NDTD- Jessica Thompson

Sometimes the darkest darkness is the one that you aren’t even aware of. I was so blinded to dark and to light that I didn’t even know the difference. I would even say in some ways I thought the dark was the light; that is how accustomed I was to it. I loved my darkness. I loved feeling hidden from the gaze of those around me. I loved that people only saw what I wanted them to see. My darkness was masquerading as light.

I grew up in a Christian home. My parents loved Jesus, and they did the best they knew how. We were all taught that “being good” was the point of Christianity. Accepting Jesus was just another step to becoming that good person. I learned really early on that the best way to have people accept and love me was to be that good girl. I gave it all I had. I pretty much always did the right thing, and on the rare occasion that I didn’t, I would lie about it so that no one would know I wasn’t that good girl. I was enslaved to this image. I joined my family and church in worshiping my own goodness. I was the girl with the Bible verse on her letterman’s jacket. I was the girl that would always give a testimony. I was the girl that led the jr. high youth group. I was that girl. I propagated the “be good” mentality. I went so far as to go to Bible College to earn a degree in theology. All the while, I knew I didn’t love God. I knew that my heart was far. I settled into my darkness and pretended it was light.

When I was nineteen, God came bursting into my cave and amazed me with true Light. He showed me that all of the goodness I was trying to procure, all of the accolades I had received meant nothing before His command: “Be perfect.” My goodness wasn’t good enough, and I needed the goodness of Another. All of the love and acceptance that I worked so hard to get from family and friends could be mine in Christ by just believing that I couldn’t do it. He gave me the faith to believe what I had fought against my entire life: I needed more than myself.

Since that day, I have had to fight that same battle over and over again. I find myself so easily falling back into the trap of thinking I can earn an “atta girl” from God by my own works. I do this now by thinking if I can just have the right theology, if I can just love the gospel enough, then finally then I can earn my own righteousness.

I have struggled to contribute to the No Darkness to Dark series. I have read others stories and thought, “Wow. That was dark.” My story is nothing like that. I have wrestled with this thought for a month or so. Last night slapped me in the face. I was believing the lie again. I was believing that my enslavement to my own goodness actually wasn’t all that bad.

Reverend Thomas Scott said it best, “I cannot pray, but I sin; I cannot hear, or preach a sermon, but I sin; I cannot give an alms, or receive the sacrament, but I sin; no, I cannot so much as confess my sins, but my confessions are still aggravations of them. My repentance needs to be repented of, my tears need washing, and the very washing of my tears needs still to be washed over again with the blood of my Redeemer.”

And thank God that we do have that Redeemer who loves even those who avoid Him by trying to be him. Those who, like me, just need to hear every day that they can rest in His goodness and forgiveness.

NDTD: He Never Left

When I was about seven years old a friend from school invited me to a “Good News Bible Club” where I heard about Jesus and what he had done for me. I remember the feeling of hope that accompanied the thought that someone might actually love me that much. I was eager to know Jesus and excitedly prayed the “sinners prayer”.

It was about that same time that the sexual abuse from my dad ended but unfortunately there were others who put their hands on me. I learned that sleepovers were almost never safe and being alone with grandpa was a bad idea. I was very shy and quiet and must have looked like an easy target to those whose goal it was to victimize a child.

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NDTD- Anxiety, Surrender, and the Need for Help

First of all I need to clarify that I am not a medical professional, counselor, or even a Lenten expert. This post is in no way trying to convince you to go out and get on meds. It’s simply an outpouring of what God has shown me through my weakness and in my need for him…and for Xanax.

I went to my doctor sometime during Lent this past year. I told her how much I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. I told her about how exhaustion exasperates my anxiety and during very stressful times I tend to spiral out of control. Or at least what feels out of control to me. I told her about the depression that comes; the demon that waits for me at the end of the paralyzing tunnel of fear I live in. I told her how my mind never stops. Like never. Like, I end up watching TV all night long to numb my racing thoughts.

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NDTD: Gunshot To My Soul

To say that my husband and I were having a chaotic season was an understatement. We were finally settling into our new home here in Denver after two major cross-country moves earlier that year. I was halfway through my pregnancy with our third child and chasing after two other littles who were 2 and 1. We wiped butts, went on date nights, and laughed (a little) when looking back on how difficult that time truly was. As close friends would, we gave each other a high five and looked forward to a slow down.

Slowing down to enjoy life sounded dreamy, but in reality it came to a dead stop. I was going along business-as-usual on a sunny Thursday afternoon when turning on my husband’s computer revealed a betrayal I didn’t see coming. He was cheating on me with another woman.

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NDTD: No More Games

Let me tell you a story about a young boy.

This boy, at a very young age was sexually abused by two separate family members, one male and one female. Both were old enough to know they were doing something wrong, but young enough to not be considered adults. This young boy was made to think that he was playing a game and it never dawned on him that there was anything wrong. Though it stopped short of anything occurring that might be considered medically harmful, it was emotionally and psychologically damaging for him as you can imagine. “It was a game and people liked him”, thought the boy. They wanted to spend time with him. In some weird naive sense, it made the boy happy. Then, it stopped. The boy doesn’t remember the exact details of it, but he just knew that it stopped and it left him with a weird feeling inside. For sure, it was good that it stopped, but this boy being so young, didn’t know how to process that. From here on in, like a curse, the boy and his view of intimacy would be forever slanted by his experience. Continue reading

NDTD: Carried to the Shepherd

These events occurred during the Winter (2012-2013)

I stood there watching my friend put my clothes on hangers. I had no energy, but attempted to “help.” I looked at her for any sign that there was still hope for me. She didn’t look me in the eyes when she said, “You’re a good Christian, BUT…” And then she spewed out a list of things I needed to do better. I replied sobbing, “I am NOT a good Christian. I am NOT a good steward of what the Lord has given me, and I have hurt so many people. I have to get my act together.” I don’t remember her response; I just remember retreating into my closet trying to hide the tears—all I could see in her eyes was that I was a failure.

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NDTD: Leaving the Pigsty

It started when I was nine.

A few days before, some friends were giggling about this thing called sex. Curiosity had been stirring within me, and I finally did it: I searched for it on Google. Up came countless links to pornographic websites. I clicked on many of them, and the screen was soon covered with explicit pop-ups. A flood of intense shame came over me. But I wanted to see more.

I almost got caught soon afterwards, and I resolved to never do it again. I came too close to being exposed, and the shame was too much. I soon learned that you hide to survive.

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No Darkness Too Dark

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

no-darkness1We’ve all been hurt. In numerous ways. There’s the hurts that come and go throughout the day because we’re humans interacting with other humans (big and small). These hurts are small, small enough to be soothed with a nice word, a tub filled with warm water and Calgon, or a glass of wine (or all three). Then there are the hurts we’ve experienced in our lives that are bigger than a glass of wine or a kind word; those hurts are the ones we store away in the many closets in our mind.

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