of shadows and light

I don’t remember much. 

The doctors and nurses asked me repeatedly about what had happened that afternoon.  And to this day I have no recollection of it.  My consciousness stops when we rolled under the shadow of the maple tree at the end of the street, and resumes much later in my mother’s arms.

She was crying.

I couldn’t speak.

But I could see the sun peeking through the trees as we passed beneath them.   Their shadows invited me into unconsciousness.  And with each slip it seems my subconscious buried the truth of what had transpired deeper each time.

I couldn’t breath.

The blood was choking me.

I slipped in and out of light.

Urgent voices surrounded me.

I awoke abruptly.

My mother was gone.

The sterile white light was terrible and now I couldn’t speak or move.

I was strapped to a metal table.  Strange men and women with surgical masks surrounded me.  I heard one say “she’s awake.” And another respond, “we’re almost done.”  And then there was pain, and I succumbed again to sweet darkness.

Confused, afraid, in pain, alone, believing I was abandoned, my heart was broken.

That was the day I met fear.

We all meet fear at some point in our lives.  It lies and it bullies and tells us that there is no good in the world.  It says there is no freedom.  It says there are no safe places.  It tells us our hearts will forever be broken and that we are abandoned.

That little girl accepted these lies as truth.

Truth had not yet been fully established in her mind.  How could it? She was 5.  She had no idea who she truly was or the potential and the power that was within her.   And fear made sure that with each slip into unconsciousness she buried any knowledge of it along with the pain and the hurt.

Knowing from the start how her path in life would be altered, the devastation that heartbreaks, broken trust and suffering would cause, could I call it good?

God knew.  And He did.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good. – Genesis 1:31

He knew that His perfect creation would become imperfect. He knew that His image bearers would become disfigured.  The beginning, knew all the mess of the middle that would ensue and yet He stilled called it good, very good.  He still loved us and believed in us.  He allowed the story to unfold.  He knew He still held the end in His hands.

It is so difficult to embrace the wounds of the past.  To accept that they are an important and integral part of what is good in me.  It is easier to despise all the imperfections that were left behind and the intimidation that fear can still threaten.

The darkness still presses and tempts me to give in.

But I remember the light peaking through the canopy of trees.  And while I do not recall how I suffered lacerations to my hands, feet and face,  I do remember the warm light cutting through the shadows.


Because God was there. 

He embraced me each time I slipped under, and whispered:  Don’t fear.  I am with you.  I will always be with you.  With every fall into oblivion, he was constant and lifted me from the abyss.

He never left me.

I didn’t know it then, but I know now what I cannot deny:  my wounds brought me into the light of God’s love and the beauty of His grace

Because I suffered confusion, pain, isolation, abandonment and a broken heart so very young, I learned early to rest in the arms of my Father and press into the comfort of his unfailing love.

Yes.  I can call that good.


Today I’m linking up with the Story Sisters on this International Women’s Day as we tell stories of the girls we once were.


6 thoughts on “of shadows and light

  1. Beautifully written. “He embraced me each time I slipped under, and whispered: Don’t fear. I am with you. I will always be with you.” Such a wonderful truth that God is always with us.

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