The sky glittered with stars.
Dark, shadowy trees crowded around me, but I kept my phone light turned on and pointed at the road under my feet. I could see pitch black before and behind, faint stars above, and not much else.
I walked alone, but I wasn’t really alone.
God was with me, holding me close and safe like He had since I invited Him into my heart at age five. Even in the lonely darkness, He watched over every step I took.
My phone light only illuminated the path one step at a time. As I walked back to my friend’s house, I thought about how sometimes when we are following God, He gives us enough light to see the next step to take.
Even though we can’t always see where we are going, we have to trust that God will lead us through the darkness.
In life, I've walked through bright, golden days where there's been nothing but blue sky. I've walked through sunsets where the sky was aflame around me. I've walked through storms where it felt like I couldn't walk anymore because torrential rain slammed into me. But even then, especially then, I felt His arms around me.
Three weeks after that dark night in South Carolina, I graduated from Pensacola Christian College, boarded a plane to Lima, Peru, and spent Mother’s Day in the hospital with my mom.
During those two weeks that I spent in Peru, my mom, a missionary there, was diagnosed with cancer and went through surgery. I left Peru not knowing what would happen to her.
For the next six months, God only gave me enough light to take one step at a time as I walked alone through darkness.
After spending a week in the States for a wedding, I flew alone to South Asia and spent the next two months serving there.
That summer in South Asia was full of incredible adventures and new friendships, but my soul was unsettled by the storms and struggles I was facing. At night, I couldn’t sleep. During the long, busy days, I struggled to breathe.
Daily, God sustained me and strengthened me. Although He did not stop the storm, He carried me through the waves.
At the end of the summer, I went back to Pensacola Christian College to start my first semester as a grad student.
For the first time, I was working as a college teacher, an academic advisor, and part-time grad student. I felt overwhelmed and inadequate. Meanwhile, back in South America, my mom was still going through monthly chemo treatments.
Out of strength and tired of the storms, I buried myself in Scripture and in books on Christian living. I read Psalms and talked to God as I watched the sun rise. I prayed for confidence and courage before I taught.
The semester challenged me and grew me. I was still just as weak as I had been when I sat in the hospital room with my mom, but now I was more aware of how strong God was.
I kept going back to Joshua 1:9 NKJV: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
God knew I could not be strong and courageous on my own. He knew that without Him I would fall back into fear’s cold grasp. But I could be strong because He became my strength. I could be confident because my courage was found in Christ.
By the end of the semester, my mom went through her final surgery and returned home to recover. I passed my grad classes. When I finished teaching my last class, students hugged me and slipped me thoughtful cards and notes.
All at once, during that last week of the semester, the storms subsided and the waves went still. I was no longer walking in the darkness. All was quiet and sunlit.
I walk in strength and joy because my Lord is with me wherever I go, and I know that He will carry me through the storms.
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