“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”
There was a time in my life when my existence was characterized by darkness. My family was broken, I wrestled with addictions, and I walked around numb and disenchanted with the world around me. I saw every living thing move past me through a slow lens that revolved on a wheel of severe depression.
To prevent me from getting dizzy in the looking, I became a tenacious navel gazer. I wrote sentences, paragraphs, and lengthy pages reflecting my slow gaze at myself. I was detailed and methodical––in many ways I still am––but I was also dark and sarcastic. I focused on despair without hope. I scribbled from the vantage point of my own reality. I wrote life into characters that lived–—much like many people do–—without any real sense of purpose. For what do we have without hope, but the occasional fascination with navels?
Then, after years of trying to pick apart the details of my despair, my gaze shifted. I took my sarcastic, pessimistic, depressed gaze and I cast it on Jesus. At first, I looked with hesitation and a bit of spite. Having grown up in church in the southern United States, and having been sorely disappointed in the humanity in the church, I had come to suspect that Jesus was a household name that would disappoint. But the more I looked on, the sharper my focus became until a clear vision of Jesus––the man and Savior—became as real as my hand in front of me and I saw Him mighty to save.
Today I walk this life with Jesus planted firmly in my line of sight. From Him radiates a bright light of hope that illumines the color in the world around me. I’ve been given a new life and now live awake to the reality of His Lordship over myself and over all those who pass by, and I see them as He sees them––created on purpose, for purpose. My eyes are full of the light of Jesus. Discovering Him in scripture has only confirmed for me things about His character that I’ve come to know in my own daily interactions with Him. He moves in towards the outcast. He touches the unlovable. He invites those in despair to follow Him.
I now write with the upbeat passion of a woman on the move––in step behind Jesus with hope in my heart. And I am revisiting those characters––friends in fiction––from my past. I am molding them into vessels of hope. I am saying to the dead bones in my literary trash can of crumbled papers, “Arise!” because I believe that they, lost in the imaginary realm of this sinner’s shame, can also attest to the saving power of our Creator and be made known for His glory. Today, my writing radiates with the energy of revival in the direction of our loving Father.