As I was finishing up this week’s blog, I suddenly remembered a moment a few weeks back that I will treasure forever. After work one day, Zach walked into the house and announced, “It occurred to me today that I love life. The past few months have been the best of my life. I’m just so happy.” I actually had to choke back a few tears as I flashed back to three years earlier, because those words would never have been spoken in our home back then.
The words of Psalm 30:11 certainly ring true in our home today: “You [God] have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” Praise God!