| from Lauren Roman |

Let’s be honest. It’s a lot easier to talk about our struggles once we’ve made it to “the other side.” Or, if we can’t yet speak in the past tense, it’s a little easier if “the light at the end of the tunnel” is in sight and we know we’re moving in the right direction.

But what about when we’re in the struggle? What if we’re in pitch-black darkness, in the storm, and can’t even see the light? It’s a lot harder to be vulnerable in that moment, to share our heart with someone, to reach out for support. That’s true for most people, from kids to great-grandparents and everyone in between.

For many of us, this world holds more uncertainty, division, and fear – more darkness – than we’ve ever experienced. Whether looking from the perspective of a middle-aged adult who’s lost work and financial security in a volatile economy, or a teen feeling isolated and depressed because nothing is “normal” with her friends, activities, and school, or a “high-risk” senior citizen who’s concerned about his health care… from any angle, any age, there’s plenty of legitimate fodder for anxiety these days.

How on earth do we deal with all of this? If we’re in painful circumstances with no apparent way out – or even if the darkness is rooted in our own mind, will, and emotions – how do we hold onto hope if we can’t see the light?

The answer isn’t on this earth. Our hope isn’t found in what’s tangible or visible. It’s so much better than that! It is eternal, unshakeable, immovable, ever-present, all-knowing, all-powerful, immeasurable, unchangeable, always available, unconditional, perfectly loving… it isn’t an “it” at all.

The answer isn’t a “Change Your Life in 5 Easy Steps!!!” program, there’s no secret formula to follow, or magic pill to pop. The solution to our plight isn’t a thing, it’s a person – a personal God, who knows everything about us and (miraculously!) loves us anyway.

The solution isn’t in what we do, but who we turn to.

Jesus is “the Way and the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6, NIV) He was well acquainted with darkness, suffering, and pain during his time on earth. Jesus understands our struggles. He gave us the solution in advance!

“I am the Light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12, NLT) This declaration is a promise straight from Jesus himself, for all who follow him. The resurrected Savior speaks of us again when responding to his disciple Thomas, “…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29, NIV)

We are blessed – spiritually secure and favored by God, with an internal joy independent of our circumstances – when we choose to trust and obey the One who holds the blessing.

How do we hold onto hope? By believing without seeing.

We believe in the Light even if we can’t see the light!

That “believing without seeing” faith has gotten me through clinical depression, anxiety, binge eating disorder, and post-abortion recovery. It has sustained me (for more years than I care to mention!) as a single adult choosing sexual integrity and a God-honoring, Jesus-following, counter-cultural lifestyle. It sustains me still, one day at a time – on mountaintops, in valleys, and everywhere in between.

I’ve discovered a “law of the soul” during my journey, just as certain as the law of gravity: the sooner I muster enough courage to reach out for help, the shorter my time in the darkness will be.

The way to navigate life’s storms is ridiculously simple and profoundly difficult: talk about it.

Start with God! He’s always available, whatever you need to say. Don’t hold back! David poured out his heart in the Psalms, including anger, fear, and pretty much the whole spectrum of human emotions. God is not afraid of our feelings. So get real and get raw!

Confide in someone you can trust, who will empathize – not catastrophize, minimize, or unwantedly advise – someone with enough wisdom to bolster your faith in the light (even if they can’t see it either!).

Encourage your kids to do the same. Build a family habit of open, honest communication – even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. Being vulnerable is an act of deep courage and unguarded love. 

And it’s amazing how the darkness starts getting lighter when we know we’re not alone.

Lauren Roman is an enthusiastic encourager, creative communicator and truth teller who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began as an actress in her teens (ABC’s “All My Children”) and now encompasses speaking, singing and writing – all to inspire others toward true identity and counter-cultural freedom in Christ. As Lauren shares from her own life with bold transparency, emotion, humor and humility, interweaving practical biblical insights, hearts are engaged and stirred to change. 

In addition to her work as an Associate Writer and Speaker for Celebrate Kids, Lauren keynotes live and virtual events for women, youth and pro-life ministries throughout the US and beyond. For more information, visit: laurenroman.com