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Fourth Sunday in Lent

Coming to the Light

John 3:14-21

by Tanya Barlow

“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

John 3:14-21
Tanya Barlow

When I was going through a divorce, there was plenty of sorrow and darkness and tears. It is painful to experience the death of a love and the loss of trust. For me, going through the process of grief was not devastating, just very painful. I knew I was going to be alright and that my children were going to be alright. Things were going to be different; I was sure.

I returned to College Station, Texas, where I started college and most of my family still lived and started to pick up the pieces of my life. I re-enrolled at Texas A&M, got a job, got the children in school, and returned to the A&M United Methodist Church. A curious thing happened during this process of beginning again. I would be in the grocery store, passing people on the fitness trail, or driving by people on bikes or walking, and their faces would transform. The transformation was surprising – like God’s joyful surprise. The faces became beautiful and had a shimmer, or you might call it a glow. It was the beauty that took my breath away. Afterward, I always felt comforted and that I belonged.

I attributed this experience to God’s light. The light that transforms dark, ugliness, pain, and hurt into compassion, kindness, and life-affirming status. The desert ammas and abbas taught a discernment tool that things of God are life-affirming and things not of God are soul-destroying. This experience was life-affirming. I believe the pain I was experiencing opened my spirit and made it raw and ready for God. For me, coming to the light was a gift.

Prayer: God I truly am thankful for the love you have for me to swim in. Amen.

Tanya Barlow is vice president of the New Mexico Conference United Women in Faith.

Photograph is from the 2024 Prayer Guide.

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