Darkness, unrelenting darkness, that fills the deepest parts of my heart. This dark prison, where I dwell, mocks me. It whispers to me, it calls to me – taunting. Bars created from the cruel words spoken to me. Bricks laid by mistreatment. “Worthless!” it screams, “Unloved!” No one sees where I am. This prison is my own. I claw at the walls, searching for a way to escape, but with every motion I grow weary, burdened by worry and fatigue. I continue to claw at the walls as desperation to escape overcomes me. Just as I hope to loose one of the bricks someone pulls it back in place. “Hopeless!” the walls scream. “Remember!” they taunt.
Why can’t I escape? Every time I get closer to leaving my prison a brick is replaced. Why will they not let me forget? I am not who you say I am. These scars from my past cut deeper than my skin. The wounds fester in my heart, as the infection sets in. Their words become chains, they hold me here. “Useless! Remember!” Again and again, this prison grows deeper and darker. In every lie I hear a truth. They entrap me! No one hears my screams, no one sees me cry. How can they? All they do is call me out, they tell me to remember. No room to grow, or to move forward. No, they add to my chains: another brick to my wall.
Oh, the voices, the voices! My raw, bloodied and cut hands claw at my ears. I try to block out their words. No, no! Make it stop! I beg. Please! I plead through the torment. I try to not believe what they say, try to see the lies. A cry of anguish escapes my lips as I fall against the wall. I look down to my bleeding, broken hands, but all I see is blackness. Darkness swallows my tears, my pleas, and my blood. It watches the infection become septic. “Healing, Father! I beg for peace!” I wail.
“Valued. Loved.” the words are barely heard amid the groans, but I hear them. There was a time when I believed them. There was a time when I would have listened, but now they are drowned out by the shrieks of condemnation. All I see is darkness. Perpetual darkness. There is no way to tell night from day. No place of escape.
“I’m changed! Please! Can’t you see my hand? Can’t you see that I want to leave?” I say to the black abyss. Worthless, Unloved, Useless, remember… their words attack me and grow heavy on my soul. Is there any fight left in me?
“Forgiven,” the word is whispered. I scoff, me forgiven? As if that is possible. “Redeemed.” Though I mock I want to believe these words and the hope they bring. I want to, but I can’t. The voices get louder and louder as they try to drown out the voice of my Savior. With every one of their words my heart bleeds. They cut deep wounds. Darkness. Unrelenting darkness. It fills my heart. Healing is so far away, for the Light heals, but where I am, there is no light. “Healing, Father! I beg for peace!” I reached.
The voices call my name.
“God, You don’t define me by my past! You said I was forgiven! But look at where I am. They taunt me. The voices, they despise me. God, You said I would be free! You said that You would not abandon me! But look at these chains. They trap me. God look at my darkness. God do you see my scars?” I scream, but there is no one here to hear me. “Remember,” the voices say. “Worthless!” they cry.
“Forgiven,” He says. “Crowned,” He whispers. God I want to believe. But here in my prison I am held down by the lies that are told to me. I’m unable to escape because as I remove a brick from the wall you, the voices, put another in its place. It is here that I will remain. My hope is but a dying ember.
But really the only thing that is holding me back from redemption, the only thing that is keeping me from forgiveness is not you, voices – it’s me. I am too tired to fight myself; I’m too weak to fight you. I can’t prevent the bricks from being laid because I help you lay them. My thoughts pull the bricks back to where they were laid. All along I allowed these voices speak louder than the Creator.
But why do I seek your forgiveness, voices? My actions were not against you. Why do I seek your approval? All that you voices do is perpetuate my pain. Oh, God how do I succumb to Your embrace? I sink to the floor and cradle my head in my hands. My tears water the thirsty ground as I pray, “God help me.” And suddenly there is a break in the chaos and I hear something that I haven’t heard in so long – silence. I lift my tear stained face to see that a single stream of light has broken the darkness. It comes through the now crumbling mortar. And as I pick myself up, walking towards the light He whispers,