Thursday, August 20, 2015

When God Turns Out The Light

Have you ever woken up to complete darkness?

I'm in Nashville attending a conference and this morning when I got up, it was dark. I got up early to attend a breakfast meeting before the conference.

"Chocolate Sin" from The Pancake Pantry in Nashville.
When I got up, an old song was running through my mind, so I began to sing it out loud.

"He touched me
oh, he touched me
and oh the joy that fills my soul
something happened and now I know
he touched me and made me whole"

I stopped mid-song and questioned why such an old song would come to my mind. It would be more appropriate for me to wake up singing Christmas songs since another reason I'm here is to work on the upcoming Christmas concert. I listened to much of the concert music on my way down here, making notes to review with the conductor as I drove.

I felt a gentle whisper say, "sing the verse".

"Shackled by a heavy burden
'neath a load of guilt and shame
then the hand of Jesus touched me
and now I am no longer the same"

The first two lines were a good description of some of the feelings I've been having these days....well, at least the 'shackled by a heavy burden' part.

I left the home where I'm staying and headed out for my day.  I had a feeling this song might be an indicator of what I might experience today, but I shrugged it off thinking I was a little too assuming.

Today I'm attending an event where I am doing nothing and no one knows who I am. I'm not introduced as the speaker or musician.  In fact, I can just say, "hi, I'm Frances" and be like everyone else. I'm taking time to sit and listen to others speak, sing and lead worship. A treat I rarely get!

You see, I've been desperately crying out to God about some things.  Some of them for years. My heart has been growing weary even though on many levels, I have much to be excited about - and I TRULY am!

But today, this Frances was a mess.  The first speaker of the day was supposed to be Dr. Neil Anderson. I figured he would be intellectual in his approach, or give a long list of ways to walk in freedom (just click on his name and you'll see the long, long list of books he has authored).

However, this gentle, elderly man stepped to the platform and began to tell us stories from his life. The first tear strolled unhurriedly down my cheek, determined not to leave, when he said there came a time when he felt as if "God turned out the light".  What?  This man who has written extensively on freedom, bondage breaking, etc., etc., feels like God turns out the light on him? But alas, instead of giving us 20 steps to freedom, he pulled on a loose thread in my soul and I was coming unraveled.  

Neil continued..... "Right now, the light has been turned out again". Seems like God flips the switch often for him. His wife has dementia and now has to stay in skilled care in a nursing center.  Many days he goes to sit beside her and just 'be' with her.  He feels like her light will never come back on, in this life. It's a new season for him.

My husband and I need a miracle.  Due to a genetic condition (that he seemed to acquire a most severe case of) our lives feel a bit dark at times. It affects his hands to the point where holding small tools are becoming increasingly difficult for him. This isn't good for someone who is self-employed and uses those tools daily. 

We wonder what the future holds for us as he notices deterioration that seems to be speeding up these days. I've cried out to God many times on his behalf and I know that our voices harmonize together as we ask God to change our circumstances and guide us through this time. 

It felt good to hear from someone else today who is further down the road as he stopped to share some of his struggles along the way due to his seasons of darkness. I cried for him and I cried for me. 

I cry for you because I know what some of your struggles are from talking to you. Your's are different, but we can all relate to feeling like the light has been turned off. 

Here are a few key phrases he shared this morning that might be helpful:

God turns out the light

Never doubt in darkness what God has shown you in the light

Never make a big decision when you are down

Don’t create your own light

Don’t instruct those who weep......just weep with them

Morning comes

Isaiah 21:11-12 The Message (MSG)

A Message concerning Edom:

A voice calls to me
    from the Seir mountains in Edom,
“Night watchman! How long till daybreak?
    How long will this night last?”
The night watchman calls back,
    “Morning’s coming,
But for now it’s still night.
    If you ask me again, I’ll give the same answer.”

God turns on the light

Frothy Monkey, Franklin, TN
I'm sitting here at the Frothy Monkey in Franklin, TN as I write this blog.  

The first time I was here was to meet my performance coach whom I had a dream of working with for over ten years. I was terribly excited to actually see that dream come true.

The last time I was here, my husband was with me and we were sitting on this very porch enjoying coffee together after riding our motorcycles to TN for our 25th wedding anniversary. Then my phone rang and it was my brother calling to let me know that our mother was in the hospital with a perforated ulcer.  This began her decline and she died over a week later.  We cut our trip short so we could be with her before she died.

I have mixed feelings when I come to this little cafe now.  Joy from seeing a dream come true. Joy because my husband got to come and experience my favorite town with me. Sadness as I recall the sinking feeling in my stomach when my brother called. Was God turning the light out on us again?




Whether the light is on or off, we must hold steady to what we know and believe. Morning comes.

I don't know what you might be facing today.  I hope that this has given you some encouragement. May you have faith and courage until the light shines again. May you stand strong, even in the darkness. May you wake up with a song, in the morning.