Tag: Creation

Two Thousand Eighteen

They say that what you’re doing at midnight as the new year begins is what you will do for the rest of the year.

Two thousand eighteen found me, the solitary occupant of the pew I was sitting in, with my bare toes curled upon the cold wood floors of the church that raised me.

I don’t know what that says about how my year will go.

New Year’s Eve service is a longstanding tradition in my home church. We call it “watch night service,” a nod to how the church continues to wait for the return of her bridegroom. In years past, I’ve held on to my little white candle, flanked by my parents as I watched the secondhand creep to twelve. Other years I’ve linked arms with my dearest friends, women of faith who have created some of my happiest memories with me. But this year, I sat alone.

Which seemed strangely fitting because I’ve spent most of last year feeling awfully alone.

A majority of that stems from my depression, which I have battled against in 2017 more than any other time of my life. I’ve walked through the darkest depths of my mental health, almost scaring myself with how far I’ve tumbled down this rabbit hole. And depression, great and terrible beast that it is, keeps me in the land of darkness, alone and feeling like I am separated from the great love of the Father.

What is it about darkness? It scares us as children, transforming shadows into monsters that hide in our closets and take residence under our beds. When we grow into adults, the darkness reminds us of our vulnerability. Racing hearts betray our bravado. Fear lives in the darkness.

And the early moments of 2018 greeted me with darkness once again, as the lights of the church were flipped off, one by one.

But when I looked to the altar, fire burned.

The motto of our church is “Lighted to Lighten.” It speaks of the incredible experience of grace, and the truths that spill from the beginning of John’s Gospel and the beginning of the world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

John 1: 1-5, 9 (NASB)

In the beginning, God spoke light into the darkness and it’s been shining ever since. Through Christ, we receive the Light of the World and as believers, we take on the great commission that commands us to go into all corners of the earth, bringing light into the darkness.

So on New Year’s Eve, I sat in the darkness of my home church, a church that lay my foundations but has also broken my heart.  And when midnight came, the year of our Lord 2018, six candles centered around the cross gave us light.

Our reverend took one flame from the altar and lit his neighbor’s candle. Who lit another’s. Who lit another’s. Until the entire congregation was ignited.

Let there be. Lighted to Lighten.

There is something about the sacredness of the Creation story that repeats in the first breath of a new year. Out of darkness comes a new beginning. And the hope that He will look at His creation and say, “It is good.”

I have spent so much of this last year feeling like I am not good. That my shortcomings far outnumber my successes. That I will remain in the valley of the shadow of death. That even in a place of worship, I am alone.

Yet the fire burns on.

This is my reminder. That even in my darkness, there is Light at the cross. And although depression ravages my heart, it cannot extinguish the flame. The darkness cannot comprehend it.

So I walk in the darkness, with my bare feet treading this hallowed ground. Holy even in the trials. And while depression and doubt fill my thoughts, the promise of God tells me that the Light will conquer the darkness. Victory is already won.

This little light of mine.

Happy New Year.


I am twenty-four. My legs are dipped into the pool and the stones against my back are still warm from the heat of the day. The cool night’s breeze is blowing through the palm trees overhead and no, that’s not a cliché, it’s not an exaggeration, because it is really happening. We live on an island. 

The stars are easier to see here than they are in New York. She tells me that you can see them better still where she calls home. I cup a hand along my temple, blocking out the bright lights from the building next door, and look up into the darkness. The longer I look, the more I see. They really do twinkle.

Space messes me up sometimes, she says. She lays in bed thinking about the universe and the stars and where does it end? She reminds me that it is constantly moving outwards. Expanding. Infinite.

As we all talk it out together, I am struck with the realization that the best understanding I have of infinity is God. The infinite nature of the universe represents the very essence of the Creator.

And it makes me think of the stillness before the creation when the Spirit of God hovers over the waters. In the beginning, the Word, who will become flesh, is used to speak the cosmos into existence.

Let there be.

So there is.

At His Word, the light cuts through the darkness. At His Word, the sun is given dominion over the day and the moon governs the nights and the stars are hung. At His Word, there is evening and there is morning.

At His Word.

But there is something special about the sixth day, isn’t there?

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.  -Genesis 2:7 (NASB)

Adam, crown of creation, is fashioned. Molded from dust of the ground. Breathed to life. As if Daddy God thought, Not just words this time. This one is different.

So it is with me. Woven together in my mother’s womb, the psalmist says, fearfully and wonderfully made.

But I neglect it too often. The reverence of my creation.

I am so quick to make myself seem less than I am. I pass it off as my kind of humor, all the self-deprecation. But when I dig deep enough, I hit a well of insecurity and shame and doubt.

I am so afraid that perhaps my very DNA is riddled with mistake after mistake and I will never live up to the expectations.

But the Word. The Word who is present at the time of the creation reminds me how the sixth day ends.

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.   -Genesis 1:31 (NASB)

In my haste to pick apart my flaws, I fail to see His goodness.

This heart of mine, stubborn and broken as it may be, is formed by the very hands of the Creator. He creates me intentionally. With purpose. And when He walks through the walls I put up, His light consumes the dark places in me.

Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There. The Lord is here. Living in me.

The Father only knows to create that which is good. The Father creates me. And not because of my own doing, but because He is my Father, I am good.

I am so very, very good.

I find myself at the water’s edge again, on the last days of my twenty-fifth year. The sun sets and the dusk appears. They’re not quite as bright as they were on my little island but the stars begin to peek through.

See that bright one?, he murmurs. Look to the left of it, about two inches. We planted Hubble to orbit our planet and let it focus on a piece of our night sky just two inches wide. After a few weeks, an image came back to its lens that calculated more than three thousand galaxies. Each galaxy containing hundreds of billions of stars. All in two inches.

I let the vastness settle over me and humility comes right on its heels.

And they’re so far away, he continues, that the light takes a while to get back to us. It takes thirty-three minutes for light to travel the distance between Earth and Jupiter…

When we look up, we’re looking back in time.

Alpha and Omega.

He is the beginning and end. Past and present. Future.

“Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.” -Menachem Mendel Schneerson