We were unabashedly praising the name of Jesus together at the Passion conference, and I remember looking over at my husband of nearly 19 years; I was overwhelmed with gratitude. All I ever wanted was a man who loved the Lord with all his heart, and here we stood, tears rolling down our faces, hands raised to The King of Kings, worshipping as one. The moment was monumental for me, one that did not go unrecognized, because what I experienced in that time and space was the fruit of another moment spent in a very different place.
It was dark — a very dark place one might even call a prison. How did I get there? Would the sensation of light ever again grace the confines of my heart? I was not sure. At that moment, correction, in that season, I felt an array of emotions, none of which I was accustomed to, at least, not to the extent that they were currently plaguing my inner being. It was a drought of the soul that wrecked me to the core.
Abandoned, alone, betrayed, outcast, fearful, distrusting, and extremely insecure. Not the insecurity that comes in waves of life like “she has better hair than me.” No, this was an insecurity of the highest order. I felt no security in the one and only person I loved my whole life. The one and only person who, despite my downfalls and shortcomings, I loved immensely, and never, not once, did I question His love for me. But today was different. The four walls of my closet were closed in around me as I sobbed, sobbed. Before that day, I am not sure I truly ever felt anguish, and there I lay in the fetal position on the floor of my closet, certain that God forgot about me and questioning if there was such a God, and if so, how can He be good?
For this post, the details are not exactly crucial as to why or how I ended up in such a place, not to mention the story is not mine alone to share, so for that reason, I will spare “the why or how.” More than likely, if you live long enough, if you let people into your life, and if you immerse yourself into the lives of others, you will experience your own “how and why.” We are imperfect people, living in an imperfect world, doing life with other imperfect people, and Satan exists to divide and destroy. Destruction is the breaking ground of his house, and many times, we take up residence on a hollow foundation without even knowing it.
Back to the closet floor.
For the first time in my life, I questioned the one who gave me life. Are you real, God, and if so, then are you really good? Talk about darkness. The door of my closet creaked open, and I remember burying my head even further into the heap of clothes that laid all around me not wanting to let anyone into the atmosphere of my pain, but there was one (well, not actually just one) who refused to grant me solitude. My husband, led by the Holy Spirit, ever so gently picked me up off the floor and held me in his arms, much like a child. He began praying over me a prayer that will forever and ever be etched into my mind.
God, I am calling on your promise; in your word, you tell us that if we will resist the devil, he will flee from us. We are calling on your promise right now in the name of Jesus, so that we may see your goodness again.
This was the moment God watered the drought of my soul with his presence, and as my dear husband prayed, the tiniest fragments of light began to come into view. Hope began to emerge because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I could literally feel the relaxing of every single muscle in my body. It was the beginning of a long process of healing that changed the course of my life — beginning being the operative word here. Beginning.
About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly a strong earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. At once, all the doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
EVERYONE’S CHAINS CAME LOOSE!
Don’t you see it? Praise is the conduit for freedom. Praise on the mountain top is an overflow from the praise extended in the valley. The praise at the dawn of day is possible because the Lord brought us through the darkest part of the night.
What God began in Zach and me all those years ago on the floor of our closet was and still is producing the fruit of praise. We can praise Him in our freedom because my husband led our family to praise him in our prison. We can unabashedly dance with college students and sing to the top of our lungs today because in the darkest moments of our lives, when I was ready to bail, the husband of my youth carried on the mantle of faith when I was much too weak. Praise God. Praise God.
So here comes the curveball; actually, it is the title of this blog, so it should not come as a surprise. There are many of you reading this who currently are in a dating relationship or praying for the Lord to send that special someone your way. For those of you who are dating, ask yourself this question: will this man worship with me when I am on the floor of my closet? Will he lead me in worship when the butterflies are gone, when the bills pile up, and when I no longer have a six-pack? Ask yourself — do it. Will he lead me in worship when my faith grows weak? Will he lead me in worship in our darkest hour?
Well? So, in the words of the punk rock band, The Clash, Should I stay, or should I go now? Do not justify, and do not overanalyze. You know the answer.
To the lady in waiting, be content to wait for a man who will worship with you on the floor of your closet.
To the married woman who is thinking it is much too late, who fears that she made the wrong decision all those years ago, and feels certain that her husband will never lead her that way: take up the mantle of Faith — you be the one. Love him in his darkest moment. Worship with him through his unbelief. 1 Peter 3:1-6 says, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your simple pursuit of the Lord, even in times of darkness, has the power to change the life of your spouse.
Midnight is one of the darkest hours of the night but is also the BEGINNING of a new day. Praise Him in the darkness, so you can dance at the break of dawn.
Jill Dasher is a blogger and speaker who is passionate about sharing the message of being known through authentic community with God and each other. She resides in Asheville, NC with her husband Zach and four children. In between sunset hikes and camping weekends she works alongside her husband running a media company.
Follow Jill on Instagram @jilldasher