” Through the dark night of the soul there is still a bride coming forth…” – Rick Pino
I arrived to Brazil filled with uncertainties. I had no idea what to expect. I knew in the depths of my soul I was meant to be here and I knew there was something God needed to do in me during my time at Shores of Grace. Before coming I ordered a book from Amazon titled “Mansions of the Heart”. I’d heard a lot about this book from one of my professors and mentors at Nyack College: Dr. Rob Reimer. My first two weeks here in Brazil I absorbed this book learning many deep, valuable lessons that would prepare me for what I was going to experience here. In hindsight it is amazing to see that God was so intentional about preparing me for the dark night of the soul. He would lead me into during my time here.
Thomas Ashbrook describes the dark night of the soul in his book “Mansions of the Heart” as a time in which the light of God lands on all of the dark and ugly things hidden in the depths of our hearts. It is a time in which God seemingly withdraws and painfully deals with us. My time in Brazil has been just that, a dark night of the soul. A time of growth. A time of healing. A time in which the light of the Father shone brighter than ever on the deep wounding of my heart and the behaviors that were patterned by them.
I have battled with my beliefs versus the selfishness, fears, insecurities, doubts and anxieties that dictated my actions and decisions on a day by day basis. And I came to a real place of brokenness and need which is exactly where God wanted me.
God spoke over me, every single day; “It’s time” as one of my spiritual fathers always says… It was time, it was time for real, authentic, lasting change. It was time for me to stop running away from the ugly things hidden in my heart and instead allow the Holy Spirit to expose and remove everything that gets in the way of His love.
You know it is really easy for us to sit and read good books that teach us about Sonship, or sit in a class that teaches us how to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out. Most of us have all of the right answers. We know what to do and how. But I think many of us are afraid to go deeper. We are afraid of what we will find if we truly allow God to unmask and unveil our hearts. So instead we turn to needing the approval of man, working extremely hard or hustling, perfectionism, jumping from one relationship to another, sexual addictions, drugs, alcohol, etc to mask what’s going on within. We do not understand that God is a good father, that he exposes our ugly with the desire to teach us who we truly are, and replace that which was broken with the beauty of His son.
The dark nights of the soul are never meant to destroy us, yet often times because of our lack of cooperation they do. I remember God leading me into a time like this 2 years ago. Instead of dealing I fled to drinking, smoking and refusing to see what laid deep inside. In the process I hurt many people I loved and even led. This time around I choose to say “yes”. I bore the pain, because after all Jesus suffered a lot more than I ever will. I didn’t turn my face, hide or pretend I didn’t see what was in my heart. I laid still on the operation table and as painful, miserable, hard, frightening it all was, I gave my perfect Father the opportunity to take the cancerous thoughts, failing organs of self, and replace them with himself.
And now as I look in the mirror, as I prepare to leave Shores of Grace and Brazil I see a bride coming forth. I see the beauty of the kingdom on the inside me. I feel the confidence of the spirit of Adoption. I recognize the face of my Papa in my own. For the first time in my 6 years as a follower of Jesus Christ, I see a woman who is fully alive, dressed in white garments of praise, joy, and thanksgiving, girded in the truth and crowned with grace and mercy and walking on the shoes of peace.
May you too say “yes” and not choose the easy way out and see a bride come forth from the dark nights of your soul.