Into Darkness, and Silent No More

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5

This verse is the gospel to me.

I find it to be simple, and yet complex.  In it, I read of the inevitability of justice, and the correctness of choosing love.  I read in it about the liberation of my people, and of all oppressed people everywhere. This is the verse that I recite to myself when I’m on the train to work, the verse that helps me to think about the character of Jesus, and the verse that I use to help center down into worship.  I will open up my Bible to this verse when I am feeling sad, happy, depressed, or hopeful.

I’ve been glancing around other blogs since I have started posting, and boy are there some amazing ones!  There are people who come up with fresh content all of the time, people who have posts that are pages and pages long, and people who can write deep academically and theologically stunning posts.  That really isn’t my blog though.  Writing doesn’t come easily or seem to flow very well, and it'll be a cold day in hell before I finish a bit of writing with zero spelling errors.  So knowing this, I sat and asked myself, what do I have to offer that is unique on this blog?  As I thought about it…I knew what I would have to write about.  

I read John 1:5 when I need to be strong.

I’ve prayed for the last week to have the strength to write this post.  As I mentioned before, I’ve been processing through how much of my personal life to share on this blog. I’ve concluded that the right thing for me to do is to take a risk, and so the unique benefit of you reading this (haha….something I learned to identify in speech class), is that you will hear a story that has not been told before.  Parts of what happened to me at GFU still have been resting in my mind, and it feels like I have to go into darkness to retrieve them. 

Fellow activists and friends are quick to congratulate me on graduating.  I hear things like, “I don’t know how you lasted four years there!”, or “you made it through there without becoming angry or bitter!”  
I usually try to respond cheerfully in those moments, say something humorous, and change subjects as soon as possible.  It would be nice if I could make sense of what happened as a trial by fire, that I passed through and I’m now an adult; I triumphed, and I can move on. 

What they don’t know, what I can’t find the words to say in those moments.  Is that I don’t know how I made it, and I don’t know how much skin, blood, and soul I left behind me.  I wish I could tell them that sometimes I daydream about what it was like to be inside my mind when I was still in high school.  I was pretty naive back then, and a lot less scarred…its such a strange thing to wish for.  

I wish I could tell them that some nights I press my head into my pillow, and just let the tears flow. They are angry sometimes, and sad sometimes, and they just flow.

Want to know the truth?  The honest to God truth that I’ve only told a couple of friends? I feel like I haven’t left.  I wake up and feel like I’m on the damn campus still…I truly wonder if I’ll ever be able to leave. 

I will trust that the Light will walk with me in this, and so, I will talk in the course of this blog, about how my story includes clinical depression, self injury, and suicide.  The shame that I feel to keep parts of my story silent is not from God, and that is something I have to keep reminding myself.  

I didn’t write this post to be a sort of sick ego stroking teaser trailer, but rather to acknowledge an undeniable leading.  I’m not saying that the next few months of blog posts will be centered around those topics, or that I will even touch all of them this year.  However, what I am saying is that they will eventually be talked about.

I also not trying to gain sympathy for myself at all, because no one can change the past.  If I can try to live into my shame though, perhaps it will free someone else out there who’s shame has kept part of their story in the darkness too. 

There is power in telling your own story.  Maybe what I feel is that I need to return to darkness every so often, because I need to honor the others who came before me without ever being able to publicly say what happened to them.  Maybe part of the ministry that I’ve been called to includes going into the darkness, until no one has been left behind.  

Now, I’m feeling like I want to end by specifically writing for a moment, to a student at a Christian college who may have stumbled across this blog.  Please, please know this; you are not forgotten.  You are held in my heart, even if I don’t know your name, or if we never meet in this lifetime.  Oh how I pray for you dear one. I want you to know that God sees you, sees your tears, sees when you feel alone, and God’s heart absolutely breaks when yours breaks.  You have an ever growing multitude of people who think about you every day, and are working on your behalf.  We will not ever stop.  You are not forgotten. You are seen.  You are strong. We are strong. You are not alone.



  1. Dear AJ,
    What I like about your writing is raw authenticity. I like the courage of it. I love the compassion and the life-saving truth you are telling. You did all this without any help from me, but for some odd reason, I'm SO proud of you I could bust. So glad to have been in community with you for a time & potentially again. Go get 'em, AJ!

    1. Potentially again? Its guaranteed! West Hills is my home : ) filled with a wonderful family.

      I try to go for raw authenticity, and I'm really glad it is coming through in text. Thanks again for reading : D



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