During the Dark Times

by Naomi Watkins

Since sharing that I resigned from my job and took a leap of faith into a still unknown future, I’ve had many people tell me that I am brave and strong. And ok, thank you. But if I am completely honest, looking back, taking that initial leap was the easy part in this journey.

honorthespaceFor the sake of full disclosure, I will tell you that since taking that leap there are days when I shake my fist at God, when I am angry and tired and ugly crying, because it is hard, sometimes very hard, to believe that all will be well when I am in the middle—the space between no longer and not yet. The middle can be long, exhausting, unrelenting, and seemingly never-ending. In these dark moments, I see God not as my ally, but as my enemy, the one who has let all of this happen, who can see that I am hurting, the one who despite all of His infinite power doesn’t make it all better in the way that I want it. I’m a child throwing a tantrum, wanting it all to be better. I hurl all of my hurt and sadness and disappointment and shame and rejection and regret at Him. And He takes it. He absorbs it.

I had been having one of these dark moments on the morning that I was preparing to teach a Gospel Doctrine lesson on the transfiguration. I was not in the mood to teach that day. I went to church with my emotions and feelings very much at the surface. But it wasn’t until the wrap up of the lesson that I felt that hurt and anger and sadness dissipate. I (re)realized that as Christ ministered and taught and healed and performed miracles, He was also providing plenty of learning and strengthening experiences for the apostles. Many times the apostles did not understand His intentions or purposes. They sometimes complained or fell asleep or failed to grasp the significance of what they experienced and saw. Christ knew the hard things to come. He also knew the magnificence and beauty that would come after. As modern readers, we have the luxury of viewing the entire arc of this story. We see how these moments that Christ had with the apostles build up to the point when He would leave them to continue onward with the ministry. He knew some of them would fall away, would betray, would return, and He knew all of them needed strength, love, and nourishment. This strength, love, and nourishment came to them in the form of miracles, spiritual experiences, teaching moments, and intimate conversations.

As I look back over my life, I do see God’s hand. He has guided me to this point, so why would He not continue? So, sure, taking that initial leap is brave, but it’s endurance and persistent faith that is needed after–and that’s not always easy to maintain and that’s okay, too. And so as I hang out here in this middle space, I am finding it vital to remember that Christ really is my ultimate champion. He has provided me with strength, love, and nourishment.

And He does, and will do, the same for you.

6 Comments on “During the Dark Times

  1. I find that it’s difficult to honor the space between no longer and not yet when I’m busy exploring the space between what I want and what I need. Meanwhile, He waits more patiently than I do.

  2. So my question is, Naomi, what is the best way to respond to someone who shares feelings like these? I know enough not to relate my own experience and turn the conversation all about me, but sometimes I also avoid saying things like “It’ll all turn out okay,” or “I know the Lord has good things in store for you,” because that just sounds patronizing to me (even if I really do believe it). Usually I’d respond with something like, “Gosh, that sounds rough. What can I do to help?”

    • I think that’s a great response, Melanie. I think it’s simply to acknowledge that while things do eventually work out somehow that the middle can be rough and it can be long. And I think it’s important not to make others feel like there’s something wrong with struggling in the middle. Too often when we share our stories, we skip over the middle. And I don’t think that arc does favors for anyone.

  3. Seeing bravery in others (you!) inspires more in me. We are in another transition and I’m often scared so I really appreciated these words today. Thanks Naomi!

  4. Rarely do I leave comments on articles I read but this one deserves a “thank you!”. I love the honesty and the reminder it contains. I think many of us can relate to being in the middle space and I am grateful for your words.

  5. Really loved this thought – “He has guided me to this point, so why would He not continue?” Thanks for sharing that!

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