by: Staci Stallings
The Bible says that God’s Word is a lamp at my feet. My dad always said that God put the lamp at our feet and not on our head. That means we’re supposed to focus on the next step, not how we’re getting all the way down the tunnel.
I’ve thought about that lamp at my feet a lot in my lifetime because to be honest, I’ve had multiple moments when I honestly did not know how I was going to get through whatever it was that was happening. In the last three months, I’ve had three such major, extended events where the unknown wasn’t just scary, it was terrifying. Cortisol-producing, fight-or-flight-but-neither-will-help terrifying. Events when taking the next step was all you could do but even that was overwhelming.
There’s a weird paradox of life that I’m learning through all of this—we all have these kinds of moments and yet when you’re in one, you feel like no one else has ever been here before. We don’t talk about them, and even when we do, most of the time the event is in the past now and it has somehow been resolved (to our liking or not). But in the midst of the trauma, in the midst of the trouble and turmoil, it’s easier than not to feel completely and utterly alone.
As I’ve gotten a day or two perspective on the last major trauma to hit my life, I’m coming to understand something. Yes, God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet, but it’s those around us who are often the ones who light the lamp in the first place.
In the middle of an insane life situation, it’s possible for you to light your own lamp, but wow, is it helpful when others do too. Like the people who came to the hospital room with God’s Word in hand. They were a God-send—literally. Like the people at church and online who said they were praying, and we could feel it. Like the visitors who came and gave us hugs and a little bit of God-with-skin-on. They were all lamp-lighters, lighting the next step with God’s love and hope.
Then I realized that in the two trauma events prior to that in September and October, I was a lamp-lighter for those in trauma. Oh, it wasn’t easy. It took time, effort, willpower, and a LOT of prayer on my part to be there for them. I, too, needed lamp lighters around during that time. People to pray for me while I worked in the situations.
What I’m seeing is we are all called to be lamp lighters for each other, and this is a sacred calling.
As I’ve reflected over my stories with this new perspective, I’ve realized just how intricately life is woven. My current series is comprised of a thousand threads all woven painstakingly to create an understanding not just of the story but of how God works in the lives of real people.
It’s funny because it seems like every single first review on this series says the same thing:
“lots of repetition seem liked same thing over and over again… it dragged in places…”
Now, I get it. Readers like fast-paced, movement books. They like a story that lifts up like a plane, soars for a while, and then gently lands. The problem is, life isn’t like that, and I write real rather than “storybook.” Oh, I wish I wrote storybook. Unfortunately, I believe to be a lamp-lighter for others through my stories, it’s important to go step-by-step. Sometimes that makes a book seem “draggy” with “a lot of repetition.”
I know for me in my own life I would love it if I “got it” the first time through every lesson, but I don’t. Sometimes it takes more than one go-round. Sometimes it’s a long, slow process rather than light bulb moment after light bulb moment.
Right now, lamp-lighting in my books is slow going for me because of all the lamp-lighting I’m doing outside of writing. It wasn’t my intention to not be finished with Book 8 when Book 7 goes out. I wanted to be able to put Book 8 on preorder like I have all the others.
Alas, as much as I would love to be able to see down the tunnel and know that I could have Book 8 ready to go at the end of the preorder period, right now, the lamp at my feet says I need to hold off on putting Book 8 up. So that’s what I’m doing. Not my preferred step but it’s one I feel most at peace taking. There. How’s that for a winding, meandering confession of an overwhelmed lamp-lighter?
So, I’m curious, dear readers…. Who are some of your lamp-lighters? And who do you light lamps for? What’s your lamp-lighting journey been like? And have you ever had to take a step that you really wished could be different but you knew was the right one at the time? Tell me your lamp-lighting stories!