We are pilgrims on a journey,
And companions on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
~ Richard Gillard
This is my first blog post in a long time. Life has been busy and it still is. Looking after a small boy, working nearly full time in Christian ministry, regularly preaching in the Methodist Circuit or at my own fellowship – these things take up a lot of time. But these aren’t the reasons. The reason is that I have been on a journey – a journey of deepening love and spiritual growth.
The deepening love in my heart is unusual, and it has come over a great deal of time caring for one person. And I don’t mean my husband or my son, even though I love them more than ever. No, this love is for my closest friend. She and I have known each other for a very long time, but only in recent years has she become close. This closeness has come through the gradual unfolding of a story, her story, through many different tellings and re-tellings, prayer times and night-time conversations.
Her story is nothing short of horrific. I did not know such evil existed in the world to be unleashed against one innocent person. The weight of pain and grief is unbearable, and impossible to carry alone.
And so she no longer carries it alone. I am called to walk with her.
I will hold the Christlight for you
In the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
The journey has been long and tiring, and we are not yet through. But every day I see the smallest steps made into freedom, healing and wholeness, and every day I am changed by what I see. You see, this story is becoming my story. In walking the road with someone struggling with depression, anxiety, grief and chronic illness, I am becoming someone new.
I am learning empathy and love. I am learning just how real the spiritual battle around me is, and how essential it is to fight. I am learning to sing songs of healing when the spoken word is not enough. I am learning to listen to the subtle cries for help from someone who has been forced into silence. I am learning how to walk in step with Jesus, the only one who can save from the depths of darkness.
And I am learning just how relentlessly and single-mindedly our God pursues even the most fragile and broken of hearts.
I will weep when you are weeping,
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joys and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
So now, after much prayer and consideration, the time has come to bring something new to birth, and this blog post is the start.
I’ve been pondering the title of my blog, ‘Reflected light’. Originally, I think I had in mind the way Moses’ face glowed when he had been in close communion with God. But now, I’ve come to understand something different in this title. I am called to walk alongside someone who has been in deepest darkness. For so many nights I have prayed her to sleep, invoking the light of Christ to shine in her heart and mind, to drive away the despair brought about by intense pain and agony. And Christ’s light does shine. But there are places in her that she can’t bring into the light on her own. I need to hold, to support, and to comfort. She must not be alone in her struggles.
I am reflecting the Lord’s light on to her from my own angles and perspective.
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.
So, while her story is her own to tell, part of it is also mine. Particularly the parts where I have learned how to be a companion on the road marked with suffering. She has given me permission to share things, but I will be sparing. However, I pray that through my [occasional] posts she might see that her fight for freedom is already bearing fruit beyond her own life. God is taking the violence, pain and brokenness, transforming it, and already bringing light and healing.