Thursday, August 20, 2015


In the past 30 days, I've spent 12 in the hospital: 4 days the first time, 8 days the second.

The pain, the isolation, and the loss of all dignity (I'll spare you the details) resulted in a complete detachment from the people and things I love. I'd love to say I'm persevering and kicking cancer's you-know-what, but I'm mostly curled up in the fetal position. I don't feel like a fighter any more. I simply feel fought. 

My doctor says I'm the "exception." Most people don't have the severe chemo side-effects and complications I do. I feel confused. Haven't I been following the doctor's orders? Haven't I prayed enough? Why won't God make this just a little bit easier?

My optimistic outlook has become overcast with pain. I've gone to a place that is so dark God's light appears to be a far-away flicker. I know you probably don't have cancer, but you've probably been to this intense dark place of alone, too.
  • Because your spouse left you and now the house  -- and your very life -- feels so empty.
  • Because you're still single. You're always the one on New Years Eve with no one to kiss at midnight. 
  • Because that one you prayed would live died any way, and it's 3AM and you're crying in the dark -- again.
  • Because no one wants to hear it anymore. So much time has passed. Why can't you just get over it?
  • Or because you're just different. No one understands you. You feel alone in a crowded room.
Yes, there are those moments (or seasons) in life in which we all feel totally, completely alone. As much as your friends and family want to race into the darkness and pull you out, they can't. And I'd like to challenge you that you wouldn't want them to any way. Because it's in that darkest place that God meets you. 

When that far-away flicker is the only light you see, there are no distractions in your view. You squint your eyes to find it and then you want to crawl close to it -- as close as you can get. Because it's all that's left. And sometimes even though you suffer in agony, the dark place is the best place to be. That's where God says "I'm here. Come to Me."

I've learned through years of trials that God is the only one who can lift you up and pull you out. Take the pressure off your family and your friends. They can't fix you. They can't heal you. In fact, they can't even promise to be there 100% of the time. They're just people -- people with their own problems and a limited amount of time and energy. Hear me: if you're putting your faith in people or things to make you feel better, you're wasting your time. A human being can never meet a God-sized need. You'll always end up disappointed. And you're included. You can't even count on yourself to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You can't even find your bootstraps.

So while I sit in my dark place and search for the strength to push through another day, take comfort that my God is always with me: sometimes a flood light, sometimes a flicker. And the great thing is, God knows no human boundaries. He can come to my dark place and yours, too, all at once. It will get better. You will get better. I will get better.

Find the flicker.



  1. Beautiful song. And in the darkest of dark, He finds you. He found me; I know it to be true. Love, blessings and prayers my friend.

  2. Thank you Emily that even in the middle of your difficult struggle you still reach out to inspire the rest of us! God made you a very special woman!

  3. Emily, we've never met, but we have a mutual friend in Lynn Brand. This was a marvelous post, especially given the difficult struggle you have been going through. The sometimes faint flicker of God you talk about reminds me of a sentiment needtobreathe wrote of in a song that I heard the other day on the radio:

    "In this wasteland where I'm livin'
    There is a crack in the door filled with light
    And it's all that I need to get by"

    That faint flicker or crack of light is really all that is needed to insure that God is there, in the darkness, in the pain, in the pits of despair. I will have you in my thoughts and prayers that you can hold on to this. God bless and keep you, Emily.