The Illuminated Life: When You Only Have a Few Embers
Once again, I feel like this post was written for me.
Each of these writers has shared such profound insights, wisdom – clearly opening up their lives and letting us all settle into the glow for a moment. Get comfortable, this post is downright luminous.
When You Only Have a Few Embers
by Zohary Ross
There are times when my faith feels strong like a roaring fire that but there are other times when it feels small like a tiny flame atop a birthday candle.
When the flame of passion for Christ feels very slight and as if it could go out at any time.
Last year was rough for me spiritually. In December I experienced what it means to have a prodigal child for the first time as I went through a particularly rough time with one of my boys which culminated in him moving out of our home and our relationship being strained.
I cannot tell you how heartbroken I was, still am. At the time I went through terrible depression, I felt like such a failure. I didn’t think I would ever leave my bed. I didn’t want to do ministry, I didn’t want to speak, I felt like I couldn’t do work as a life coach because clearly I was a failure. Right? How could I minister to others when my own family was falling apart? I pretty much told God I was done doing stuff for Him.
I honestly felt the darkness closing in and I didn’t think I had enough what? Strength, faith, perseverance, maybe all of those to get through it.
Brene Brown defines grief as the loss of normal. This was exactly true for me. I grieved the loss of what I thought normal was for our family and felt utterly unprepared and unmotivated to come up with a new normal.
But I desperately wanted to believe. I wanted to cling to My God’s promises. I wanted to trust that He had a plan for my life AND my child’s. But I didn’t know how. . .
My husband is an expert fire maker. Not in like a scary pyromaniac kind of way but more former boy scout kind of way. He knows warmth is one of my love languages and can get a mean fire going on the wood stove.
But as that fire burns the logs start getting smaller and burning down until there’s nothing left but a few hot embers and we come down to two options, let the fire go out OR add a few more logs and keep it going. . .
And so it is with faith. There are times where our fire for God can seem at the verge of going out, but just before it does, there is a choice, let it go out completely or keep it going. . .
Last year I needed to keep my tiny flame lit but I just couldn’t do it on my own.
And so I did what I knew my husband would do to keep out wood fires going, he would add a log, he would add more wood but I was all out so I had to borrow some from my friends.
Vulnerability was the key piece of kindling for me as I put out a feeble prayer request via text. . ., “would you please pray. . .?”
This was scary. Being vulnerable often is but like fire it can be contagious.
And I knew I needed help, that this was not something I could do alone and it was worth letting others into my mess, it was worth showing that I didn’t have it all together, that I failed in many ways, that I was weak.
So I sent that text to a few close friends, my soul sisters. I said please pray because my heart is broken and I don’t know what to do, I don’t even know what to pray for.
And then prayers started coming in. And not a whole lot changed except I felt strengthened. I can’t explain it, just over time I felt like I could get out of bed and then I felt like I could make a meal for my family and then play with my little ones and eventually laugh. . .I literally felt stronger and Brighter.
After my December episode, once I was able to get out of bed. I realized I had been listening to the enemy’s lies and that he wanted to keep me from God’s work. So I decided instead of hiding out and feeling guilt or shame for what I was going through with my son, I was going to be open about it.
I’ve talked about my struggles with others, I’ve written about it on my blog, I’ve shared honestly when I speak to groups and I can’t tell you what a blessing it’s been to have women come up to me and say thank you for sharing your struggles, thank you for being real and vulnerable, I feel like maybe I can now too. Or friends who say thanks for sharing your prayer request, I’m struggling with___ would you pray?
Sometimes we need to reach out to others to fan the tiny flames of faith in our lives. And that often means letting them see all our cracks and flaws. And sometimes we need to be the kindling others need to keep their own fires going.
Let us not underestimate that power of faith. Even if you get down to just a few small embers, it has the potential to fan into flame a powerful fire for the Lord in our own lives and in the lives of others.