I have been trying to clean up some of my emails. Admittedly I am searching too. Searching for something that Isaac sent over the years, or I sent to him. Often, I reach for my phone even now to text him something quick and remember just as quickly that he isn’t there to receive it.

I came across an email that I sent to Isaac back in April of 2018. The subject line said “I understand darkness too…”

I had forwarded him a copy of an email I had sent to my best friend Gindi back in 2015.

2015/2016 were a ROUGH few years for me. Dominic and I were really struggling and I was just dealing with a lot of the realities of my own character defects. I felt weighed down by the sin in my life. I wasn’t able to be fully honest about my issues and it was causing problems.

Our pastor at the time was preaching through Romans – specifically  this verse in Ch 8 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

I remember sitting there in church one particular Sunday feeling SO condemned. While the pastor spoke a message of hope I sat and made a list of all the terrible things about myself. I don’t even know why I would do something like that…but I left feeling so defeated. What he said and what I heard for me and my life were two different things. I went home and immediately went to bed.

I remember Dominic coming to talk to me and trying to speak life to me, but I just wanted to give into the darkness. I felt like I deserved it.

Later that day I messaged Gindi and she too tried to speak truth over me. The following words are the email I sent to her the next morning. Still feeling pretty defeated.

Thanks for your message this morning. It has been a long, dark weekend. You are right, I know in part this is the enemy and I know that the sermon yesterday was an encouragement for believers…I just couldn’t see myself in that group anymore. Like specifically when it talks about being a new creation….how can I be a new creation and yet such a constant sinner? I felt like I was seeing the truth about myself in a way I had refused to before…

You know the first time I remember saying the prayer was when I was 12 and at this Christian Women’s brunch with my mom. I listened to this powerful testimony and how God had changed this woman’s life and she invited people to pray with her at the end and I did. I never felt like I did it right because I didn’t feel any different. I have been to that place many times over the years, begging God to come and change me, feeling like I was believing in Him but not really seeing this heart/life change like I expected there would be. So that leads me to yesterday. IF there was true salvation received, why then am I not walking/living/behaving in the spirit?

I don’t know I just feel so unsure about so many things. So confronted with the horrible person I have been for 20 years (or longer if I consider my childhood) and seeing these patterns of repeated behavior….how can I say I am living by the spirit if I have been making the same mistake over and over for a lifetime?

I just don’t even know what to do next, I feel paralyzed, like I can’t pray because clearly I don’t know how to effectively pray. I have a history of manipulating my situation so that I don’t have to take responsibility for my part…so maybe I have manipulated my entire belief system to make me feel good in spite of who I am. I feel like I have been deceiving myself, and I am pretty horrified about all of it.

Have you ever found yourself there? Maybe I am the only one….

I read those words of mine now and remember the absolute hopelessness I felt about myself…..

She responded to me with a very long email filled with scripture and truth. Because of its length I am not going to share it all here but I want to share a few things she shared with me…

“The primary marker of God’s voice in your life is PEACE.  Not depression.  In order for you to remove this albatross you have to acknowledge where it is coming from and claim victory over it. 

Charles Stanley says God convicts you, but Satan attacks you and pulls you down and discourages you about your personal value or worth.  THIS IS NOT GOD.  THIS IS THE ENEMY.  You can confess all the things Satan says you are and it won’t take away the burden because he’s speaking LIES over you right now.  HE IS AN ACCUSER OF THE BRETHERN. 

God grants us GRACE when He shows us our sins.  He gently calls us to repentance.  Not to depression and self-loathing.” 

There were absolutely some parts of my character that needed refining during that time. But I love what she said….God calls us to repentance not depression and self-loathing.

I am praying today for anyone reading this that may find themselves in darkness. For anyone who may be stuck in a pattern of self-loathing unable to see the unending grace that is available through God. I know how hard it is to reach out to someone. I was lucky that I had people speaking into my life, but also that I was even the smallest bit willing to receive it.

If you are stuck and feeling alone today, I am praying for the smallest bit of willingness for you too. That you might reach out and grab a hold of Truth and take that first step forward towards freedom found in Christ.