Looyenga,Bethany

I’ve heard it described as the dark night of the soul, and for me, that’s exactly how it felt.

It started in the car one day as I was driving to my office; my thoughts were interrupted with a louder thought that my brother was in trouble, a lot of trouble. It was a repetitive thought, one that only got stronger, and I knew from experience it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me.

Not only was the Holy Spirit telling me that my brother was in trouble, but He was prompting me to cross the 2000 miles between us and go to him. I’ve learned that when the Holy Spirit sends a strong prompt to do something, even if it means dropping everything and trekking across the country, then I need to listen.

So, the next day, with the help of my son as a driver, we made our way towards my brother. Upon arriving, I could sense the heaviness as we drove up his long driveway. My stomach was already churning with anxiety and a sense of dread at what I might find. I braced myself for the worst, sensing in my heart what I was going to find.

My brother was surprised to see me. It was easy to see that he was indeed in trouble,  but nothing could have prepared me for the spiral of feelings I fell into.

My brother, the strength of our family, the man I had always looked up to and admired, called in a crisis, vacationed with, and confided in, was clearly a man with addictions. His choices were affecting his wife and children in dramatically negative ways, and the grief of seeing the destruction all around him ripped me apart.

I asked my brother to spend some time with me so we could talk. We went for a drive, and he started to tell me stories of things he could remember from being a child, hard things. Then, he confessed to me how he dealt with those hard things. I told him that he needed to get help. I shared with him what the Spirit had told me, and I told him that if he didn’t tell his family I would.

And, so for him, recovery did begin. But it was long and difficult. For me, after being with him for a few days, I went back home and was faced with deep heart-wrenching emotions. In my despair I turned to my church, but was told to snap out of it and get over it. The lack of compassion and empathy led me to a place of angst before God.

This place was my place of intimacy and healing for my own wounded heart. Day after day, I sat with God. I asked Him questions. I gave Him my bitterness, my pain, my anger, and my fear.

I cried, and cried, and cried.

I prayed for Him to bring healing, to give life. The days went on and on and I continued to feel as if  I were living in a dark place of wandering and pain . . . until slowly I was able to see the little light.

God brought me to a place of deeper compassion and empathy for others. He drew me closer to His heart and taught me to trust Him more. He gave me eyes to see that His Light never goes away. Even when it feels like the dark night of the soul, He is there showing the  way.

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Brown, Brie

Brown, Brie

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