Big Lake, Tara Newman

In grade school I loved reading Edgar Allen Poe and lying in my dark bedroom. I grew up in a happy home full of love and laughter, but for some reason I was attracted to the macabre. One afternoon on my bunk, I felt a sinister presence in the darkness. I knew I was not alone and it shook me to my core.
I ran from the room, found my big sister, and asked her to pray for me. I didn’t tell her why I was afraid. She didn’t know I had opened myself up to the darkness.
Another day, I was doing the dishes and heartbroken because my latest crush didn’t like me. Suddenly I was holding a knife to my wrist. I pressed down and felt my pulse beating against the cold steel. That would stop the pain, I thought. And then a jolt awakened me. What was I thinking? Where did that thought come from?
I saw joy in others that I desperately wanted. But I was on the outside looking in, alone and wretched. The answer, I knew from all I had learned at home and in church was Jesus, but I was unwilling to give Him control. My misery and self-hatred grew. One night at youth group, I realized any control I thought I had was an illusion; either I served God, or I served Satan. 
So in the fall of eighth grade I asked my youth pastor to pray with me and surrendered to Jesus. My life immediately changed. The darkness fell away and God’s light flooded in. Instead of anger and hopelessness, I felt free and a new sense of purpose. Love filled my soul.
Since then I’ve seen an ever-increasing darkness in our society. The works of Edgar Allen Poe are tame compared to the commercials our kids see on prime time television. Their minds are constantly bombarded by the glorification of suicide, violence, and deviant sex. Vampires, witches, and werewolves are no longer bad guys, but the heroes in today’s entertainment. Our children are drawn to this darkness like deer to the headlights of an oncoming car.
An increasing number of kids are turning to self-mutilation and suicide. The Jason Foundation says suicide is the 2ndleading cause of death for kids ages 10-24. “More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
Why this dramatic upswing of hopelessness? I believe it’s from an absence of light. Where would I have turned when the darkness tried to swallow me up if I hadn’t known where to find the light?
Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46, emphasis mine). So how can we help our children resist the darkness and walk in the light? 
Here’s a few ideas:

  • Monitor and discuss what you and your kids watch on TV or the Internet
  • Read popular song lyrics together to see whether they promote hope or despair
  • Read scripture as a family and memorize words of hope for dark times
  • Talk about life from a heavenly perspective—everything on earth is temporary, but the choices we make here last for eternity

If you would like to learn more about walking in the light, especially in this occult-rich Halloween season, pick up a copy of my book Taking Back October:
#walkinthelight #what’sinthedark #suicideprevention #parenting #raisingkidswithhope