on shadows and sunshine.


so, a few things on shadows and sunshine...

(because when the same themes show up repeatedly in a day, you take note...)

I drove to work this morning listening to Emily P. Freeman's The Next Right Thing podcast -- episode 46: Receive the Shadows and Light was the episode next up in my queue.

Then I got to work and opened my browser to see this post pop up in my Facebook memories from last year:

And then got a book delivery from a publisher, with the title "Faith in the Shadows: Finding Christ in the Midst of Doubt" by Austin Fischer.

And THEN my Spotify Daily Mix playlist opened with this song (a throwback classic!).

Okay, okay, I get it.

Shadows + sunshine.

In a season of depression that has most often felt dark and heavy, it's been hard to celebrate the light when it shines. Yesterday, for example, was a good day. A great day, even. Yet I couldn't shake a slight nagging feeling that the other shoe was about to drop, that the heaviness was just waiting to creep back in and ruin it all. The light was shining, but I was bracing myself for what felt like the inevitable darkness.

And just like stepping out into the sunshine after being in a dark room, I'm remembering it just takes time for my eyes and my heart to adjust.

The darkness that has marked this recent season has often felt overwhelming. I've very much felt as though I've been living in the shadowlands, in the deep valley, unable to see through the fog, stuck in the middle of the woods. (Give me all the metaphors!) And on the days when the light does break through and the tension gives way to a tangible sense of freedom, it can feel hard to believe it, receive it, celebrate it, claim it.

It's a daily fight to push back against the darkness and turn my face toward the light. But if the sunflowers can do it, then maybe I can too.

I'm learning this fight is best battled with open hands, not tight fists.

Just like I cannot grasp a beam of light, I can't hold on to the good days when they come. I want to have eyes and heart open to call them victories when they come, but I want to believe that even if bad days come again, hope is not lost. 

If today is marked by light, I call it a victory. I celebrate. I am grateful.

If today is dark, I call it necessary too. I hold fast. I am grateful still.

As Emily prompted in her beautiful, gentle way...

"Am I allowing the light to do what light does best - to warm, fill, and lift?"

and just as much...

"Am I allowing the darkness to do what darkness does best - cover, protect, and grow?"

She goes on to say this:

"God declares his glory in the light, but first, he forms new life in the dark, bringing it to the surface in His time and in His own way. God is with us in the light of day and in the darkest night."

The shadow will indeed prove the sunshine. I will find Christ even here, even in the valley, even in the woods, even in the dark. There is nowhere I go that He is not with me. The darkness and light are alike to Him. I will not be afraid of the shadows, even if they do indeed hide the light. 

Soon again, all will be bright.