The title of my blog post last night, Only Light Can Do That, came from a quote by Martin Luther King, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that." As I shared last night, I became grateful for my experience of the darkness. Perhaps you too, have experienced the dark. Perhaps you still are. I understand. I get it. I was a resident of hell on earth. But how do we get there? What are the signs of the slow fade? What does the darkness feel like? Sound like? How do we stop denying we are in it and become brave enough to allow light in to illuminate the sin?
Below is an excerpt from my second book I am currently writing on my slow fade:
My descent into sin started while I was married, and it started online in 2000. A chat room here. A chat room there. Inappropriate conversations were happening with falsely named men pretending to be whatever persona du jour they chose. The seeds of sexual sin were being planted and being told I was beautiful and sexy and desirable felt incredible. I was starving for validation. I needed to feel lovable. I wanted that attention, and I didn't think an innocent conversation here or there with someone I'd never meet would hurt anything or anyone.
I was taught about a world of sex that I had no idea even existed by men in chat rooms I had no idea existed. My small-town roots and very Italian Catholic upbringing sheltered me enormously growing up, but little by little I was drawn from that shelter into promiscuity and a lascivious awareness. It felt sexy and titillating. I was slowly drawn away from my husband and three beautiful, little daughters. I started forgoing family time to get online. I would stay up late saying I wasn’t tired to read one more stranger type how much he wanted me, and what he would do to me. I was lured into the dark ever so slowly over a period of years. The seduction was more than I could fight. It was intoxicating and an addicting drug to my battered self-worth.
In 2005, I started a consulting business which helped small to medium size enterprises with their employee training and development. However, I didn't give up my career and I was still working full-time for a real estate investment trust while I got my company off the ground. As a result of the partnership I created with a company out of Texas to procure my training and curriculum materials from, I was introduced to a very successful man who owned that company. In order to be trained on the curriculum, I had to take multiple trips to Texas for certification courses, retreats, and conferences. Our business relationship became inappropriate and I developed feelings for him. He would offer me trips, cash, shopping sprees and incredible dinners and special favors in exchange for sex. Money was tight as a newly single mom of three and budding business owner and I allowed myself to participate. I was prostituting myself and now the dark world I had dabbled with online, had penetrated my reality. Because the fade was so slow and gradual, I was oblivious to being fully immersed in darkness. Other numerous real-life encounters, a porn addiction and frequent patronage of strip clubs over the course of the next 3 years all ended the same way; with me being used, unvalued and discarded and feeling completely unlovable, worthless and in overwhelming shame and disgust.
Let me be clear. I take full responsibility for my participation and in no way do I want to imply that I was forced to do any of it. I was not. I was a willing participant. I was deliberately hurting myself, for hurting myself. In the present of those interludes -in my outer world - I felt valued, I felt cared for and I felt wanted. But my inner world was being abused and broken down. There was a war ensuing in my outer world and inner world. I was on the front line of both armies and in both worlds, I was far apart from God, but I didn’t know it. What I did know is I had no purpose, no peace, no hope and no light. Sexual promiscuity had me submerged, and I was drowning.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness. So to extinguish it, you need light. Stick with me here.
Satan doesn't appear to us in red face and horns, he comes disguised as everything we think we want. And he is a masterterfully skillful con artist. Darkness cannot overcome the light. Darkness comes dressed as an angel of light so you have no idea you're being duped. He lures you in with lies like "it's ok, you're not hurting anyone" or "just go ahead and do it, you deserve to be happy", or "it's just one time, everyone sins and falls short". Satan is a highly manipulative liar and his only plan is destruction of your life. If you are hurting yourself by your choices, you count as someone. God wants our holiness before our happiness. Yes, we all fall short but that is not a reason to sin. And then here is how evil the devil is. Once he has you fully immersed in the darkness, he turns it all around and makes it your fault, your idea, your condemnation.
When Satan visited Jesus in the desert and tempted him three time Jesus quoted scripture as his weapon to diffuse the lies satan was promising. For me, the slow fade happened because I didn't have my faith then so I had no weapon of scripture. I was fully residing in the outer world so my inner world was highly unguarded, susceptible and vulnerable. After I gave my life to Christ in 2011, while I had no angels singing, earthquakes trembling or mind blowing ah ha moment's - I was given an insatiable desire to read the bible and learn the promises of God. Jesus is called, "the Word of God." Jesus is called "the Light of the world." It is in the word, we find the light. Darkness cannot give us the word, only light can do that. If you are in darkness, start at Matthew in the New Testament, and call me. I am fully equipped to rescue you.