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When the Lights Go Out-Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 15, 2017

“Let’s look at it like an adventure,” my daughter Michelle and I said to each other. The freakish Southern Alberta snowstorm that shut down the highways, lost all electricity and closed the schools soon turned the experience from grins to groans.

We made the best of no school, no heat, no showers and no dishwasher for almost three days. There was plenty of wood for the fireplace, a gas top stove to heat up food and lots of snow for forts and snow angels. It was all good; until it got dark. Yes there were plenty of candles, story telling and laughter but it all felt different, strange and unfamiliar.

Darkness feels different and unfamiliar.

Walls felt closer, steps steeper and hallways longer. I thought I knew the distance from the bedroom to the bathroom or the length of the family room. But in the dark everything feels distorted and confusing. The candles helped but it was not enough.

But something did feel familiar; it was the feeling of darkness after my husband died. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but nothing felt right. It is like living in darkness, groping for something recognizable; something normal. It’s a horrible place that darkness.

We are not meant to live in the darkness.

We are not meant to live in the darkness we are children that long for the light. The Bible says: “You are all children of the light and children of the day, we do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5 NIV.) So how do we navigate and survive this dark place?

  • Be prepared. You need to have candles and matches in your home for when the lights go out. But it also means that we must have our spiritual and emotional core strengthened when the bottom falls out of our life. We can’t be like my friend who said, “Heidi, when something like this happens to me I hope I have your faith.” We can’t “hope” to have faith, we have to build it by learning to be obedient and trust God with the smaller difficulties in life so that we are prepared for the traumatic ones.
  • Go back to basics. We had no TV or Netflix so the grandchildren brought blankets and snuggled on the couch while I told them stories of my growing up years. When we are thrust into the darkness we need to do what brings us comfort and hope in a safe and healthy way. For me in the dark winter months it was Netflix and books, my evening companions. For you it might mean going back to the basics of putting together a puzzle, quilting or anything that formerly brought you satisfaction and joy.
  • Seek the light. Don’t accept the darkness. Be like my grandson Austin pulling out all the candles and lighting them. For you and me to seek the light means to saturate yourself in God’s word which is “a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NIV.) Read encouraging devotionals and listen to inspiring and hopeful podcasts. Seek out friends who can speak life into your soul. Pray, listen and wait for God’s guidance.

The greatest punishment the world gives people is to put them into darkness through solitary confinement because it destroys their soul. Jesus is the “light of the world.” (John 9:5 NIV) My friend, He is the only one who can shatter the darkness.



Posted in: darkness, Faith, Jesus, light, Overcoming Struggles, Prayer, trauma

One response to “When the Lights Go Out-Heidi McLaughlin”

  1. hmclaughlin says:

    Thank you for your kind words. Blessings on you.

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