Turn On The Light… 

It’s a familiar place with familiar emotions. The still of the silence is incredibly loud. Louder than what I care to listen to. Even an old familiar song makes his way into my head.

“Hello darkness,  my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again….” I feel the shadows gathering and I begin to question,  what will become of me? With the darkness come fear and a basket full of ugly…So again, I ask, what will become of me? 
“In restless dreams I walked alone.” Paul Simon must have experienced a real encounter with something that shook his world with an influence to  pen this song back in the early sixties. At 5:30 this morning, I was still awake staring into the abyss outside my bedroom window. I’m very fortunate to have such a beautiful view at night from my room upstairs. The trees, the moon and stars that peep through the branches is an incredible sight which is why I leave the blinds pulled, just so I can lie in bed and adore the sky above me.

But adoration was far from my mind. The only occupants in my head were hard tears that spoke without speaking and those voices hearing without listening and dared me to disturb the sound of silence, the dark which seemed more like a fearsome jungle. 

At a quarter till six, my two cats, Rodimus and Optimus Prime cuddled up to me together. It’s rare that they do this at the same time. I choose to believe they too felt the awkwardness of the darkness or the nagging nudge of first dawn arriving knowing their human would rebuttel the adage, “rise and shine.” . They knew something wasn’t right with me. That alone caused a shift in my silent behavior sending me out of my bed and straight to the light switch where I killed that sullen black emptiness. 

It was quite liberating actually. I got the full vision of all of my surroundings and the light casted a new view, a new perspective. All of those dark emotions that entertained me all night long suddenly vanished and I could smile simply because there was  light and my confidence increased with my new visibility. My old friend, “darkness” was relinquished and there was noise. Pillows being fluffed a bed being made and talking to my sweet adorable cats while they sat there staring at me in unison, I knew they thought I was crazy. But I noticed with the light on, I felt calm, peaceful and was able to hum a tune or two. I could sense a new destination arise in me, fears being diminished.

It’s amazing what light can do to the darkness. Jesus IS the light! The light that is the true gospel. There will be moments we all will face some harsh battles in the dark. You will cry. You will feel empty, hopeless, worthless, guilt, anger and the list goes on. This is where we should run to the light. There is safety there. Jesus said, ” I am the true light that lighteth every man that come into the world.” When we realize the light is our source, it’s comforting to know that our next battles with monsters of the night can be tamed by simply taking charge and turning on the light.

We have the gift of light. Not only is it for our own battles, but for others who fall over the stumps and roots of the earth at night. When your brother or your sister fall into hard times, don’t just offer your prayer, take your light to them and extend your hand. What would Jesus do? He would do the same! He would pick you up and remind you to fear not and assure you He’s with you always. A little light is a sure cure for the sound of silence….

By Jane Hardin 

Take My Hand… 

The news wasn’t exactly what I was expecting today but knew eventually it would come. I had been telling myself to prepare, but also could not let go of my hope that it would last a little bit longer.

The new year, 2018, is upon us. Only two days away. Today, I learned my job will end in February of this new year rolling in. I was the only employee called in to be told the news face to face. The other girls were sent texts which I felt was incredibly sad feeling they too deserved to be told in person.

I came back home feeling kind of numb, yet relieved. Just this morning, I committed my day and everything in it to God. You see, I’m learning to trust. My trust issues have been one for the books and it has proven to be a sloppy area in my life. I suppose God doesn’t like sloppy and now it’s sink or swim.

I sit on my sofa all noise blocked out and I whisper to my Heavenly Father. There are moments I don’t know what to say, then other moments I remind myself out loud that I made a commitment to God to give each day  and comitt everything in it to Him. But, that familiar battle begins in my mind. That inner struggle. Tears swell, then overflow. I catch myself falling, regressing back to a past I have tried to escape for so long.

For a moment, I close my eyes and there I am. Alone on a boat, on an angry raging sea. I feel fear begin to rear it’s ugly head but I tell it not this time! No more! Then out of the darkness,  a hand reaches toward me and I hear His words softly and tenderly, “take my hand and wade out with me. Not in the safety zone, but where the waters are deep.” I didn’t waste time taking His hand. I felt peace surge through my being.

Yes, it was a moment of imagination but only because I immediately thought of Christ’s followers on their mission at sea one night when they became faithless and fearful as a monstrous storm found them. Jesus came to them saying “do not be afraid.” Jesus reached His hand out and told his follower, Peter, to leave the safety of the boat and walk with Him on water. Peter did! But quickly took His eyes off of his safety net, Jesus Christ, and fear began to sink him.

As for me, I’m tired of sinking. I want and need a brand new start. I don’t want to look back in my past moments and relive those fears. I’ll only look back to look at what God saved me from. I will take His hand now and step out of the boat. Many claim the boat is the safety net, but God tells me to take His hand and not depend on what I think I know,  but rather believe and trust in what His plans for my future are and it certainly doesn’t involve a boat on an angry sea….

By Jane Hardin

Faith, Fear, Insanity oh my. 

As I stared at the brilliant, faceted stone on my finger, I felt that familiar ache in my belly.  My mind had begun war within itself. I found myself looking full face into the eyes of fear just minutes after telling God I trusted Him. 

I’ve been carrying a heavy load on my shoulders for over six months. That load held my financial burdens, my health issues and a great fear with two annoying words attached, “what if?” But, in my moments of doubts and fears, there was a paradox: though I felt so all alone in my messed up crazy mindset, I wasn’t alone or so the Bible told  me so. This is where insanity kicked in. 

I’m the type of person who is constantly doing reality checks and in one minute I’m pouring my heart out to God when fear launches itself into my mind and the next,  I’m confident and at peace that God has got this. It’s like my mind is on some kind of acid trip or it has a vicious case of bi-polar on steroids. The struggle is definitely real. I often feel like I’m the referee and my contenders are always faith and fear. I see myself standing between the two trying to keep the one from attacking the other. It’s enough to make anyone crazy! 

So, while staring at that ring on my finger as I lay in bed sick with pneumonia, left brain and right brain hashing it out, insanity sitting on her pinnacle, I wondered. I stared and I wondered about how messed up can a human really become. My thoughts swarming with chaos and voices screaming in both ears, “you’re going to make it” “you’re not going to make it!” All of this accompanied by another voice, “it doesn’t have to be this way, you could end all of the madness right now and never worry again.” I’m not sure if that qualifies me as suicidal and I choose to say I’m not suicidal because I know I could never pull it off. But still, that one voice I believe the majority of us encounter, you know the one where you too hear those same words,” you could end all of the madness right now…” 

But….. somewhere in the grueling mess of my mental struggle, there’s another voice. It’s kind. It’s soft and peaceful. It doesn’t scream out at me. It whispers and is calming. It’s God! He reminds me to cast all of my fears, struggles and contenders on His shoulders. He reminds me that the battle isn’t mine to let Him have it.  I always wind up apologizing to God for doing exactly what He tells me not to do over and over again in His word. DO NOT FEAR! 

Tonight, that war was raging in my head. It felt like a searing wilderness and the land of promise strategically placed side by side and all I had to do was make a choice to decide which side I wanted to be standing on. The battle was breaking me to the point I started questioning the almighty one. You know. Questions like, “where are you in all of this God?”  “Why are you allowing this to happen when you know I want so badly to just trust and believe?”  His answer? There wasn’t one! 

Until….. 

 In my moment of collision, I’m reminded that fear is not of God. I’m also reminded that it only takes a little faith, you know, a little dab will do you kind of faith? It’s a choice we are given. Who and what are we going to believe? In my moment of chaos, I cried out to God to please calm my inner storm more like an inner violent hurricane and just give me some kind of something, anything, a sign, just something to let me know He’s listening. Then, I open my Bible app on my phone and there was my peace card. A sign. My favorite Bible verse in big print jumping out at me. “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they  shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:13

My sovereign Lord. He measures waters in the palm of his hand and holds dust of the earth in a basket and even weighs mountains on the scales. He knows the number of hairs on my head and even knows every tit and tat that finds it’s way into my crazy brain. After all, He did create me and promised me and you, He would never leave us nor forsake us even when we beg to differ. It’s up to us! It’s our decision to make that choice. Faith or Fear…. Trust me, you can’t have both going on, that’s insanity! It’s my belief, that it’s not a one time choice. We have to decide every single day upon awakening how it’s going to be. I’m learning this on my journey in my crazy messed up world. 

From my heart to yours, don’t settle for crazy! Don’t allow fear  a very ugly,  vicious contender to sabotage your world. It will! 

By Jane Hardin