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Why Everybody Needs God in the Dark + Enter to Win a Free Copy

God in the Dark Sarah Van Diest

Only a handful of years had passed since my divorce when I studied the book of James. My heart was raw, as were my tears. Wet ink melted onto more than one page in my Bible but one verse stood out:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2, 3 [emphasis mine]

 

James says when we face trials, not if. Trials are a given this side of heaven. I recognized how this truth not only beat true for my life, but also for others, for those we love.

 

It’s because of this that I wanted to serve on the launch team for God in the Dark, by Sarah Van Diest. I believe this book puts feet to 2 Corinthians 1:3,4:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

 

Today’s giveaway offers you the opportunity to share God in the Dark with someone in your life in need of comfort.

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I met Sarah Van Diest at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference several years ago. Her quick smile coupled with an old poetic soul told me we would surely be friends. I am honored to welcome her to our creative community.

God in the Dark by Sarah Van Diest

Guest post by Sarah Van Diest, author of God in the Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In.

 

Sarah, what was the first experience that opened your eyes to the power of words? What gave you the idea to send letters to someone who is struggling?

 

These two questions go hand in hand for me. The first gave rise to the second. I fell in love with words and the pictures they created in school. In a class with a teacher who loved words, we learned how to journal and I realized words created a safe place for me. But it wasn’t until I was asked to write letters to people who were going on mission trips with our church when I learned the power those beloved words held to impact others.

We called them Barnabas Letters. For each person on the team, and for each day, those of us who were so inclined wrote a letter of encouragement, which the team packed in their bags for their journey. So each day of the trip, each person had a letter to read. I loved this idea. And then on my first mission trip, around the age of 14, I couldn’t wait for my very own Barnabas Letters to open and read. I loved how each letter was so different. The handwriting, or type, or crayon color, whatever they used to bring their idea of encouragement to the page was like a window into their world. I loved them so much! And I thought about their words all day long.

As I grew, I continued this way of encouraging people in my life, especially when I couldn’t be with them or there was nothing tangible I could do to mend their circumstances. It was out of this practice that the book, God in the Dark, was born.

How the book God in the Dark was birthed from Barnabas Letters @SarahVanDiest Click To Tweet

 

What’s one thing God taught you while writing this book?

 

I used Psalm 119 as the framework for this set of letters and in those verses I was reminded of the blessing the Psalms are. God was so kind to give them to us. They show humanity is such honest light, and we relate. We see a man who feels the pain, even anguish, of this life and who is trying with all his might to remain faithful. That sounds so familiar. And then we see the Father’s faithfulness to him – regardless of the psalmist’s “success” at remaining faithful himself.

I needed this reminder.

 

What has it been like to be on the other side of the publishing road?

 

I’ve been an editor and an agent, but I had never been an author. This was new for me. On the editor side, I was deeply connected with the content of the book, invested in the message and whether it was well conveyed. As an agent, I was committed to my authors. Supporting them was my number one goal and priority. Both of these endeavors were good and worthwhile.

What I had never experienced before in the professional realm was the direct impact of words I had written on the hearts of readers. The way the Lord has already used the work in God in the Dark has been something I have witnessed firsthand in the lives of many on my launch team. I have been in awe throughout the process of this launch. I had no idea.

I am forever grateful for the chance to have this reach into the hearts and lives of fellow sojourners.

{Thank you, Sarah!}

 

Is there some way Sarah and I can pray for you today? Or is there a particular part of the post that speaks to you?

We hope you’ll enter the giveaway for the hardback copy of God in the Dark. Simply leave a comment! The winner, chosen by Random Name Picker, will be notified this Friday, April 6th.

 

 

Sarah Van Diest

Sarah Van Diest is a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. She’s done this for years for numerous friend and will continue to, Lord willing. It’s her gift them. It’s hope written down.

 

 

 

 

God in the Dark is available through Tyndale Publishers, Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and other fine retailers. You can also find God in the Dark on the NEW resources page!

When Joy’s Fragrance is Most Potent


by Cathy Baker

Last year I had the privilege of leading a writer’s workshop for a retreat focused on caring for mothers who’ve lost a child of any age. I marveled at their strength, faith, and joy, despite the heartbreaking circumstances facing them every waking day.

Someone who knows much about this kind of pain is Dee Dee Parker, an extraordinary friend of mine, who lost her 34 year-old daughter to cancer several years ago. It’s because of the forever fragrance released through Dee Dee’s life that I asked her to share how joy is possible even on the darkest of days. 

◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

Brooke’s death was imminent. 

I remember gazing into her eyes, memorizing her face. I longed to gather her frail body in my arms, a mother’s arms, designed to protect and run away to where pain could no longer ravish, and death could not steal her life’s breath. 
I remember thinking how our hearts have always beaten in tandem, when her heart stops, so will mine.

Truth:  

I could not whisk her away. She was heaven-bound. Death did come; I was left behind. Brooke’s heart stopped beating. My heart continued beating, but not my will. 

In the wee hours of morning under an ink-stained sky, I crumbled to my knees. 

Yes, I paint a harsh picture, but that’s because so many of you find yourselves in a place so black, so painful, and appearing void of joy. 

Since Brooke’s home going, I’ve been asked numerous times, “How have you continued on? How have you found joy?”

Truth is, I didn’t have to find my joy. My joy is in the Lord therefore it is constant, strong, and eternal. Happiness, on the other hand, like the fickle thing it is, had flown. I wasn’t happy seeing my daughter suffering or knowing I’d never hear her say mother again on this side of heaven. 

Brooke was a believer; therefore, according to scripture, she is with her Savior and Lord. She no longer is paralyzed from cancer’s tentacles. Praise the Lord she has a glorified body, she dances in stardust. Brooke lives, and I will be with her again. I have reason to rejoice!

I pray that you know Christ, the foundation of joy; it comes by establishing an intimate relationship with Him. I don’t know your names, can’t see your faces, but I can pray for you in your time of heart-rending hurt. I will fling the words of Romans 15:13 to the very courts of heaven on your behalf: 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

Precious readers, I wish you all joy unspeakable.  

◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

Thank you, Dee Dee, for bringing difficult but powerful words to the surface for the benefit of others. 

Friends, Dee Dee welcomes the opportunity to pray for you. She also wants to make herself available to those who’ve experienced the loss of a child or grandchild by lending a welcoming ear. If you would like to contact her, please email me or leave a comment. She can also be found on Facebook. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who
comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we
ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3,4
Don’t forget! There are only three more days left to put your name in the drawing for the teacup and saucer from my personal collection. Visit this post and leave a comment to register. A name will be randomly drawn on Friday, April 10th.
 

Who Will Be Known By Your Adequacy?

Hand me a staff and cloak ’cause I’m feeling like Moses today.

Remember Exodus 4:10-12?

Moses said to the Lord,
“Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the
past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and
tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Recently, I was asked to lead a workshop, Writing to Heal, for a one-day retreat specifically designed to minister to parents who’ve lost children. 

I’ve journaled for years but I thank God I have no experience in this specific area of grief. Soon after accepting the opportunity, concerns began cropping up. What do I say? How can they relate to me? Where do I begin? 

I feel so inadequate. And the truth of the matter is, I am. 

But while studying Exodus 4 this morning, six words climbed from the Book and curled up snug against my concerns: Now go; I will help you…

My responsibility is to prayerfully prepare while resting in the knowledge that it is through my very weaknesses that God will be strong, and above all, glorified.

You will be known by your adequacy. God will be known by your inadequacy.
Cal Jernigan

Is God calling you to do something outside of your comfort zone today? Please share so I can be praying for you and I appreciate your prayers as well!

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