(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Editor’s Note: October, 2019
By Sarah Komisky
I used to be afraid of the dark. When I was a child, I watched the orange tree outside my window cast shadows in my room and felt the chill go down my five-year-old spine when I perceived the creepy branches to be something out of a Tim Burton movie. Somehow my mom always made it better. When I’d call out for her, she’d rush in and reassure me that “spooky tree” was really the same tree in light that gave me shade and yummy fruit to eat in summer. Somehow, it wasn’t so scary after all.
I used to be afraid of the dark. When I was in my teens and early twenties, the clouds rolled in once more and darkness fell upon my life after I slipped into an unseen pit and was hit with difficult life storms. I am no stranger to sadness, pain, or what it feels like to have your very breath taken from you in sheer panic. I’ve shed tears on the cold bathroom floor, hoped that medication would help remedy my distress, had many sleepless nights, and been so debilitated by anxiety that finding courage to step into the car, live life, and leave home was an accomplishment every day. During a different season of circumstantial depression, I again called out in desperate surrender at my lowest point. This time to my Dad – my Heavenly Father for forgiveness, for help, for true relationship. I broke, and in my brokenness God heard. Speaking tenderly in my fragility and sorrow, He said, “…her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned…” (Isaiah 40:2, NLT). I was done fighting. The war was over.
I used to be afraid of the dark. When the dark casts shadows in the life of a loved one battling clinical depression, my soul hurts to see them hurt. I felt the cold isolation. I saw the grey eclipse the person I knew them to be. Worry flooded my mind until light entered with a promise: “When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in” (Psalm 11:4, NLT).
I discovered the truth that darkness never wins.
We all have different stories and experiences, but here is the commonality – we all have felt what it’s like to be in the dark. Whether it has a been a firsthand or secondary experience, we all have been affected by mental health. It can stir many emotions, but anxiety is at the helm. We can fear much, even having the conversation about mental health can be scary for our culture and for the Church, who is still trying to understand this issue. However, we must have a conversation and the time is now. While darkness might be a reality in our world, this is what we must know: we do not need to fear the dark.
God’s first words to creation were ‘Let there be light.’ The psalms talk about walking through the valley of death with the promise that God is with us so we don’t have to fear. When the storm rose in the dark and Jesus’ friends were terrified, Jesus spoke to the storm and it was still. When darkness invaded the earth at Christ’s death, death was swallowed up in victory, taking away its sting forever in Christ’s resurrection.
This is great consolation.
The words by Mosaic MSC in the song “Tremble” say it well. Jesus makes darkness tremble, and He silences fear.
Although darkness is a reality we all will face in one way or another, we at Marked Ministry believe in the God of Hope. His hope is so real, it’s worth proclaiming. This is why we as Christ followers, who have placed our hope in Jesus, want to share our stories. All of them are different. All of them are real. We hope these conversations break stigmas of fear surrounding mental health, especially in the church. We pray we can grieve together, get honest together, ask questions together, find hope together, and advocate together.
Above all, let us be resolute in saying we refuse to fear the dark.
This is our Hope Issue, dedicated to the Wilson and Stoecklein families and all those affected by mental health.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
– John 1:5 (NIV)