The dark room. Have you ever been in the dark room?
2017 was an explosive year for me. Speaking engagements all over the east coast. Book sales jumped significantly. New position as chaplain at an academy. Continued success in graduate school. Several souls won for Christ. Explosive!
But before all that, I was in the dark room.
I spent years in the dark wondering what God was doing with my life. He threw change up after change up at me. I was confused.
I was a teacher. Then He asked me to be a stay at home mom.
I did that.
While homeschooling, He asked me to return to school, start over, and do something new. Ministry.
I did that too.
In 2012, while still in school, He told me I would be a chaplain at an academy. It was my dream job. I felt I finally knew where my life was going. I was excited!
When I graduated, I just knew my ministry was about to be on and… well, let’s just say, I thought it was the beginning of great things.
And then I didn’t get the job. Then I applied and didn’t get it again. And then I didn’t get another chaplaincy I applied for. And then I sat for five years. I sat in the dark room. I didn’t know if what I heard had been the voice of God.
I didn’t know if I was crazy, if my life was off course, if I had made the right decisions. I sat in the dark, not able to see even an inch in front of my life.
There were times I cried and hubby didn’t understand. Moments when I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling. I felt so alone.
When film goes into the dark room to be developed, if light gets to the film before it is washed in the proper solution, it will become overexposed, rendered useless, and the image captured will be ruined.
God showed me that I needed the dark room for the same reasons. I needed to be developed in order to survive and thrive in this and every season of my life thereafter. He showed me that shedding light on me too early would have overexposed me.
I wouldn’t have been ready for the ministry He called me to without my dark room experience. It was in the dark room that He washed me over and over again. Some days I felt hung out to dry, but the end of thing is better than the start (Eccl. 7:8-10).
He developed me, and I am closer to His image as a result of the dark room.
It was in the dark room that I wrote my first book. It was in the dark room that I started a nonprofit geared toward ending the poverty cycle for single mothers and their families. It was in the dark room that Purpose Girl was born.
The very frustration I felt was the tension that birthed amazing ministry. I needed the dark room, though I didn’t know it. He was preparing me for something I could not handle then.
It was in the dark room that I learned to love Him more, that I dethroned my idols, that I became satisfied. I needed the dark room to take me to the next level of faithfully following Christ.
So, I’ll ask again. Have you ever been in the dark room? If you have, then you know it can be lonely, brutal, and confusing. If like me, you have come out on the other side, look for others in dark room who need a word, a hug, or a shoulder to cry on.
If you are in the dark room now, hold on tight to the belief that God is developing something in you that can only take place in the dark. You may not be able to see what He is doing, or that He is doing, but faith is the substance of things you hope for and the proof of things you can’t see.
All year I will be posting dark room stories that encourage us to embrace development and never take our hearts off the truth that everything God is doing and allowing is working for our good. It takes faith to stay in the dark room. Just remember, you aren’t in there alone.