Today, I welcome fellow writer and sister in Christ, Dena Talmage. God placed us in the same critique group for our writing. Though we have only been together in the group a couple of times, He connected our hearts, overlapping certain paths we shared without ever knowing of each other. Today, I thank Jesus for helping Dena bring her story out into His light. I ask Jesus to bless Dena and her family and anyone who reads her story today. At the end, you will find more information about Dena …
He showed up many times before, but was quickly shown the door. He was not welcome, not now, not ever. No time for a visit. I was busy raising my children and doing all those “mommy” things and taking care of all the people in my life. Making sure everyone was doing ok. I’m a caretaker at heart, looking to the needs of others.
He would show up at the most inconvenient times. I just wanted to be left alone. He was not needed.
This last time he came with several bags and a trunk, planning to stay a good long time it seemed.
I remember it well. I was working at a church and loved my job, but was let go because I didn’t “fit” their mold. I realized, I was “a misfit among misfits”. Painfully I slipped into depression. He just sat quietly in the corner, never saying a word—just watching me. I had no energy to ask him to leave—I didn’t care if he was there—if anyone was there. The darkness closed in around me. After a while, I couldn’t see him anymore. It was so dark.
The days and months went by. Spring came and I was able to take walks and enjoy the out of doors with sunshine and fresh air. Working in my gardens, witnessing new life was very therapeutic. There was still darkness in me. He was still there—always walking behind me or sitting in the grass as I gardened, silent. I’d ignore and carry on with my life, but he always seemed to tag along. Silent. After a year or so, he just stayed in the corner, but was always there. I thought he was gone.
On a cool September evening, he barged in—LOUDLY—demanding attention. I couldn’t stop his loud and obnoxious yelling to notice him. I had no time for him—others needed me now more than ever—to be strong. My husband, my kids, my in-laws, the wife and kids of the man that just tragically left us all, needed me. Why couldn’t he, the uninvited visitor, leave me alone? I couldn’t deal with him along with everything else. So I shoved him in the back room and tried to lock the door. We buried our beloved brother and he was there. He sat quietly—for a minute.
Then three short months later, he began yelling and screaming louder than before. Dad just passed away and again there was no time to deal with this uninvited visitor. I didn’t want him there in the first place! I wish he would just leave, but he had unpacked for a long visit, like it or not. We buried our beloved father and grandfather and he was there. He sat quietly again.
It was Christmas. Two of our loved ones were missing from the celebration. We tried to celebrate—a home-going—Christmas with Jesus—the reason for the season. The visitor was in always in my face—demanding attention. I’d push him aside—my husband needed me, my kids, and my mother-in-law.
After a month, I became weary of this visitor and resentfully sat with him. He clouded over me—the darkness was there so I didn’t see him, but knew he was sitting right next to me. I didn’t resist his presence, though I didn’t want him there either. He was persistent.
A friend gave me to a daily devotional to help deal with this visitor.
I started to recognize him, but had no emotional energy to confront or deal with him. The devotional helped me hold to the promises of the One who would give me light in my darkness, calm in my storm, peace in the chaos. I clung to the One. Even so, the uninvited visitor stayed, pressed in.
Nine months went by. My husband walked through the door, home early from a business trip. Due to downsizing, his job was eliminated. Yet another blow to my beloved husband. We both plummeted into the darkness—now what? The visitor closed in, his breath on my neck—hot and foul. Whispering to me now, in low, relentless sounds. It’s confusing as to why all this was happening.
A bright spot came with the birth of our first grandchild. Our darling little granddaughter was born just a week later. New life. Hope. Sunshine in the clouds. A bright light in our darkness. A promise that life will go on—and news of a grandson coming after the first of the year!
The visitor was sent to the back room—again. He would not leave—yet.
What delight we enjoyed as we cared for this little precious gift. So innocent. So needy. So sweet. The smell of a baby—do you remember? The warmth as she snuggled in for a nap, again. Just sit and hold on. For a moment, I thought the visitor had left.
After just a couple months of not seeing him, he came storming in with a vengeance. My husband, my beloved, has cancer. It’s bad. We fall to the floor and cry—NO MORE! Please, no more! The visitor comes over us like a thick fog. It’s uncomfortable, I can hardly move. It’s suffocating, I can hardly breathe. It’s so dark—I can’t see.
I know “The One” is there. Otherwise we couldn’t get up and walk. We clung to His promises like a lifeline. The visitor, strangely enough, did not try to keep us from Him. The darker it became, the more determined we were to find and see “the Light”. The darker the visitors cloud was, the brighter “the Light” became—small, pin point at first, but there. Constant. Bright. Just enough light to take a step, then another. It’s so dark—but I don’t fear it now. If it weren’t so dark, I wouldn’t be able to see the small bright “Light” as clearly.
My annoyance and fear of the visitor lessened daily. I sat with him, the darkness so intense, the breath so warm and no longer foul, but sweet. Daily I would wake in the darkness of this visitor, fear would grip me until I focused my eyes on the small Light. ‘The Light’ would help me get out of bed and face the day.
The hours and minutes ticking away. The darkness—darker than a moonless night—always present. If I took my eyes off ‘The Light’, I became fearful and stumbled.
As the days passed, the visitor became a comfort of sorts. We could count on him being there to keep us looking to ‘The Light’. The became a familiar presence, gently reminding me to ‘The One’ that gives light in the dark. ‘The One’ that can lead me out of the darkness.
‘The One’ who knows, who has been there and promised to walk with me. ‘The One’ who has been with me for many years.
He was invited in and welcomed at our table. I think I forgot about Him—not intentionally—maybe more like so comfortable I hardly took notice of His presence.
As I sat in the darkness of the uninvited visitor, I became more aware of ‘The One’. The promise that though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death He is with me, He will comfort me, He prepares a table for me kept coming to my mind. He promises to give rest, restore and guide me. He is the gracious Host providing all I need. I am not merely a guest-for-a-day, but a recipient of His covenant Loving kindness forever.
‘The One’ allowed the uninvited visitor and his darkness in order for His Light to shine bright as a Hope. Though the darkness was there, the Light was there also. Peace, calm, trust, hope.
As time passed the uninvited visitor backed away—the darkness lifted, his breath further from me until one day I realized he was gone. Most of his belongings—the fog, the pain, the dark—gone. He left three things there in that back room.
A blanket, warm and comfortable. On it was embroidered—Peace and Joy—with instructions to wrap it around me whenever I felt afraid of looming darkness.
A flashlight with the inscription “The Light”, and a Book with the instructions to use the “The Light” to read “The Word” in times of darkness to guide me through it.
I wept. Peace and Joy covered me like warm blanket as I held the Word and Light.
“Weeping (grief) may last for the night, but Joy (light) comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)
Thank you for visiting today. If you know someone who could connect with Dena’s story, please share this post. Here’s more about Dena:
“I am enjoying life as God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and family. I am a redeemed, Beloved Daughter of God! I enjoy writing, gardening, both flower and vegetable gardens and my grandchildren. I enjoy learning more and more about living a long life as a healthy, happy woman. One of my favorite quotes, “To send a goose feather from a thousand miles away is light weight but conveys great love” ~Chinese Proverb
One of my favorite verses: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.