How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Treasures in Dark Places

"I will give you treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."  
Isaiah 45:3

I have had two deep, dark times in my life.  The first was in my twenties when I suffered a miscarriage.  This loss was so great it staggered me, but God gave me Kirsti and my joy returned.  The second time was in my forties over a decade ago. I ran recklessly into a year-long journey of depression and despair.  I was emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually drained to the point of collapse.  Even now, as I think back on those days, a lump forms in my throat.  Darkness I had never experienced before descended on me and at the worst of it, I lay tightly curled in a fetal position in my bed.  The tears just would not stop. But it was in this place that God gave me a "Light to love on the way," and I have not been the same since...Praise God!

A year before, my boss, the principal at the school where I was teaching, told me:  "Cherri, you are a formidable woman!"  I couldn't help but smile at the truth of it...I was formidable.  I felt formidable.  I could do it all:  be a mother, a wife, a teacher, advisor, activities director, sister, friend, leader in the church, anything to anybody.  I was a great savior and an awesome holy spirit as well.  My boss was right...I was pretty darn formidable.  And then I found a lump in my breast.  My mom and aunt both had breast cancer, so lumps in breasts were not usually a benign symptom in our family.  At first all the tests came out negative, but they were going to "keep an eye on them," so I would be coming back for mammograms every six months.  Then came the call one evening after my first recheck, shortly before I was to leave for an East Coast trip with a group of seniors...the lumps had grown...that was NOT a good sign.  My doctor told me I would have to have surgery to remove all the lumps and as soon as possible.  So to cement in your mind just how "off" I was, I told them the surgery would have to wait until after I returned from my trip.  Stupid.  I could not stomach the thought of failing anyone, because I never failed. 

How many times did I hear with pride, "Cherri, you sure have a lot on your plate"?  Yep, I did...a lot on ALL my plates and my plates were spinning.  I had them humming through the air like an acrobatic artist while I walked the wire not even thinking of the possibility that one of my plates might fall.  But a breast cancer diagnosis hanging over my head and always ALWAYS in the back of my mind, took the "formid" right out of my "able."  You can't feel it in the moment, but the wire is starting to shake.

I had my surgery a couple days after returning from the East Coast and purely by His good grace and mercy, the lumps were all benign, but a different kind of cancer had invaded during the year...a fear of failing...of not being the "strong" woman I thought I was.  Fear of failing morphed into flat-out terror and plates began to fall all over the place.  As my "formidable" spirit ebbed away, I found I couldn't be anything to anybody.  I crawled into bed, pulled the covers over my head and felt darkness fill every cell of my body, every thought in my mind, every desperate emotion that I felt.  

My sweet husband, once again, had no clue to what to do with this creature who now inhabited his wife's body.  My children were scared, too.  I wasn't the same, not at all.  Peter convinced me one Sunday morning to go to church.  We sat in the back of the church, trying to stay away from anyone we knew.  I just did not have the strength to even pretend I was "fine."  And then the Holy Spirit began speaking to me through my pastor, David Parker, and tears, once again, began to fall.  By the end of the service, I was on my knees in front of my seat sobbing my eyes out, and I DID NOT CARE WHO SAW MY WEAK, PATHETIC, BROKEN SELF.  Sweet, sweet victory in brokenness!  He had "summoned me by name," and in an instant, through the darkness, the Lord began to pile treasure after treasure on me!  

Jesus, He is the "riches" I found in my dark places.  He is the Light that penetrated a darkness I thought hopeless of light.  He is the treasure I found in the midst of dark depression and despair.  And though, like, Kay Warren, I have never prayed for "treasures of darkness," I have prayed prayers of gratitude for those times, and I have come to see them for the priceless treasures they surely are.

I "stumbled" recently upon an old song by Michael Card entitled "Joy in the Journey."  I love so many of the lyrics in this song, but the lines at the beginning are a sweet promise to us:   "There is a joy in the journey.  There's a Light we can love on the way."  Sit back, close your eyes and let the music and words of this song remind you of the hope we have in our Savior.

Redeemer!  Redeemer!  Redeemer!  Redeeming darkness into light!  Despair into Hope!  Giving sight to those blinded by depression!  

Please, if you have treasures from the darkness...if you have made it through a dark time and found "riches stored in the secret places," take the time to share it on the blog.  There are those in the midst of darkness right now who need to know there is "hope for the hopeless."  If you have trouble posting, e-mail your post to me at, and I will post it for you.  

Light and love to you, my friends, even in the darkness,



  1. Ah, Cherri, we have a common theme in our darkness -- pride of self. How easy it is for us as women to become "everything to everyone." We complain loudly sometimes about the unfairness of it all, but secretly we cling to it because we often relish the exalted position.
    In my case, in my mid-30's, like you, I was juggling many responsibilities -- working in a corporate job, raising 2 children, I was the spiritual leader of our family, a wife, homemaker, etc. I was very unhappy in my marriage. My husband didn't appreciate me like everybody else did. I constantly looked around at all the other 'wonderful' men whom I was sure any one would make a much more caring husband than mine. Of course, I would never act on such a thought, but I entertained them all the time. It was my harmless escape. Or so I thought.

    Then I fell into a deep, deep depression. I'd never know anything like it; I even had to take a leave from work I was so unable to function. I tried counseling & medication, it didn't help. My prayers hit the ceiling. God was silent & I felt so alone and empty.

    It was so dark I thought "maybe there isn't really a God." As that thought occurred, a heavy darkness fell over me and I cried out. I thought there has to be a God, but why doesn't He hear me, help me?

    It was sometime later the depression lifted for no apparent reason. But that is when I saw myself for what I was...a terrible sinner, saved by grace. A white-washed seplucher full of dead man's bones. I looked so good on the outside, but on the inside I was full of the rotting decay of pride and self-deceit.

    Oh how I felt free for the first time in my life. Free to be the "real" me. Humbled to love and appreciate what God had given me in my husband.

    Sadly, we had some challenging times ahead of us, but God was at work in my heart and life, and because of that, I could stand through anything with Him. And still can.

    It is good for me to be reminded of these times, for once again, I can rejoice in His love and be reminded that He, indeed, is with me regardless of how I feel.

    Thanks for letting me share!


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  3. Loved this post! Thank you for sharing.
    You know I can never keep things short, so I wrote my own blog post about it and will include the link here (hopefully it works). This was probably not my darkest time, but the feeling of despair followed by the feeling of being rescued by God were definitely something I can relate to, as I looked back on this particular instance.

    Kisses from God

  4. It worked beautifully, Maria! Loved your post!!!!!!


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