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Moving Forward After Darkness & Despair

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)


In 2016, I was diagnosed with depression, triggered by the crashing of a relationship, which resulted in a wounded heart. Feelings of abandonment and rejection left me feeling alone and unwanted, and eventually I was overcome with a great sadness. I lost interest in many things that used to bring me joy, and it wasn’t until I started counseling that I truly understood what was happening.

Before I began therapy and medication, simply living my life was a real struggle. It was very difficult for me to accept that I had this issue and equally difficult to deal with the symptoms that came with it. In the beginning (and even sometimes now), depression felt like an uncontrollable cloud of despair that was impossible to shake. No matter how much I wanted to be happy, positive, social, or active, I couldn’t—at least not on the inside. I am thankful that I am in a better place now because I am healing, but in that season of my life, I was in bondage.

I remember being on vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I was trying to enjoy myself but felt hollow inside. Thoughts of suicide and hopelessness entered my mind for the first time in my life, a mental state I never thought I’d experience.

One night, I stood on the hotel balcony and the spirit of heaviness seemed to drown me. For the first time, I told myself life was not worth living, and the thought of jumping weighed heavily on me. I would have never guessed in a million years that this would be a part of my story, but it is. Thankfully, the contemplation remained confined to my mind, and I went back inside feeling ashamed, afraid, and hopeless. Although I had no intention of ending my life that night, thoughts of suicide were conceived.

The next morning, I decided to spend time with God. I went back onto the balcony, and I began to worship. I scrolled to my “Sweet Perfume” worship playlist on YouTube and allowed the lyrics to flood my soul. I sang praises to God and I rejoiced. I thanked Him for my life— the good and the bad—and for my future. I repented for the thoughts of harm, and I declared peace and joy over myself. Despite the despair I felt, God had a hope and a future for me (Jer. 29:11). It had been difficult to hold onto that truth, but the Holy Spirit brought it back to my remembrance as I lifted my hands in worship.

I had worshiped before this moment, and I had prayed prayers of freedom before this moment. So, I am not sure what made this moment different from the rest, but that morning my pain, sorrow, lies, unbelief, fear, hopelessness, and shame leapt over that balcony; a place I wanted to be less than twelve hours earlier.

Worship changes things. It changes you.

When you are able to worship in the midst of a battle, even when you don’t want to, chains break, mountains move, wounds are healed, and the enemy loses power. Worship destroys the schemes of the enemy because when we sing praises of truth, he no longer has the lies to stand on. The darkness must flee when we call on the name of Jesus!

When you are praising God, it is almost impossible to have your focus on anything else. Worship realigns our will and heart to God’s will and heart. Our eyes are turned toward His light and away from the darkness of despair. That’s what happened for me and will continue to happen when I choose faith over fear and worship over worry. My friends, true worship will always bring resolve, freedom, peace, and rest within our souls.

Worship is what helps me to move forward in times when I want nothing more than to disappear. It is my antidote to hopelessness and heaviness; it’s the medicine that strengthens my spirit when my soul is weak. You can worship God through dance, art, music, writing, or serving! Whatever you do to show reverence to your Heavenly Father is how you’ll move from darkness to daylight, sorrow to joy, and hopelessness to hopefulness. We were all created to worship God, and in return, we receive holy preparation for the life ahead.

Prayer:

God, you are such a good Father. I desire to worship you no matter my circumstances and regardless of my emotions. Father, help me to keep my eyes on you when everything else around me seems hopeless. I thank you Father that when we worship it is impossible to see anything else but your love and grace. You are my hope. You are my rock. You are my strength. Father, I thank you for being a light in dark places. Shine your light on your people today. Help us to always worship you in spirit and in truth. We need you Father to help us move forward. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Written By: Ashley K. Stovall








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