A Search For Sunshine

It’s behind locked doors, in the darkness and stillness of her bedroom that her thoughts, her feelings, her fears come alive. She sits, she stews, she wonders, what will happen; what will come next. As she hears the rumble of intense conversation seeping in from her parent’s room next door, she struggles to escape her reality. It wasn’t long ago, family took on a different meaning. Now torn, fractured, undone, the past only leaves for memories and envy.

The torment of change, life long adjustment, was swarming in the thoughts of this young girl God had placed in my path. In this moment, it was her inside out, upside down life that carved our conversation. Her loneliness, confusion, and anger seeped into our discussion, her goal; to appear tough, unaffected, and normal. But how is that possible when your parents, the one’s you’ve put your trust in, the two who so long ago became one, were about to divide?

Her reactions, her reflex, took her down a road of harm, not harm of self, but of spirit. Turning to earthly comfort, rather than heavenly. Allowing the negative influences to effect personal decisions; music, friends, movies, language … She recognized the lack of God and godly choices in her life. I challenged her. She shared her need to return to youth group at church, engage more in her Christian School’s weekly chapels, and the desire to stop hanging out with friends that detract her from her focus. Aside from making these adjustments to her environment, what she shared next left me feeling empty, frustrated by her tainted reality.

This sweet girl, through her loneliness, felt she had to go to these certain places, hang with certain people, and sing certain songs to find God. This broken little heart, so lonely, so lost, spent several months in this family storm, feeling a distance from her maker. I had good news to share …

It was at this point in our conversation God threw me a little nugget of His wisdom. A thought so clear, a thought I, personally, have never even considered. I shared with her about my husband’s accident when he was 18 years old, leaving him unable to move, laid up in a hospital bed for months as his body healed. During these many days, God was there with him. Although he could not physically attend church, or flip through the pages of his own bible, God did not leave his side. God is not a place! It was through my husband’s stillness, inability to lift his arms and legs, moving only his head, that he felt the thick presence of God. Not only a time used to heal his body, but a time God strengthened his heart. Many nights and moments left in his room without visitors, lost in loneliness, discontent about the future, and grief over reality. God met him there and turned his tragedy into a testimony of grace and love.

Sometimes we need to be in a dark spot, a dark room, for God to show us light. Sometimes we need to be lost, lonely, afraid, to hear his voice leading us closer to him. It’s never a fun moment to share such hurt in the life of a friend, let a lone, a teenager. My heart throbbed, but God replaced it with joy, as he was able to shed light on her dark situation. Through his love, through his grace, he cares. We will hurt, we will stumble, He will pick us up, and that day I got to witness just that.

Sarah Dykema Custer State Park South Dakota