Gratitude in the Darkness

 

 

by Hadley Hustead

 

 

A few years ago the Lord encouraged me to start looking for Him in small places and ordinary moments. I was enchanted by the task and decided I would write them down every night before bed to keep record. It quickly became addicting— my secret game with God. I started to realize things like retrieving warm clothes from the dryer, using Windex on a dirty window, and breaking the spine of a new book were more than sensations, they were little gifts of joy from God. My new hobby of recognizing glory in the tiny things taught me that God is constantly and lovingly orchestrating moments of small joy and contentment around every corner.   

It is pretty easy to identify God in happy things. However, this year has been different because I became blind to those portals of joy. In January, I was diagnosed with depression. Although I was still surrounded by the joyous light of God, my vision became cloudy. I had become emotionally numb to almost everything. I was living in the dark. Robbed of my keen attention to beauty, I was worried that the Lord did not exist in dark. Depression took away the joy of the mundane gifts by which I was enchanted before. My diagnosis was the perfect opportunity for self-pity. Darkness invites the embrace of misery and encourages you to choose oblivion. The depression blinded me from seeing God in plain sight, so I had to search with a blindfold over my eyes. I trusted I would find Him because I was captivated by His relentless pursuit of blessing me when I started writing down His gifts four years ago. However, this time the lights were off so I had to walk by faith and not by sight. It was terrifying. I feared my heart was too broken.

 

Throughout this season, I have held dearly to Psalm 34:18, which promises, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” I was not sure how to ask God for help out of fear that I might be disappointed, but I trusted in my practice of gratitude. So I started searching, and—sure enough—He was there. My encounters with Jesus during my depression have been laced with a tender love. The Lord has guided me gently, loving me in a way I never thought I would need. God prepared my mother’s heart to tenderly care for me. He nestled me in a safe home so I could heal. He gave me three friends who selflessly loved me in my most fragile state. God has stopped at nothing to heal my broken heart and love me back into lightness. Through His divine healing and intentional love, I started to discover joy again.

 

My list of gifts has become a portal to discovering religious dimensions within seemingly trivial experiences. I have now recorded several thousand gifts. Whether I am consumed by sorrow, joy, or numbing darkness, writing out my gratitude gives me an avenue to rejoice in God’s relentless presence and magnificent glory. The simple, low maintenance task has transformed my life and rescued be from the self-pity of mental illness.

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Comments: 8
  • #1

    Marjorie Hustead (Thursday, 28 September 2017 12:19)

    What a beautiful testamony to the goodness and care from our Lord!! You should be on the staff of a catholic magazine ! What a wonderful insight into Gods love for us.

  • #2

    Monica Hustead (Friday, 29 September 2017 10:08)

    You have climbed a cliff, God is showing you the gifts and talents you have to conquer the mountain. It's exhausting and challenging, and I am always here for you to support you and embrace you. You are full of bountiful inspiration, authenticity, hope and joy. I feel blessed to have you as my daughter. My Hadley!(but willing to share her with the world) Thank you, Lord.

  • #3

    Suzette Kirby (Saturday, 14 October 2017 13:14)

    Hadley your faith is ROCK SOLID. I have learned so much from you today! So so touched, precious girl!! Jesus is sooo good!❤️❤️
    Xoxoxo

  • #4

    TIM ENGELHART (Saturday, 14 October 2017 14:17)

    Beautiful testimony, Hadley
    His love for you is bottomless and your search for Him will always be rewarded.
    Love,
    Uncle Tim
    xoxo

  • #5

    Uncle Rich (Saturday, 14 October 2017 14:52)

    Dearest Hadley,

    WOW! The combination of your honesty, your deep Faith, and your remarkable writing skills is inspirational! Thank you! You have learned to see the sunrise even on a cloudy day, and that is something we can all learn from. I can’t waot to read your next post!!

    With lots of love and prayers of encouragement,

    Uncle Rich.

  • #6

    Kelly engelhart (Saturday, 14 October 2017 15:35)

    Hadley what a blessing you are. Reminds me of the joy I found reading 1000 GIFTS about gratefulness. Your writing is deep and beautiful! You are touching hurting people thru your writing❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • #7

    Steve (Saturday, 14 October 2017 20:01)

    Hadley,
    Your article became my quiet time tonight! So happy for you to have been Blessed in this area. Please share future writings! And, let’s ski this winter, please!

  • #8

    Kelly (Saturday, 14 October 2017 21:45)

    Hadley - this is beautiful. I could just cry seeing the ways God has shown his love to you!! You are the most beautiful, special person and an amazingly talented writer who can give hope to so many who are hurting. I cannot wait to hear more from you!


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