I think the following writing may very well be the most intimate thing I have ever shared. This was something I just recently found out and frankly, I had to sit on it for a week before I could ever share it. However, I felt it necessary to share.

One day last week, I was having a conversation with my daughter, Breanne. She had met a new friend, a young woman minister whom she really enjoyed speaking with. She was telling me about a conversation she had with this woman.

She shared with me how she told her about the difficult challenge I went through with my Dad dying of cancer, then Jesse dying and then one year later my sister went to be with the Lord. She shared several things with this woman in conversation. She said the woman said ‘how in the world do you continue to minister during times like that?’ Breanne responded… ‘I love to listen to my Mom minister, and I will tell you, the best teachings she did were during those times, the most anointed messages came out of those times.’ That blessed this Mom’s heart more than words can say…however, the next thing she shared broke my heart that day.

She went on to tell this new friend that it had been a very difficult time for me personally but I continued to minister. She said ‘you would have to know my Mom, she cultivates peace in her home. She always keeps worship music playing and she prays and worships often in her home, when you walk in her door, peace hits you immediately,… you walk into peace.’ She continued ‘but when she was going through that season, when you walked in her door, death hit you in the face, it was so heavy and oppressive.’

Oh my goodness, how that broke my heart. I did NOT realize the atmosphere I created when I allowed the darkness of that time to overtake me!

I knew I was hurting. I knew I was grieving. I knew I was fighting for my faith. I knew I was fighting depression. But I didn’t know the atmosphere I was creating from that place of depression and overwhelming grief. And I certainly didn’t know it was affecting those around me.

Isaiah 60:1 in the Amplified Bible says; Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

We hear this scripture quoted all the time and it sounds wonderful, but I am here to tell you that it is not always easy to arise from the depression in which circumstances have kept you. I, as a seasoned minister, battled this for 9 months and just when I knew I had made it out, my sister died unexpectedly, it was a difficult few years. I know that God was with me, He kept me through that season but it was hard beyond words.

Frankly, I thought I was still cultivating peace in my home during that time, I did not realize the depth of the darkness that was attempting to overtake me. Thank God that when it is darkest, GOD Himself is our light. Thank God that when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, HE IS WITH US!

This past week a close friend had a loved one go home to be with the Lord. She has been on my mind every hour and I have continued to pray for her. I know she will hurt and I know she will grieve but I have wanted to say to her ‘be careful what you feed especially during this time, be careful to not allow darkness to overtake you, be sure to worship and praise God daily and keep peace surrounding you and your home.’ You see, I have found if you allow the darkness, even for a day, it is very hard to arise out of it.

I am reminded of the first Sunday after we buried my Dad. I sat in church, doing all I could to keep from having a meltdown during praise and worship. As I sat there God said to me ‘Am I still God?’ I said ‘of course you are.’ He said ‘Am I still YOUR God?’ I said ‘Yes, you are still MY God.’ He said ‘then go up front and dance before me.’ It was the longest walk I have ever made and the hardest thing I have ever done, but I made my way to the front of that church and I danced before the Lord. That very moment, He broke all grief off me and to this day, I have never grieved my Dad again.

With Jesse, and my sister, when they died, I didn’t do that. I don’t know why. The hurt was so deep and so sudden and so devastating that I didn’t remember what God had taught me. But I want to share that nugget with you today. Worship and praise will break grief and it will break the power of darkness. Always remember that. Worship and praise, especially praise will absolutely destroy the spirit of grief.

Friends, we all go through dark seasons, but they don’t define us. Sometimes all we can do is keep walking. I wish I had gone through it better, but I didn’t. However, I have come out on the other side with much more wisdom and revelation. I have come out on the other side with more love and compassion. And I have come out on the other side with more faith and trust in God than ever before.

Most people, even those closest to me, have no idea how difficult it was for me. I continued to minister and I continued to write and encourage each day, it was only through God that I was able to do that. He is so faithful. He is so very faithful.

What do I want you to get from this? Guard the atmosphere around you. Fight to cultivate an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Fight to cultivate an atmosphere of faith and trust in God. As you do, remember, it not only affect you, it affects all those around you.

Whatever you are walking through today, don’t allow darkness to remain. Don’t allow unbelief to overtake you. Don’t allow fear to dominate your life. Feed your spirit daily. Praise and worship God daily. Confess His word over your life. Ask God to help you to arise and shine. He will help you. I know, because He did just that for me.