Devotional Diary: Find The Light in Empowerment

The wave of consensus seems to often guide us toward caring for ourselves in a protective and delicate way. We are to only go so far and never go beyond what we are comfortable doing- don’t push or pull too hard. If it’s stepping into fear or sacrificing who we are, then we must consider this a threat to our internal peace. Life is supposed to be well maintained and our psyche depends on it. Don’t ‘over do it’ or get too ‘stressed out’… don’t say ‘yes’ to something if it’s beyond our ‘comfort zone’ and God forbid the fearful ‘unknown’.

We exist in a society that says:  Don’t take steps until you are comfortable with the staircase.

This is especially suited for the broken-hearted. Those precious souls who suffer great loss and grief over death, divorce or devastation of any kind. They are to care for their aching souls in a delicate and fragile embrace, not to extend themselves in taking risks or pushing forward too fast.

Well my friends, I have been witness to a completely different approach.

I have been blessed to see the strength of a warrior rise in the wounded.

No cradled infancy in the wake of the aftermath that left them in pieces. No delicate decisions where safe barriers were built to protect their vulnerabilities.

Oh no.

These women faced fires with an unbridled force and relentless might, grasping at any light they can to survive their circumstances.

What conquers darkness most?

Light, my friends. 

Precious light.

And I see women all around me grabbing it with a growl of desperation in learning to live again. I see friends courageously going forward into the unknown daring to believe the possibility that in it, they will discover new light.

The more light shines, the more the darkness is illuminated. Amen?

So as I walk alongside some amazing women who have suffered awful turns, I see those moments where they transform into a conquering heroine in their own story. Instead of closing the doors and hiding beneath the shadows of their pain, they choose daily to open doors and take those bold brave steps searching for new rays to shine deep within their battered hearts and all the broken places that are buried in the dark.

A friend organizing a fundraiser to raise money to help research a debilitating disease her husband suffers from, as she cares for his needs every day.

Friends who courageously share their traumatic story online, in hopes that others will find comfort in their words.

A friend moving far away with her three small children to start a new life and her own business as a single mom:  Her motto?  “Say YES to everything.”

Another friend seeking counseling and classes and connections to help her endure a tumultuous journey of healing from a traumatic experience. Her life completely stripped of anything familiar, she stretches her arms far and wide to get the help she needs.

Another friend going through an agonizing divorce after 33 years, trying to accept this new life alone, as she dives into each opportunity she can to rebuild her life and fuel her faith.  Not one step has been easy, but she pushes forward with a strength that inspires me. She shows up- whether she *wants to* or not.

These are no easy steps on that staircase, my friends.  I have been privileged to have a view into this new world of daring risks and adventures and above all, DIScomfort in a way that extends far beyond contentedness. And yet, it is the most beautiful passionate piece of our human condition. Fighting for survival and finding the light.

It’s in us all.

Fight or flight?  These women don’t run and hide- they fight.

For light.

Each one of us must realize our potential and power to survive our broken dreams. Yes- Suffering is sacred. Pain is powerful. And fear is real.

But light is healing.

Go grab it with a growl. Go beyond what you think you can handle, and take those steps on that wobbly staircase up and out into the unknown. Look for any light where you can find it. It will be difficult and terrifying. But if you have fallen into one of life’s dark holes- that shaky staircase may be your only way out.

Don’t be delicate. Be deliberate.

Dig deep. Grab hold. Go far. Push. Pull. Risk. Step. Do. Fight. Hard.

Find…

More light.

Find Light In Empowerment

 

Author Signature

Comments

  1. says

    It all sounds so good, so positive, so wonderful and like a great thing to strive for. But today I am so tired.

    I might need to borrow your line in the sand and draw it under my life.

    • says

      Oh Lizzi… I am so so sorry you are in that place. Ugh. Take the line and draw it with pencil, I know how those days go. I know. Every one of my friends who has been through any suffering knows. But the next day may be different, and you will push and pull and do.

      YOU were one of those friends I was talking about who share their story on line- YOU are deliberate. But there are days for each broken heart to rest. Simply rest. Rest my sweet friend. Here’s your line. (Not as solid on purpose!)

      ———————————————————————————————————————————–

      • says

        Thank you so much – I shall try to remember to draw the line in pencil. You’re right – there are still good things and worthwhile things…I’m just having a week of struggling to care that they’re there.

        I’ve rested and felt a little better. You’re right – life will continue and I’ll get back on that horse and try to keep it reined in.

        Thank you – you’re quite wonderful x

  2. says

    Beautifully written Chris! All things ARE possible through HIM who gives me strength. It also gets much easier with wonderful, faithful friends that cheer you on! Love you!

    • says

      AMEN to that my friend!! But here’s the thing- YOU have to wake up every day facing the struggle and YOU have to depend on Him for strength and YOU endure the journey with dear trusted friends because YOU are beautiful.

  3. says

    What strong friends you have. How inspiring! To share what they’ve learned from their own pain in order to help others through theirs is a gift indeed.

    • says

      It really is, isn’t it Laurie? I continue to be amazed at so many of my friends who when faced with an awful circumstance, rise up and fight with an integrity and strength of a heroine. There are so many more women I know than the ones I shared here… we all know them though, don’t we? 🙂

  4. says

    Don’t take steps until you are comfortable with the staircase? Oh, my gosh. I’d be standing at the bottom of those stairs for-ever! I’ll fight for my light, thank you. Well said, my friend. Well said. xo

    • says

      I truly cannot think of a more PERFECT example of the ability to fight for light. Girlfriend- we all can learn from your strength and will and FIERCE fulfillment!!!!

  5. says

    Beautiful in every way Chris. I am often amazed and sit in awe of what women are truly capable of doing when faced with adversity. Often they become the very best of themselves during those times. You are an incredible friend, and I have no doubt that every.single.one.of.those.women thanks her lucky stars daily to have you in her life! :)-Ashley

    • says

      Aw Ashley… your encouraging words ALWAYS fill me up with so much joy!!! They mean the WORLD to me… Ohmygosh I love you so much.

      Women are warriors!! XO

    • says

      Isn’t it amazing? There are just some women that I am in awe over their amazing strength to fight in dire circumstances!!

      I believe we all will unfortunately have moments where we will have to make that choice as well…we can learn from the best of them. 🙂

  6. says

    “Don’t be delicate. Be deliberate.”–exactly what it means to go in faith. Thanks for always wording what I need to hear so perfectly and being so open to what God lays on your heart. I love you. And I love, love, love this new look. It’s gorgeous, my friend!

    • says

      Oh how I love you too, Meredith!!! Your encouragement means the WORLD to me… truly. Everything you just said here touches me deeply- I am so grateful you stopped by and blessed me!!

      Still working out some “kinks” in my site, but I think it is a bit nicer!!! XO

  7. says

    Sometimes when we are surrounded by darkness, it is because we have turned our light off. Light will always prevail over the darkness – only if we fight to turn our light on! We do need to be deliberate in all that we do; deliberately surrounding ourselves with light!

    • says

      I love that Leah… just love that! “We have turned our light off.” Yes… when hope is gone, our light seems to dim and flicker on and off and sometimes even completely blow out. Oh, how dark it can get.

      I pray for those who are in that darkness now- that they pull and push and climb up that staircase, and if they just can’t- I pray for someone to come along and reach down and grab them to help.

  8. says

    This post is light for me. I’d be standing at the bottom of the staircase, and in the darkness, forever if I followed that other approach. Simply forever. I’m glad I take the escalator when I’m uncomfortable on the stairs.
    You are wonderful, Chris.

    • says

      Oh Tamara!!! I can only imagine the amazing strength that lights within you when it’s needed!!! I am not surprised in the least that you fought hard with a growl to grab the light.

      I love the escalator!! And Lord knows, that elevator ain’t too bad either!!! 😉

  9. says

    Oh how I wish I knew you 11 years ago or 5 years ago. I needed to hear these words. I am grateful that I am hearing them now. I absolutely love the part about light beating dark. You are my light. You lead me to the light all the time and I love you for that. You make the difference in being strong and giving up. Those shoulders of yours are some of the strongest I know. XO

  10. says

    So beautiful Chris! I have a friend who took that staircase not knowing where it was going to lead her and she is emerging stronger for it! Her life as she knew it is gone and she is starting over as a single parent, who had to go back to school and start a new business to support her children. She is strong. And she amazes all of us who know her.

  11. says

    Back in 1980, 81, 82, you, dear Chrissy, as a 13, 14, 15 yr old, said and wrote the same as you have now. Your written words, so dear to me then, led me toward the light of a new beginning. One of the best things to come out of my divorce was my daughter, Chrissy, learning she had a true talent for expressing her feelings in writing and sharing them with others. Back then, I was the lucky recipient of many notes and letters. Out of the muck of the dark, I climbed the stairs then as I do now. The steps? It is only when I climb the 12 steps, over and over again, that I am able to live under the warm loving light of God.

    • says

      Oh mom… crying. Your words just took my breath away, and lit my soul up with history and profound gratitude. No words to express my feelings right now- except how deep they go.

      I thank God for the 12 steps… your staircase to healing.

  12. says

    “Suffering is sacred. Compassion is key. Pain is powerful. But light is healing.” Love. This. Chris, I’m gonna grab it with a growl. Life is to short and God’s destiny for us too big for us not to!

    • says

      AMEN to THAT Alison!!!! That is the truth!
      Jeremiah 29:11
      New International Version (NIV)
      11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  13. says

    Chris, what powerful and enlightening affirmations. I truly enjoyed your post. I’m all about positive thinking and following the light of Jesus and being happy with the journey God has me on. Followed you from SITS. Have a blessed day!

  14. says

    Beautifully written – it really touches home for me in more ways than I can share in this little comment box! It speaks such truth and really is inspiring! It is a reminder to me to keep fighting and keep the light shining even in my darkest days. Thank you so much for your words!

    • says

      Oh Leila! I am so deeply touched that you came by to read these words and that they perhaps encouraged you in any way!! I don’t know your story, but surely you have found incredible strength to survive. God bless you!!!

    • says

      Oh I just LOVE how you put that, Alli! That is a quote if I ever saw one…

      “We don’t know how strong we really are until we have to be.”

      Perfect. 🙂

    • says

      There IS a lot to be said for that kind of deliberate strength Catherine! It’s amazing where we can find the will to endure and push and pull and go and do. 🙂

      Thanks SO much for stopping by!! I am so glad you did.

  15. says

    Sometimes it’s so hard to share your story, because of guilt or shame, but if we put light to it all the darkness of it disappears and we can build strength in that.

    • says

      Absolutely Candi! And it takes so much courage to do that… but I am inspired by those that take those risks to illuminate a darkness and offer a haven for others to heal. Oh there are so many dark places… and so many people hiding in them.

  16. says

    Sharing your story is never easy…I recently shared part of my past in a post on my blog and it took me many tries to hit publish. I was nervous and scared…I am not a very religious person…never have been, however, I still enjoyed reading your post and agree with a lot of what you had to say.

    • says

      I’m sure it took great courage to share a part of your past… I can only imagine. And yet, who doesn’t have something in their past (or present) that they are ashamed of or regret? Lord knows, I do. I am so grateful that you read my post and can agree with much of it. That means so much to me!! 🙂

  17. says

    Sometimes it is so hard to see the light when you are in a difficult trial that life has thrown your way. BUT yet through every trial we become a strong and more empowered person. Think positive and pray

    • says

      OH you are SO right, Jen. I have been there- oh have I been there!! I think there then comes a time where you either sit in it or get up and make tough decisions about that darkness and how to get out of it. I have seen friends do this so many times, and I am truly in awe of their strength in some pretty horrible circumstances. I also know some people that stay in their darkness for years on end… and that makes me so sad that they didn’t fight, grab, do, etc.

  18. says

    I love the very end of this post. The way you chose to write it really packs a punch. And, I agree with so much of what you said. When you look at all of the wrongs there are in the world, it is traced back to selfishness. I need to remind myself of that when making choices.

    • says

      I agree Jenna- most of all the crud that destroys lives breed from selfish ground. I’m so glad you were moved by the ending- I absolutely intended and hoped to pack a punch!

      Thanks SO much for stopping by Jenna!

  19. says

    For most of us, life does not usually turn out the way we had hoped. Broken dreams litter life. But the good news is that God has a purpose and plan for us that is a more amazing plan for us than we ever imagined. When we have lost sight of our dreams, grab onto God’s hand and travel to a place you thought you’d never find–the dreams God had planned for you all along.

    • says

      Oh I just LOVE this comment, Rachel!! Every part of it.

      “Broken dreams litter life.” Just wow.

      And To trust in God’s Plan, as you get tossed and turned in life- yes YES YES!!

      Thank you so much for coming by and blessing me with your words! 🙂

  20. says

    This is so encouraging. What a wonderful writer you are. I love the line “the more light..the more darkness is illuminated.” This was super encouraging to me because sometimes the darkness seems to be just everywhere, everywhere. Thanks for sharing!!

    • says

      Oh thank you so much Ali! YOUR words are encouraging to ME! 🙂

      Yes, so much darkness… everywhere. But ya know what? I truly believe there is more light. I do.

  21. says

    This sounds like great inspiration for someone trying to pull themselves out of a tough situation. I appreciate your light and dark symbolism, it adds a very relate-able touch. For me sharing my fitness journey was one huge way to find light in my life 🙂

    • says

      I get that- I totally get that! When you find your passion, THAT can be your true light to hold on to and grab with a growl!!

      Same goes for purpose. I think they may be one and the same sometimes…

      I am so glad you found yours. Truly. 🙂

  22. says

    It is SO nice to read a post that is so completely positive and forward looking. We all need to do more of this – grab the bull by the horns and take that road less travelled. LOVE IT!! Very well said.

  23. says

    Running toward the light over here as well. I struggle with depression and it can leave me listless and self focused, wallowing in my own darkness. I am fighting it with Christ’s help and choosing to run towards Him, toward the light. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • says

      I get that Jeryl… I really do. I pray you can make changes in order to allow more light into your life. I am sorry it’s been so hard for you. Sometimes the longsuffering brings even brighter light in time. I pray you find strength to endure…until that occurs.

  24. says

    Hi, the first time I read the post, I was a bit confused. This one is very unique than others. I love it a lot. Here are a couple of encouraging sentences that I love: “Life is supposed to be well maintained and our psyche depends on it. Don’t ‘over do it’ or get too ‘stressed out’… don’t say ‘yes’ to something if it’s beyond our ‘comfort zone’ and God forbid the fearful ‘unknown’.”
    Thank you very much for your motivating post.

  25. says

    I often have days when I feel so weighed down, that I don’t know why I bother to get up…but once I do, and shove myself into motion, I’m so much the better for it. Living in constant physical pain is often exhausting but the alternative is not living at all. I’ll take the pain any day because I do believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Helping others who’s burdens are heavier than mine, ALWAYS replenishes “my supplyl” Thank you for a wonderful post.

  26. says

    Very well said and beautifully positive.

    During my times of challenge I have always told myself; that of which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and I truly believe that.

    • says

      I think during my darkest times, I truly developed an incredible strength. Adversity does that, doesn’t it? I see it everywhere… it’s ‘in us’. 🙂

    • says

      Oh gosh how I love your comment Jesi!! It’s just plain beautiful and eloquent at the same time. I want to read it over and over again. “Aren’t we all always staring into the face of a cold, rickety climb, sometimes not knowing where we’ll end up? ” LOVE.

  27. says

    To embrace difficulty does not mean we like pain or enjoy suffering, but we can choose to be beaten by it or to learn from it. I’m not that old (45!) but I have already found many opportunities where I was able to encourage someone because I had already walked the same path.

    • says

      Oh do I understand that Bethany!! It’s amazing how much “life” you can live in such a short time… and use all those challenges and twists and turns you went through to help others. I am 46 so I am not “old” either- but I have been ‘seasoned’ and ‘weathered’ in many ways too!! 🙂
      Here’s to helping others climb the staircase too!

  28. says

    What a beautiful post. I struggle often with whether to push myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed and/or worn down. Pushing on always leads to a lovely feeling of satisfaction. However, I’ve also had to accept that (as I struggle with autoimmune disease) I have physical limitations and it’s okay for me to accept them and not see them as a weakness. Thank you for your lovely encouragement!

    • says

      Oh Sarah- there is such a HUGE difference in physical ailments versus emotional ailments… I am glad you take care of yourself and respect and honor your physical limitations. That requires more STRENGTH than anything! You are wise to rest when your body says rest!

  29. says

    I really needed to read this today because today was not the best day for me at school. Just need to push, push and push. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • says

      Oh Sila, I am SO glad that you DID read this then! Lord knows, I need this reminder often!
      Keep pushing! Climb that staircase… wherever it is leading you at school. I hope it gets better…

  30. says

    Your post is truly encouraging and inspiring. It reminds me of how we grow in the struggles of being in the valley as we climb towards the mountain top. This was beautifully written.

  31. says

    What an inspiring post! I climbed my wobbly staircase last month after leaving a very toxic work environment in this unstable economy…and it was the best thing I’ve ever done! The light was shining all over the place! lol!

    Thank you for brightening my day. 🙂

    • says

      BRAVO!!! BRAVO!! You did it! I always believe that when things are worse where we are- than what we believe to be if we change… we will take that turn. I am so glad you risked it Jen! And I love that you are dancing in all the light! 😉

  32. says

    I loved this. It made me think of my friend who endured countless miscarriages for over 4 years. She clung to her faith through it all, and her ability to fight for the light in the darkness touched so many people. I am happy to report that she brought home a baby girl that she and her husband adopted a couple weeks ago. 🙂 if you let Him, God will help you create beauty out of the hardships of life. Wow is that hard, but it sure is worth it!

  33. says

    As I read through these beautiful heartfelt comments and your compassionate replies, I am struck that we all (most of us) came to this post by way of a very special woman we know as Tanya. I wonder if she is aware of the tenderness displayed on this and other blogs she has grouped us with; I for one see it as “Divine Appointments”. Approaching my 67th birthday, I have climbed that staircase to the light many times and, in truth, it sometimes felt more like a swinging bridge. Don’t you know those were the times I took my eyes off the source of the light, but I never let go of the “rope” that held me up when the slats fell out beneath me.

    • says

      I am in “awe” of your tender and beautiful words, Kathleen!! Thank you for acknowledging the beauty in these words and comments and sharing a piece of your “light” with us!! 🙂

  34. says

    Being positive is the best way to live. I know it’s easier to suggest looking for the bright side of things, even if it looks dark. People often stress themselves by focusing on the negative, when it’s so much easier to be positive.

    • says

      I agree Tim! I think many people spend so much energy on negativity, that they just don’t realize it takes much less energy being positive! I believe they are habitual negative thinkers…

  35. says

    I love this post! I think that for most of us, our worst enemy is fear. Life can be difficult and all the more so when we allow those things which have caused us pain to have dominion over us. I have discovered that when I face my fears and push forward, they aren’t as very frightening as I thought and that I have far more courage than I imagined.
    Elle

    • says

      YOU are one of the amazing souls I know that fight for light and climb that staircase, Alexa. I am in awe of the inspiration and encouragement you give to those who have suffered a loss like you. You are a mighty warrior! And I am honored to be your friend. XO

  36. says

    Thanks so much for the inspirational words. I try to be optimistic and positive regardless of the situation but sometimes a little cheering from others reinforces those thoughts.

    • says

      I think we all need a little cheering from time to time! I know I sure do, and we all deserve support during those difficult times when we are struggling to find light. Thank you for stopping by Alison! 🙂

  37. says

    Sometimes it is so hard to be positive, but I have tried to have that outlook, especially since I have become a mom. I am not religious, but I know I am so blessed in my life because of the friends, family, God (I do believe), and the choices my husband and I have made for ourselves and family.

    • says

      It is so hard to be positive… and yet, we can always stop like you did and recognize the blessings in our lives. I think it takes so much strength to stay focused on all that is good. And being a mom is a calling of great proportions! Lord knows we need to grab on to the fight during those seasons of struggles or suffering, if only for our children!

  38. says

    Powerful! I agree w/ you 100% and I can only hope and pray that I will have the strength the long and live for light if I am faced with darkness. I have no idea what true, earth shattering suffering really means. I would like to say that I could be strong if the unthinkable happened to me but I really don’t know. I will give thanks for the brave women in our lives and pray that one day, if I have to, be that brave and strong.

    • says

      I remember a woman speaking at church who was in a car accident and multiple surgeries later with life now spent in a wheelchair, she said something that I will never forget.

      “The same thing is always said to me- ‘I couldn’t get through what you got through’- and I say to you all, you are RIGHT. Because it is only when you turn the corner into any traumatic event, it’s only THEN that God provides the strength and grace to pull you through.”

  39. says

    “Don’t be delicate. Be deliberate.” yes! This is so important when you’re grieving. I often talk about intentional grief. If you aren’t intentional it.will.swallow.you! Thank you for the reminder!

    • says

      I’m so glad you liked this Trisha. I remember telling my friend who lost her husband that she needed to ASK for help when she needed it. Unfortunately it rarely happens that people will assume you need it. I encouraged her to reach out- as hard and uncomfortable as it is. That can be so so hard to do.

  40. says

    My gosh ! I had to scroll down to Mexico to leave a comment!! I can see whty! This is GORGEOUS! So beautiful..so true ..all the couageous women..what we endure and we still pull up our bootstraps. You are one of these women youvdescribe..these fierce warrioresses!! I love the way you dig down deep to your gut in writing this with goddess like conviction!! I love this!!

    • says

      Ha ha ha! Mexico… Well, it’s just because I did some online thing a while back and got lots of comments through that. I don’t even remember what it was- maybe my SITS day? I’m not involved with them now, but it was a really neat experience.

      I’m SO incredibly blessed to have beloved friends inspire my words with their bold and brave steps toward grasping that light. I think it’s really in us all, isn’t it?

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