I don’t know about you, but for me, end-of-school year brings with it a generous serving of mixed emotions, piled high and spilling over.
Crossing the finish line of another year evokes elation, exhaustion, nostalgia, sadness, and sweetness. When the endless obligations cease and the air quiets down once again, a time for reflection rushes in—whether welcomed or not.
For us, this year brimmed full with personal growth … and I know I don’t have to tell you that “personal growth” is a pretty, polished way of saying, we’ve been through the ringer and somehow we’re still standing and hopefully we learned a lot through the process.
Because isn’t that how it goes? I’ve yet to meet a person who experienced deep personal growth without the catalyst of pain moving things right along.
Oftentimes, it’s hard to even see the growth among the thick, prickly weeds.
I can look around and easily see the wreckage. The broken relationships, the dashed hopes, the things that turned out so differently than I’d expected or planned. These things block my path and cloud my mind, speaking the language of false truth into a fragile heart.
Sometimes, a school year can leave you feeling bruised.
Sometimes, a relationship drains your emotional reserves.
Sometimes, a season of hardship seems to drag on, far past its expiration date.
And sometimes, the light feels so very dim, as though the palpable darkness of fear and uncertainty threatens to swallow you up whole.
Perhaps you had a great year—your kids are thriving, your relationships are singing, and life is bee-bopping right along. This is an occasion to give praise and thanks to God!
But if it hasn’t been great—if you, like me, find yourself squinting to catch a glimpse of light in the murky world of “personal growth,” may I speak a word of comfort to your weary heart?
God is still working in the dark.
No matter how dim the light, no matter how challenging the season, our Father stands near, enfolding us in His trusted Hands.
In Psalm 139, David speaks to the Father’s nearness and the truth that no season or challenge or darkness can hide us from His eye:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? … If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”Psalm 139:7, 11-12 (emphasis added)
What an incredible promise we can sink our teeth into. Just above the darkness pressing down thick and heavy, our Father sees it all in light. He sees all our pain and trial and growth as it truly is: carefully held in place by His sovereignty and ultimately woven together for our highest good (see Romans 8:28).
So hang on, dear reader. If you’re swimming in a season of darkness, hang on to the flickering light of His steadfast presence and love.
When you can’t see the way forward, trust that He sees, because all is light to Him. “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5 NIV).
Focus on the simplicity of taking the next right step, trusting Him to illuminate the way as you walk.
And remember, always, the truth that seasons change. Your darkness will not always be dark. But in the darkness, there are lessons waiting to unfold and treasures ripe for unearthing (see Isaiah 45:3).
So while you wait and while you mine the shadowy places, let the light of His steadfast love illuminate the path forward—one small, faithful step at a time.