“There was a time when [you fill in] defined my life and left me physically void, cocooned in a prison of fear. It stole my every hope and dream. But God’s love and His Word set my heart free. I learned that within the confines of God’s story, nothing had been stolen from me, rather everything was given to me. My life, which felt so out of control, was in reality in complete control – God’s control.”
The above paragraph really struck me when I first read it. The author’s “blank” above was something none of us would want to go through nor would want anyone we know go through. But we all have our dark corners, that can control our lives, take our joy and smother us. I could put numerous different words in the blank: rejection, sorrow, two children’s deaths, etc. Yet, reading on, what hope we have, that indeed, nothing was stolen from me. No, my children were not stolen from me . . . I have hope to see Angela & Matthew again, and I know because of their untimely deaths, others have come to know Jesus. No, I’ve not had control over my daughter, Jessica’s health, but I’ve seen God orchestrate her well being beyond what I could ever imagine!
Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story, by Wendy Blight, is the personal story of a tragic dark hour in her life that caused great pain, I cannot imagine, nor do I want to. The portion I left out in the quote above is “a rape victim”. One week after Wendy’s college graduation she was violently raped and assualted in her apartment. She asks the many questions we all do when going through the valleys of life, “Where was God?” and “Why did God allow this?” For many years she lived in her own prison of fear, dispair and hopelessness. Even after she was married and had children, she did not want to be left alone, always making arrangments to go somewhere or have someone stay with her.
“Satan took every opportunity to return me to a place of vulnerability and weakness. He knew fear paralyzed me and left me ineffective as a wife, as a mother, and as a friend. Even more significant and more pleasing to him, I was ineffective to God.”
I don’t know the fear of such violence and being alone. But I know the fear of letting children drive away in their car (or worse yet, a motorcycle), going away to camp, or to college. What if a deer runs in front of him? What if “games” are played at camp that took my son’s life? What if my daughter who is on coumadin gets hit in the head by a volleyball? What if . . . and Satan continues to tear away my (our) joys and those around us.
Wendy shares her testimony of forgiveness, healing and major transforming by grace because of the power of God and His Word. She does not want the focus to be “rape” but what God can do with the dark corners in your life and how you can find your hidden joy.
I want desperately for you to believe that God has a redemptive plan for your life and that no one and nothing can take that from you. No circumstance is too difficult and no choice too reprehensible, and no pain too deep for God to redeem. Before my rape occurred, God had set into motion His plan to heal and restore my broken heart. His only requirement was that I take the first step. I had to surrender my brokenness, my sorrow, my anger, and my pain and place it fully in His hands. When I took that step and sought Him for my answers, His redemptive plan immediately began to play out in my life.
In the back of this 206 page book is a “Guide for Reflection and Study” which would be ideal for group studies. From Chapter One, “Valley of Weeping” here is the first question for thought . . .
1. Do you currently have a loss, a hurt or trial that is burdening your heart?
a. How does this burden currently affect your life?
b. Have you tried to deal with this issue through means other than God?”
The author also has a blog andhas an on line group going through her book and sharing about the questions in this section. I invite you to read Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. It’s one of those books you might want to purchase a couple of – to give away and/or to have on hand. It should be in your local library and church library. Give one to your local rape crisis center. It’s a must read book.
And I am giving away my copy to one of my readers. Just leaving a comment ABOVE enters you. If you write on your blog, in a Facebook note, CafeMom journal, or “someplace” on the internet about the quote and this book give-way AND leave a comment with the link below, you will be entered two times. (Maximum two entries per person.) Entering for this drawing ends on Sunday, June 28 at 11:59 EST and you must return here and leave a note with the announcement along with your e-mail address to claim the book.
Be sure to read the comments below and visit the others who are participating in this In Other Words quote and learn what has defined their lives that God has worked and remolded them. Come back here on Friday for the new In Other Words quote and announcement of who will be hosting it. If you would like to refer others to this post, here is a shorter link: http://tiny.cc/hiddenjoy