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  • Writer's pictureJulie Nicole

Let Your Light Shine in a Dark World

It's no secret that we live in a dark world that seems to be increasingly getting darker. You only need to spend about five minutes reading the news scroll on the internet to be reminded of all the horrific things happening around the world. But, despite how dark things may be getting, the great thing about light is that whenever it is introduced darkness cannot withstand. Light always overpowers darkness.

As a kid did you ever wake up in the middle of the night frightened by the darkened shadows of monsters lurking in your room just waiting to attack you? As you laid there stiff, heart pounding and too scared to move or scream because you knew the minute you did they would pounce, you were paralyzed under your covers for what seemed an eternity until the first signs of daylight; only to realize the monsters were just exaggerated shadows from your teddy bear and stuffed turtle.

That's how the dark can be - deceiving. When we are going through dark seasons of our life it can convince us of things that are not true. It exaggerates our problems and pain. It can convince us that something is one way when it's really not. The dark preys on our fears. I've heard it said that F.E.A.R. is false evidencing appearing as real.

It convinces us that the dark night of the soul will never end, and that the light of day will never come. It makes us believe that things will never change, that our path will always be full of sorrow, heartache, loneliness and disappointment. It causes us to go through life apprehensive, hiding out, waiting for the next unexpected blow.

During these dark nights of the soul if we don't look for the light we can end up getting off course of our destiny and having a collision with life.

Lighthouses were first built in the 1600's to help sailors navigate dangerous pathways. In the days of wooden ships with sails, and without any navigation devices other than their sight, the wind and waves could easily cause the ships to collide against the rocks and wreck them.

The lighthouses served as a warning sign to captains sailing at night to let them know there were dangerous waters ahead and to light their path for them in the dark so that they could arrive safely to their destination. Before these lighthouses were built many captains would see the city lights from afar and begin to head in that direction to make shore. However, as they drew near they would see the dangerous rocks and would try to turn to avoid hitting them, but oftentimes it would be too late.

As a result many ships were destroyed and even more lives were lost because they couldn't see the danger in the dark. Many times we are like a ship trying to navigate rocky waters in the dark with no light.

Have you ever known people who ended up making some really bad choices that altered the course of their life for the worse? What I have found is that, oftentimes, people will adopt a habit or lifestyle that they know is wrong after being in a dark season for an extended period of time because they are tired. They are weary and they are wounded.

They lose their way because they can't see the light through their dark tunnel, and they end up gravitating to an instant remedy in an attempt to ease or numb the pain, thinking it will take it away; only to find themselves in rocky shores. This is why it's so important for us to be the light in someone's world.

I remember as a kid singing a song in Sunday School that went like this:

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine,

Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Don't let satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine,

Don't let satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

I was reminded of this song and the power of each of our lights through a woman I met the other day at Starbucks. I was waiting on my drink when I noticed a woman sitting at a table with a little lamp plugged in beside her.

"That's cozy," I said.

"I'm still without my electricity, so I'm hanging out in here," she said. It had been almost a week since we had our ice storm. Eighteen thousand people had lost power and we had been without electricity for two days. It wasn't fun wondering around in a dark house with only candles and phone flashlights to light the way.

Without heat our house had gotten down into the 40's. Pretty cold. One more day and all of our food in our refrigerator would have went bad. You never think much about your electricity until you don't have it. I couldn't imagine being in the dark and cold for almost a week.

"Oh my gosh, they still haven't gotten your electric back on? Well, I will pray they get it back on today," I said.

"I believe God is a woman," she blurted out.

"You do?" I chuckled. "I don't think so. I think He's a man."

"Well, I just went through a divorce," she said half laughing. "He left me after 23 years of marriage."

She was in pain. I understood. "I went through a bad marriage and divorce. I remember where I hated anything male," I laughed.

She nodded and began rambling. "He was a taker....just always taking...our whole marriage. He's living in the back of his store. He's not doing well."

She started scrolling through her phone. "I'm trying to find a picture of my daughter. She's married. They're so in love. I'm so happy for her to be loved like that." Her eyes got watery.

She was silent for a moment. I knew her ache.

"Is your whole neighborhood still out?" I asked.

"No, they have to fix this cable that goes to my house and I don't have the $25 dollars to pay them so... but this kind of stuff just makes us stronger...."

She went on talking about something else. I paused. Did she just say she needs $25 dollars to get her electric back on?

"And I'm supposed to fly out tomorrow to visit my 85-year-old mother in Colorado....and I'm trying to pack in the dark...."

"Do you just need $25 dollars to get your electric back on?" I asked.

Almost embarrassed she stuttered. "Oh...I....didn't say that so you could give me money."

During my divorce my husband had taken all the money out of the bank and left me with nothing knowing I had no income coming in. I knew what it was like to be broke with no money. And after two days with no electric I knew what it was like to be in a freezing cold house in the dark.

"I'll be right back," I said.

I went down the street and took some money out of the ATM. I felt the Lord prompting me to give her a copy of my book. So I hurried a couple blocks to my house, grabbed a copy, shoved the two 20's in it and drove back to Starbucks.

I walked over and handed her my book with the money inside.

She looked surprised. "You're an author? Well, you have to sign it."

"I already signed it. Yeah, it's my story. I went through a really bad marriage. I understand those dark nights, but don't worry, this is just a season you're going through. You're going to come out on the other side of this stronger, better and more compassionate. That's why we go through this stuff, so that we can have compassion to help other hurting people."

"Do you mind if I pray for you?" I asked. "Yeah, sure," she answered.

I held her hand and prayed that God would heal her heart and that if it was God's will that He would bring her husband back to her, and if not that He would send someone to love her the way He loves her.

She began crying.

"I'm sorry. I usually don't break down like this. It's just that sometimes life can be so stressful and we just need to vent. You're such a kind soul," she said.

"Don't apologize. We all have our moments, and yes, you're right, sometimes we just need to vent and get it all out."

She handed me a little piece of paper that she had been writing on when I went to the ATM machine. At the top of it, it said: "How do you bear witness to love wherever you find yourself?"

Underneath of it she had written:

"Jill (she thought I had said my name was Jill) for helping me pay my DP&L. Just short $25 and she is so kind to help. Dear Lord, the kindness of strangers is so compassionate in times of stress. God bless you Jill. Have a blessed Thanksgiving."

On the other side it said:

"We are called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. - Pope Francis"

I finished reading it and she handed me the little lamp she had plugged into her table. "Here, you take this," she said. "Oh, no, I can't take your light," I said.

"No, take it. You're a light in the world," she said wiping the tears from her eyes. I hugged her and kissed her on the forehead. "I love you," I said. "You're going to be all right."

"God....He does answer prayers," she said. "Yes, He does," I said.

I hugged her one last time. "I'm going to read your book on my flight," she said.

"Okay, great. I hope you enjoy it. Call me if you need me. My number is in there." We waved goodbye and I went home and plugged my little light into the wall and placed her note in a frame beside it.

Forty bucks and a book wasn't much to give someone, but to that stranger on this day it wasn't the money or the material things that made the difference, but the small act of kindness that touched her.

Every time I look at that light and note I want to be reminded to keep shining my light in a dark world. There are people who need it to keep come from colliding into the rocks and jagged edges on their journey.

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