Each one of us has secrets. Some of those secrets are wonderful dreams that we hold in our hearts, which we share only with those we know who will respect those dreams and encourage towards the future.
My eldest daughter has a dream which she recently shared on social media, so I know it’s okay to share it here. Since Anna was a very young child, maybe as young as 6 years old, she has dreamed of going into space and seeing the moon. While my son and my middle daughter were busy building legos and and fortresses in the back yard, Anna was putting dolls in space and reading books on the sky and the planets, eager to plot her course. I’m sure she would say that her greatest Christmas gift was the cheap little Fisher Price rocket that came with astronauts and a few little space things. She spent many days playing with that toy and many nights watching the phases of the moon. Her favorite course in college was astronomy. Coincidentally, she recently won a tremendous telescope at a fundraising raffle. Dreams born in the secret of our hearts come to life when we are unafraid to share them with the world. I do believe Anna will go to space someday. I’m not sure how she will get there; but I know she will.
I recall one secret I held in my heart for many months when I was in kindergarten. I lived about three miles from the public school I attended. We walked to and from school everyday. We walked with a large group of kids from our neighborhood and it was all a residential area. We grew up in a different world. The only road that was busy, was the one the school was on and of course there was a crossing guard. My mother showed me how to cross with the crossing guard and to follow the guard’s directions clearly to ensure that I did not get hit by a car.
I was a little girl with a vast imagination. I didn’t need toys to play with, I just needed time and space to launch into my own world. With this wonderful gift, came the difficulties of distraction. Sometimes, I found myself walking to and from school, lost in my imagination or deep in thought about how to solve the world’s problems. I was in one of those places when I got to the crossing guard after school one day.
I didn’t see the little stop sign she waved in my face and didn’t even hear her call to me as I crossed the road. Nothing registered until I heard the squeal of the brakes and saw the car come to a screeching halt just feet in front of me. Then I looked up and saw the daggers in her eyes. My perception of the crossing guard was frightening. She started yelling at me and threatening me and the last words I heard were; “You are going to be in so much trouble because I am going to call your mother and tell her that you almost got run over because you didn’t obey the stop sign.”
I told her that I was sorry and ran the rest of the way home. I didn’t tell my mother about the incident. For months, I had a recurring nightmare of this crossing guard demeaning me and telling my mother about my disobedience. This incidence is so silly to me now, but as a young child, it was a dark secret that confirmed that I was a bad child.
I wish I could tell you that I eventually told my mom and she hugged me and told me it was all okay. But that didn’t happen. It was only as an adult, in a prayerful setting, that this memory came to mind. Then the Lord spoke to my heart to remind me that I was a beautiful child and that the incident was no fault of mine. Only then was I truly free of the negative feelings and childish fears which accompanied this memory.
Yesterday morning, when I woke up, these words came to mind:
“What is hidden in the darkness shall be revealed.”
Then, when I sat down for my prayer time, this was the gospel for the day:
“Do not be afraid…Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops….Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid.”(Matthew 10:26-27,29-30)
The footnotes on this scripture said that Jesus was speaking to his disciples about the coming of the kingdom of God into their own hearts. The “secret whispers in the dark” were not referring to the dark and evil fears and perceptions that hold us captive, but rather the quiet inspiration God is speaking into those fears to free us.
My story of the crossing guard is a childish experience with no life-altering effects.
But, at the time, it changed my perception of myself. Wounds in childhood can be like that. Childhood trauma can appear as silly when we are adults, but they affect us anyway. It was only years later, when I allowed God to whisper to me in the dark and shine His light on that circumstance, could I see that I was not a “bad girl;” that even if my parents had known, they would still have loved me. I also realized that it was not my fault.
I would venture to guess that most of us have secrets in the deep recesses of our minds and hearts that hold us captive to misperceptions of ourselves, others and even of God. Some of those dark secrets involve deep pain from real abuse; verbal, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse. These secrets, even if we have buried them very deep, are still lurking in the dark. They come out in weaknesses in our personalities and character. They surface in addictions to alcohol, sex and in tendencies to disconnect ourselves from healthy relationships and from getting the help we need.
The Lord has His own secrets to speak into the darkness. He speaks life to these areas of death. He tells us not to be afraid of those voices and the demons of the past that threaten us. He promises to give us a hope and a future. He promises us that He will never abandon us.
Take some time each day and allow God to speak His word into the secret darkness of your life. I promise that you will be amazed at what you hear Him say to you. Then take that word of encouragement and love and get the help you need. Find a trusted friend to share what you heard in the darkness to bring it out into the light. Ask for the help in recovery programs and strategies. Seek out a professional for counseling.
God doesn’t want us to hide in the darkness and fear. He is our light. As we are healed, we can bring God’s light into the darkness of this world.
Photo credit: Marcus Gann/123RF Stock Photo
Eileen Benthal has a B.A. in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is a writer, speaker and wellness coach at 40DaysToFocus.com and NOFO Wellness Center. She works with clients locally and around the U.S. who are excited about balancing their health in body, mind and spirit.
Eileen and her husband Steve live in Jamesport and have four young adult children. Their youngest, 16-year-old Johanna, is a teenager with special needs. Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org andfacebook.com/40DaysToFocus.