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Dark Night Of The Soul

As a spiritual director I work with moms, all types of moms, stay-at-home, work-at-home, work-out side-of home, all kinds; and every one of them have had a dark night of the soul.  This is a very timely post for Holy Saturday, if we remember our Scripture Jesus prays over his dark night, praying so feverantly that he sweats droplets of blood.

What is the Dark Night of the Soul?  It is a spiritual crisis, many times manifesting itself as a rift in the relationship between you and God.  Often it comes because of great transitions in family, martial or work relations.  They can come when our vocation has had a dynamic change or we perceive a change. They can come because long held beliefs have been challenged and caused us to rethink those believes.

Older Teens/Young Adults

We have many times of doubt, emotional and spiritual doubt, at various stages of our lives.  As older teens/young adults we have come to time in our lives when we are beginning to question much of what we have learned from our parents and other authority figures.  This is a natural stage of development but it can cause us a great deal of concern because we often are rejecting those beliefs that do not fit our own budding world and spiritual view.  This is time to discern exactly what it is we do believe about God, life and our role in it.   It is a time for us to step out onto the world stage and claim our role in the mission of Christ and this can be a very daunting endeavour.   It is a time when we are being called to form our own conscience and no longer rely on what others think we should do.

Young Adults/Transition Roles

Many times in our lives we will be faced with the reality of our dreams.  As young girls how many of us day dreamed about what life would be like as a mother and wife?  Many, many of our day dreams never involved the day to day tedium, it was all as if we were Cinderella and our husband Prince Charming.  Now as we sit among yet more dirty nappies/diapers and crying baby we may begin to wonder is this all there is?  That is the Dark Night of the a Soul.  For many of us this a time to discern how our lives have changed both good and bad and focus on the good of our lives, knowing that this stage is but a short one in the scheme of life.  As young mothers we can develop tunnel vision and not see the whole picture, we do not pray for solutions that will work not only for us but for the whole of our family; we can become lost in servantlike thinking where we become convinced that God has stripped us of our calling and is forcing us to no longer use our talents.  When in fact God is asking us to refocus our view and take this time to learn and hone our talents and calling.  Things may have changed but they have also greatly improved: We are what we have always wanted to be a mother, a person of great spiritual and emotional strength, a Priest, Prophet and Queen.

Adult Children and the Death of a Parent

Another life stage that can cause us to have a Dark Night of the Soul is the lost of a parent.  For many of us our parents have been our first teachers and guides and to lose that foundation can cause us to rethink our place in the world, our support is suddenly gone and we must now be our own support!  We lose focus that it is not us support us but God, and we may come to think of God as having deserted us - that is the dark night of the soul.

Abuse and lost of trust

For many of the moms I work with there is an element of abuse in in their lives.  Abuse is also a cause of the Dark Night of the Soul.  When we are abused we have taken from us our innocence but also our natural trust that God is with us no matter what.  It takes a very strong individual to not lose that trust, not to have it worn away with time, and it takes a very strong individual to regain and rebuild that trust.   Trust is THE foundation for all relationship emotional and spiritual.  Trust is a faith contract.  We are saying that we can and will open ourselves up to another; completely expose our most intimate thoughts, feelings and dreams to that other person.  If that trust is broken we feel as if our basic selves have been forcibly taken from us.  We are now an empty shell of our former selves who now must rebuild without the feeling that the world is a safe place to love and be loved.  God seems very distant and we do not trust in his promises, after all we have dealt with one of his creatures, made in the image and likeness of God and that person has betrayed us; so we feel in turn that God has betrayed us- that is a Dark Night of the Soul.

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