I really struggle with writing a newsletter when I think I have nothing to say. I had such a hard time writing the one I sent out yesterday, not because I had nothing to say, but because of what I did want to say....and here is what I wrote:
The phrase, “Dark Night of the Soul” is familiar to me. I never realized that it is the title of a poem written by St. John of the Cross. People talk about experiencing this dark night of the soul. It is a time of questioning life, faith, meaning, self-esteem, acceptance, work….everything. I recently experienced a “Dark Night of the Soul.” I don’t think it was severe, but it was definitely a time of searching. Life was happening. I was doing what I usually do...reading Scripture, praying, preparing sermons, playing with the children, going to the villages, visiting with friends. Yet, something was missing. Something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Prayers seemed to hit the ceiling and go no further. A sadness came upon me. Things that brought me enjoyment no longer did so. What was happening to me? This has happened to me in the past, but in the way past. And, when it did happen something usually triggered it. This time, nothing.
I called a close friend who is a pastor. I talked. He listened. He gave me some suggestions. I started working on implementing them in my life. I also spoke several times from a good friend who is a counselor. That helped, too. As I thought about what preceded this time in my life, I realized that every couple of weeks I was getting sick. The cycle was sinus infection, getting well. Then, another bug, and getting well. Again, something else would strike. I wasn’t well, but I wasn’t sick enough to “stay home from school.” Then, I got a bad case of malaria. Not a perfect end to the story. Not much after I recovered from malaria, I dislocated my shoulder. (Immense pain!) But, what happened as a result of all of this was that I had to take care of myself. I had to take it easy. I had to rest. I spent more time with God. I poured my heart out to Him in a way I haven’t done for quite awhile. I went back to journaling. I read. I allowed God to love me. I allowed God to speak to me. And, I listened.
I recently noticed that Scripture was alive again...even Numbers and Deuteronomy! There was a spring in my step, a smile on my face and I imagine, a sparkle in my eye. God is good! I continue to speak with these two trusted people as I enter into another season of ministry here in Lawra, Ghana.
I know this isn’t a great “ministry moment” kind of testimony. But, it is my life. And, from it I have a deeper realization of the faithfulness of God.
“Faithful, faithful to the end, my true and Precious Friend. You have been faithful, faithful to me.” ~from the song Faithful One by Chris Eaton and Brian White