This picture hangs on the wall near my comfy blue chair, in which I do most of my writing. Underneath the framed art I have a small end table with an electric tea kettle, a selection of boxed teas in a basket, a small container of honey, a couple of silver spoons, and a favored teacup decorated with a ring pansies.
This corner of my bedroom comforts and inspires me. I feel safe there. Free. Creative. Me. The scripture verse on the picture reminds me every day that I walk in light because of the Light in my life. “I am the Light of the World, whoever follows me will never never walk in darkness but have the Light of Life.” John 3:12. Light is one of substitutable words that can be on the other side of the word “is” when it comes to describing God. God is light. It’s like saying He equals light. Another verse in the Gospel of John says that in Him there is no darkness. That’s such an assuring, comforting truth.
A time existed in my life when the darkness of depression hung over me. There were a few days I remember when I was at my lowest that I didn’t know how I would go on. Thank God that He provided a way for me to realize that a cloud had only been blocking the sun in my spirit. His light was shining on me the whole time. But the cloud had its purposes. I learned so much under that cloud. I learned that: God will never leave or forsake me; when I’m at my weakest, He is at His strongest in me; gems grow in the darkness under great pressure. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you the treasures of the darkness and hidden riches of secret places.” This quote begins my first book, Ruby Moon. My character, Jenay harbors a dark guilt; her struggle is not unlike mine was, as I battled through depression. I wrote her particular darkness with understanding.
The other thing that resonated with me about this picture is the scene. I’ve always loved Lake Michigan and Superior. This shoreline scene with a lighthouse reminds me of favored locations by those Great Lakes. It also reminds me of my mom.
Mom told me once that she had an imaginary place she would go with the Lord to pray and just feel his presence. It was a home by the shore near a lighthouse with a yard of rambling roses and flowers. In the house she imagined a room with large windows looking out over the water with two wingback chairs posited side by side in front of a fireplace. A baby grand piano sat open and ready to be played. She told me she often imagined herself in this place with her Savior and friend.
Some months after she died in January of 2000, I thought of that imagined place of hers. One day I found this print at a store, and I couldn’t believe how much it fit the description of the house she described to me. I bought the framed print and hung it in a spot that I could see everyday. On the days when I missed her the most, I would imagine that we were there together in that house by the lake. I imaged three chairs, one for me, Mom, and Jesus. I would tell my Mom and the Lord my cares, and I could pretty much guess what they might say. Sometimes we just sat in silence while a fire flickered in the fireplace. Sometimes I played song after song on the piano for them.
I haven’t been to that imagined house in a while. Mom will be gone twenty years on the 20th of this month. I think it might be time for a visit with her by the shore in the house where no darkness dwells.
I thank God for a holy imagination. He wants us to use what he’s given us, not for fear, but to help the truths of scripture come to life. I love that Jesus taught in stories. When we hear a story or read it, we use our imaginations to visualize it in our mind’s eye. In this way the story become almost real to us.
In a world where we can use our imaginations for so many things and in so many ways, let’s choose to use it to help create a better world. That’s why I write. Yes, the stories are in me and then must come out, but I write what I hope are stories with a deeper meaning. Imagination leads to realization. First we must wonder what something is like to understand that we need it.
Use your imagination today in a way that brings you comfort and closeness to the One who holds the Light of life. I’m curious … If you imagined a house in which to sit with God, what would it look like?