A Box Full of Darkness

box full of darkness

There’s a gift in the box.

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
~Mary Oliver, The Uses of Sorrow

I hate having to admit how long I tightly clutched my box, opening it several times, somehow wishing its contents would change. Are you stuck? Are you still peering deeply into your box, wishing the past were different, unable to make progress because you refuse to accept what life has sent your way? The writer of Jimmy Needham’s “Clear the Stage” said, “Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.” Pain, too, can be an idol; the darkness can consume you if you let it. Have you given the box its own pedestal in your life, allowing yourself to act and react out of anger, hatred, or fear? Will you wrestle with God in the dark? Will you praise Him in it? Will you place your hope in Him despite the darkness? Will you so deeply desire He change your box that you miss God changing you? Have you let God open the box with you? Have you immersed yourself more with the contents of the box than you have with Him? Have you passed the darkness on to others because you’ve failed to let God in, to let Him handle your darkness, or let Him handle you? For years I handed out boxes of my own unresolved trauma, boxes of rage, of unrepentant disdain, of bitter criticism that crushed, and scorched, and scathed. To whom have you dealt your unresolved darkness? Have you discarded it, never learning the gifts that it held? What have you done with your box? [Click Here to READ MORE]

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The Pain to Push

godly sorrowI’m not a fan of pain. It’s not even that I’m unable to manage the pain, so much as I’ve nurtured a fear of experiencing pain more than I’ve nurtured the fact that I’ve overcome pain. In a brief lapse of judgment, I attempted to birth my oldest son without pain medications. Please note this is not at all to divide those who opt for pain meds and those who do not, but considering my fear of experiencing  such intense pain, it wasn’t wise for me. In fact, for our next child, I asked when the epidural would arrive, and I wasn’t even in labor yet! I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page.

The most refreshing aspect for me was that I could actually fall asleep and not have to worry about contractions or, you guessed it, pain. The nurses asked me not to push, and I gladly took a nap until the doctor arrived. On the other hand, I’ve heard many women share their “natural” birth stories, and once the baby is in position and that pain to push hits, there IS no holding back! You see, while I was numb, while the pain had been taken away, I could make the choice not to give birth to the child I’d dreamed about holding in my arms. Oh, but when there’s pain there’s a persistent pressure to give birth to your dreams! Thank God for the pain!

As noted in the scripture above, Godly sorrow produces something. God’s pathway to peace often goes through a valley of pain. Make a commitment to stop looking for the easy way out, stop looking for the smooth, easy road where you can be lulled to sleep instead of birthing your dream. Your path will be filled with pain, but once you’re in position, the pain will get you to push! The pain will actually lead to your deliverance, it’ll lead to you birthing the dream! As the enemy sends fire your way, let it cause your purpose to burn within you even more. Below, I’ll share a relevant vlog on exactly that. Also, visit and follow the uplifting new blog of my friend ((You Can Shout Now)) who inspired this post by reminding me that some things are so pressing you just have to get it out!

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Broken for His Purpose

I was in a chat app with a few brilliant, beautiful souls with whom I shared what God has again been reminding me of lately: It probably seemed like forever between the time Joseph proclaimed the truths of his dream and when it finally came to pass. He found himself in a pit, was sold into slavery, and no doubt praised God for his time in Potiphar’s house. Maybe he even thought he was on the heels of realizing that dream, but then found himself wrongfully accused and imprisoned. He even had to watch as others were freed before him. But ultimately, God’s vision is for HIS appointed time, and if GOD says it, it WILL come to pass (Habakkuk 2:3)!

One awesome chat member questioned how we “Josephs” of today can avoid such perilous lessons and why God can’t just trust us without such hefty trials. My response was this: I don’t believe there’s ONE human being so trustworthy. God’s Word warns us that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9)? To address our heart condition, the Word declares that silver is refined in the fire, but God uses the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). However, assuming some of us are so upright that we would remain chaste without chastening, have we considered that our trials may be solely for the purpose of meeting someone else in the depth of their pain, used solely for the purpose of bringing someone else to Christ, solely for the purpose of bringing HIM glory? Maybe some things we go through JUST so that we can comfort others with the same comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:4). As Pastor Burden recently illuminated for me, God cares more about His eternal purposes than your immediate deliverance. Sometimes what you’re going through is because God is looking for an occasion with someone (as He was with the Philistines through Samson; Judges 14:1-4).

Later I received a Words with Friends game board from a wonderful lady who thought I was someone who helped her after a life-changing car accident 7 years ago. The accident left her with numerous broken bones, bionic prostheses, and enduring pain from traumatic nerve damage. At the end of the day, her testimony is that she’s had an opportunity to be a witness of God’s sustaining power in places she’d have never been if God didn’t see fit to break her for His purpose. Her hospital roommate accepted Christ into her life before dying, and while she wishes she were still able to ski, but can’t because of the accident, she swims instead and has worshiped and prayed poolside with Christians, Jews, Muslims, you name it! How would they have known, if she had not been sent, if God had not seen fit to break her for His purposes (Romans 10:14)?

To sum things up, when you find yourself wondering, “Why me?” or “Why this?” Consider the beauty of being broken for His glory! I don’t know what my new friend’s body must be like, given the crushed bones and mangled nerves, but I do know others are grateful for her beautiful feet, which are precious because she’s carrying the gospel wherever she goes.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

~Romans 10:15

HIS purpose for your life may bring pain, but will remove stain.

HIS purpose for your life may bring pain, but will remove stain.