Confession from the Shadow

Shadows are only cast when there is a source of light

Dear Elle,

I often feel so inadequate to be writing to you about the things of the Spiritual life. I frequently come face to face with my own monumental flaws, flaws that cause dark shadows to be cast on the landscape of my soul. At such times I am tempted to cower in their shade, eyes closed, hands over my face. Cold and accusing, I am convinced that there is no good in me, I am helpless, I can’t even look beyond the darkness of that gloom. I am lost in my pain.

But, I remember God’s truth, even when I don’t feel it. There is hope. Shadows are only cast when there is a source of light. God’s light is shining in me and on me. God’s love is illuminating my life, and it is his kindness that causes my pain. In his light, the contrast between life and death is obvious. My eyes are opened to the times and places I prefer the comfort and familiarity of death. Oh the pain of knowing there is life available to me and I cling to death. Oh the pain of having to die to death.

How in the world is it possible to step into the light? There must be a way out of the shadows.

Take courage, my soul. The fact that you know you are in the dark is the beginning. Realizing you are living in the shadow reminds you that there is light. Remove your hands from your face, open your eyes, look toward the light. Remember the feel of the sun on your face, the warmth of the daylight on your skin, the relaxation you experience when resting in the sunlight. Focus your mind’s attention on the goodness of that light. Choose to remain with these thoughts holding them in your baptized imagination. When you are tempted to avert your eyes from the light and look again toward the darkness, repent. Practice letting yourself choose to stay with the light.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face,and the things of this world will grow strangely dim,in the light of his glory and grace.

This interior turning is the source of the transformed life. Facing Jesus, choosing Jesus, remaining focussed and intent upon Jesus is the only way into the light. It is a difficult practice to develop, we are bent toward the dark, it requires effort and commitment to stretch toward the light. But I am convinced that this work is our cooperation with the grace of God. When we face the light, the shadows fall behind us and we see only the glory of God.

With you in the journey,


Journeying with the Spirit -part 7 of 8


My church has come undone and I am essentially unemployed.

I feel I am in a lost and dark place. For me, at this time, journeying with the Spirit is not about an external destination or activity. It is about a waiting.

There is movement in this waiting, but the movement is not toward the light. It is in fact toward the darkness.

“Clouds and thick darkness surround him,”  says the psalmist.

For me, in this season of my life, to journey with the Spirit is to walk toward the darkness; the mystery; the unknowing.

Like Peter on the mount of transfiguration, the cloud has overshadowed me and I am terrified.

But Jesus is in the cloud. And in it I hear God’s voice. It’s a whisper, but it is clear and it reminds me that only Jesus’ most intimate friends are invited to join him in the cloud.

So I wait and I listen.

If you find yourself in Spirit-led darkness, don’t try to get out of it. Trust it. Wait there. It is in the cloud where Jesus is revealed.

(Part 8 will follow in my next post.)