There are times in life when we hover between the shadows and the light. Or the two work together in what looks like harmony, but we question how this is even possible. The tension of one pulls you away from the other even while knowing you are where you should be.
I love capturing the space between the shadows and the light in a photo. I find the snapshots captivating. But when God places you in the middle of the tension and invites you to sit awhile, it feels completely different. I relate on so many levels because life is often found in the balance of dark and light. There are times we only see shadows. As quickly as those appear, God brings us amazing light to compensate for the darkness. The beautiful tension of living in the middle between the shadows and the light describes my life for the past month. To be honest, maybe even longer.
The shadows of life appear when darkness sneaks in hoping to steal your joy. The light that playfully dances between objects, casting life’s shadows, dims and flickers. It catches you unaware and leaves you uncertain.
But life is one of contrasts and as soon as shadows fill a space, they are just as apt to disappear in a brilliant cover of light. Happiness fills and overtakes life’s shadows and the light of joy turns into the song of your heart.
Living in the in between and hanging in the balance of stark contrasts looks like:
vivid sunsets playing off of dark clouds streaked with lightning.
death followed closely by new beginnings.
Or deep, belly laughing one minute and heart wrenching crying the next.
It is the act of grieving deeply over loss and rejoicing over the addition of a new member of the family. The light and dark which are at odds with each other seemingly begin to interact in beautiful harmony. The space between the shadows and the light is exactly where we meet God.
[Tweet “In the middle of the tension, God creates the contrasts and invites us to sit awhile.”]
Today I’m in the middle of this tension. Through it all, I’m reminded how God creates the contrast and is in every detail. I wake up with tear stains on my pillow as reality hits me squarely in the face. The daily tears remind me of the loss of my dad and the joy of welcoming a new daughter-in-law into the family. When it doesn’t seem possible to balance the joy with the sorrow, God creates the balance needed. God’s love, comfort and everlasting peace surround the heart that feels inside out and upside down.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
Let God be your middle! The place where emotions swirl and the shadows meet the light. Allow your center to focus on the One who brings hope and watch the tension dissipate into calm.
Whatever tension you find yourself in the middle of, may you feel the light of God’s love bringing balance back into your life.
Sitting in between the shadows and the light,
There are two books I highly recommend as you balance in this place between the shadows and the light. The first is Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengston. The second book is The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Click on the book covers for more information and to order your own copy.
and Dawn for Grace Moments
Join my mailing list!
Subscribers receive updates, newsletters, and FREE resources! Your information is safe and will never be shared.
If you're not receiving emails from me, check your spam folder and mark my emails as "not spam."
I am sooooo sorry for the loss of your father, for the pain you feel with this earthly separation. It is like a wave and the metaphors you used to describe the shadow places where His light opens up into grace were beautiful and poetically moving. May God’s mercy comfort you in the shadow spaces, in the difficult dark moments where you are missing him. And then the blessing of having a new heart to hold close, the way God comforts us in the both joy and sorrow reminds us of the love He has for us and the way He meets all our needs in abundance.
Praying for you to feel both the comfort of His presence and the joy of your new blessings amidst the grief and the memories.
Thanks for sharing this at #GraceMoments Link up.
God certainly has blessed me during this time with beautiful memories, time with family and the addition of a new daughter to my family. The contrast of dark and light is a metaphor for what this season looks like but what is hard to capture in this space is the heart work that God continues to do through it all.
Thank you for praying and for joining me here in this space as I share my heart so transparently. Your kindness means so much! Blessings and hugs friend!
Mary, such a beautiful post. ((Hug)) I’m sorry for the loss of your dad. :'( Prayers for you, sister. —> “The space between the shadows and the light is exactly where we meet God.” <— What a lovely poetic word this morning. Love that. Thanks for sharing. ((Hug))
Having you here today is such a blessing. Thank you for your kind words and warm heart. I can feel your love through the screen and it makes such a difference. Praying you have a blessed weekend.
Mary, I truly pray the Lord will bring you comfort and I know He will. It is so hard when you find yourself laughing and you think you should be crying. And yet somehow, in the midst of sadness or pain, He brings His joy – the overwhelming and abiding and assuring feeling that He is with us, He sees, and He will hold us through it all. Praying for you tonight.
Your prayers are cherished and felt deeply. Laughter does not seem quite right in the middle of grief but the release of joy is so healing. Thank you for being here and for being such a dear friend! Blessings!
Always so uplifting and encouraging to visit your page. 🙂
Thank you Lux. I always enjoy when you stop by.
Oh Mary, I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad, sweet friend. I can relate. But your words here are a wonderful blessing to me. Praying for you and your family, Love! Thank you for sharing! GOD bless you, Beautiful! 🙂
Thank you for your prayers and words of comfort. I am blessed you stopped by and joined me here. Blessings!
I’m so sorry for your loss, Mary. May the Holy Spirit draw near and comfort you as you journey through grief. I’m holding you up in prayer.
I cherish your prayers and I appreciate your words of comfort. Thank you for being her and for blessing me with your friendship.
I find this reality so often, Mary. I’m in the middle of some incredible moment when some painful loss happens at the same time. It’s there that I must look harder for God’s presence–due to the darkness I feel–but like your beautiful sunset (or sunrise) reveals, that’s where God shows most beautifully in the middle of the darkness and light. Thanks for inspiring us and praying for your grieving heart, my friend!
You are such a beautiful prayer warrior and your prayers are felt. It is hard to give ourselves permission to grieve but in this tension I know it is okay to not be okay> God is with me and that is a beautiful thing. Thank you for knowing me well and for being such a dear friend. Love and hugs!
Mary, you are an artist with words and images. I love how you used both to convey hope when the clouds roll in. Blessings, my friend.
What a blessing to receive these words from you today. I pray your week has been blessed and you have a wonderful weekend.
Mary, your photos clearly demonstrate the space between the darkness and the light. They are beautiful! It is hard to be in that tension between joy and sorrow, but God is with us and we can rest in His presence with the peace that He gives. Thanks for sharing, Mary. May God continue to give you comfort and may you find the joy.
Thank you Gayl! I am feeling God’s comfort and in between the shadows and the light, I sense joy. God is so good to us. I am blessed that you stopped by to share words of encouragement.
Your photos are beautiful, and I know what you mean that, while capturing the contrast between the shadows and the light looks good in a photo, it is not always a comfortable place to be in reality.
I think it’s true though that “The space between the shadows and the light is exactly where we meet God.” I love that we can come to him with our mourning and with our joy and that he draws close to us in both.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. Praying for you.
Your sweet words bring me comfort and peace. I am blessed to know God who meets us wherever we are and holds us in His arms as we heal. Even though the place between the dark and the light is a balancing act, God assures us He will never leave nor forsake us. Thank you for being here and for your prayers. Blessings!
Forgive me, Mary, if I have missed something so important or if I have you mixed you up with someone else, but when did you lose your dad? The last I remember, you were still his major caretaker. I’m so sorry for your loss. No wonder you feel that tug between light and dark. It’s such a tough place to be. Thank you so much for encouraging us to “Let God be your middle! The place where emotions swirl and the shadows meet the light.” May God pick you up and carry you into His light time and again! Big Hugs!
Oh no worries! You have been in a season of rest and I didn’t expect you to know everything that has been going on in my life. My dad passed away three weeks ago and at 95 years old it was his time. He was declining in health and God peacefully took Him home. My brothers and I were blessed to have had dad for so long.
I can feel your hugs and I appreciate them. I might be in the middle but God is right there with me. Thank you for being such a dear and for sending such warm love.
Mary, what a poignant post. There’s such beauty and truth in your words. I’ve not lived some of your darkness, but we each have our own darkness that tries to creep in and block Jesus’ light in our hearts.
This: “The shadows of life appear when darkness sneaks in hoping to steal your joy. The light that playfully dances between objects, casting life’s shadows, dims and flickers. It catches you unaware and leaves you uncertain.”
In those times of uncertainty, I’m learning to turn to Jesus more quickly, to look for His perspective and His hope. I’m praying for you too, my friend, as you navigate this season in your life.
We all have our own form of darkness that threatens to overwhelm us. It is part of our stories and how we handle it makes all the difference. I love that you are learning to turn to Jesus quickly in these situations. He is the balance we need in the place of tension where we are being pulled in two different directions. I pray we all learn how to let God be the middle and we open ourselves to inviting Him in when we need to sit awhile.
Thank you for being here and encouraging me in my own journey. Love and hugs!
Beautiful reflective thoughts and images. So much of life is lived in the messy middle, those in-between places where grace meets us in the shadows of longing, love and leave-taking. There is wisdom, peace and calm to be found when we do as you suggest here:
“Let God be your middle! The place where emotions swirl and the shadows meet the light.”
Amen, Mary! I’ve been in a nowhere kind of land over the last few months, invisible to myself as well as to others. And it’s there where God has met with me powerfully, filling the empty spaces and pain-filled hurting places with His love and grace. Your words reflect how that has been true for you, too. May He continue to hold you as you adjust to a new ‘normal’, and bring unexpected touches of joy in the midst of the hard. xo <3
I love that you understand this place in the middle but also know that I am praying for you as you seek God in this place. I know you have been going through a season of rest. Your usual routines have changed and that can be hard. I am glad to know that God has met you with love and grace too.
May God hold both of us in our new normals and bring joy when we least expect it. Thank you for your beautiful friendship.
Hi Mary! I am sitting in the middle now myself. I know I shouldn’t give into sadness, and I am getting closer to the light. It’s comforting to know that God is with me in all my circumstances, especially when it’s confusing.
Life is a series of dips and highs, isn’t it? I suppose I spend more time in the ‘in between’ then in the very high and low. I pray that you feel God’s companionship in your place today, and that with him, it’s always light.
After reading your post, I realize that you and I are hanging out in a similar place. I am very sorry for the loss of your dad. It is easy to get sucked into the high or the low but God pulls us into the middle because that is where He is. I pray you find God often in the place of tension and allow Him to soothe, comfort and love you right where you are. Blessings and peace!
Your beautiful and wistful words remind me of our friend C.S. Lewis who called this world we live in the Shadowlands. Our hearts groan for the reality that waits beyond this life, but you remind me today, Mary, that there is so much beauty here to be enjoyed, and so much of it is found in those liminal times “between the dark and the daylight.”
I’m finding the same things is happening in my heart as summer leaves and autumn comes. The transition seems to make me . . . what’s the word? Restless? More alert? Sensitive to the presence of other changes?
So good to think along with you today, my friend.
The change of seasons always leave me feeling like I am in the middle and the transition leaves me very reflective. I know C.S. Lewis shares such beautiful and reflective words. Ones I am sure I should read. The takeaway I hope my readers leave with is that God is always there whether it is a place of in between or transition. The tension does not feel so sharp when we know God has never left our sides. Thank you for sitting here with me for a bit. You are such a gift!
The next time I’m out under an evening sky and soak in exactly what you’re talking about … well, I’m going to remember this tension that you speak of, that you’re living in. Truth be told, we’re all there in some way.
To find Him in the midst of the push and pull is a grace indeed.
Praying for you, Mary …
God is the giver of grace and finding him in the middle of the tension between light and dark is a beautiful gift indeed. Next time you are under that night sky, remember God is there in the middle. He never stops loving and provides all we need. Thank you for your prayers. They are felt deeply.
Oh may the Lord continue to shine more of His light into your heart today, Mary. That is so hard, losing your dad. I’m sure you miss him. God is in all of life, isn’t He? In shadows and in light.
God is everywhere and He leaves beautiful reminders for all of us everyday. We just need to be open to receiving them. It is hard to lose anyone we love and I do miss my dad. It is quite the story how God combined two celebrations a week apart that looked very different – a funeral and a wedding. The emotions have been everywhere but God has been right there too. Thank you for your sweet words.
Beautiful Mary. This made me also reflect on photography where light is an intentional focus to create the art. Maybe working with the light and shadows, God is artistically working with us too, creating and transforming. Thanks for these thoughts today. I love all the images in prose and picture.
I love taking photographs and get lucky most of the time with catching the lights and shadows. I don’t have any real training-I just like what I like. God is always transforming us and I believe it happens most in the in between places where the tension resides. Thank you for joining me today.