Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Dark Night of the Soul

 When I pray, sometimes I BEG for heavenly poetry: divine designs that turn the details of my life into the Universe’s art canvas.

A year ago on my 33rd birthday I demanded poetry. I thought about Jesus Christ, predicted to have lived to be about 33 years old. I wanted that year of MY life to be spiritually significant, dedicated to my Savior, and full of growth with God as my major focal point.

It was a significant year... But not at all in the way I was expecting. 

Turns out, it became the HARDEST year for my faith. A spiritual crisis is an understatement. It felt like a religious obsessive compulsive disorder full of anxiety over spiritual matters. There was so much confusion and pain as I dug deep into what I’ve always believed, why I believed it, the God I had grown close to and whether He/She matched up with the God I was studying in scripture, in history, and in the actions of the people around me. It has been the most intense, sobering, beautiful spiritual roller-coaster.

That’s when I turned to art for therapy. My sketches became the oxygen-tube getting me through the days and overcoming the shame that shadowed every question or doubt I found myself wrestling with. I struggled to trust the revelations inside of me when it clashed with outside sources or teachings I’d been taught my whole life.

There’s a term some use called “The Dark Night of the Soul”. Like a spiritual depression. Mother Teresa was thought to have experienced it from writings in her journals, Saint John of the Cross, Joseph Smith in Carthage jail... I think the majority of us will go through a form of this at some season in our lives. 

A full year went by and I found myself staring into the reflection of a now 34-year-old with a few more white strips of hair behind her ears and a tired, worn-down soul. I remembered that birthday wish I had prayed for the year before of growing closer and understanding Christ more and felt a bit of disappointment.

Then a familiar voice inside of me whispered, “In His last year of life, wouldn’t it have been Christ’s darkest hour? His time of most confusion? Of feeling alone? Of sorrow for the choices made by others and wishing that they saw God as He did? Don’t you think THIS was the best way for you to truly understand Him? Wasn’t it your most spiritual year after all?”

Oh, isn’t THAT poetry?

Although it may have felt like a winter of darkness, I have never, EVER felt closer to my Creator. My hand has been held every step of the way by something outside of myself that whispers of unconditional love and of pure patience as I stumble and fall and lift myself up again.

I am learning to trust that whisper inside of myself and trusting that God gave me this heart for a purpose to navigate through this living experience.

God is with me. God is inside of me. Like a child is literally half of her mother and half of her father, I am literally made out of God.

I am OF God.

This is now my season to look inside of myself and trust. And continue to search for and appreciate my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother's poetry and the divine artists that They are.

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