Adorning the Dark

Excerpt from Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson: B&H Publishing, 2019.

“The first few times I was in a position of leadership at a retreat or conference I was so nervous I could hardly speak. When my dear friend Kenny Woodhull asked me to co-lead a retreat with Michael Card about fifteen years ago, I declined. Putting on a concert is one thing; I could do that. But teaching? Speaking? Leading? Clearly Kenny had the wrong guy. But he talked me into it. At the first session of that retreat, after Michael gave his brilliant introductory thoughts, it was my turn to say a few words. I stammered as I told them that I felt unqualified, but that I had to trust something George Macdonald once wrote about the inner chamber of God’s heart: 


As the fir-tree lifts up itself with a far different need from the need of the palm-tree, so does each man stand before God, and lift up a different humanity to the common Father. And for each God has a different response. With every man he has a secret—the secret of the new name. In every man there is a loneliness, an inner chamber of peculiar life into which God only can enter . . . a chamber into which no brother, nay, no sister can come. From this it follows that there is a chamber also—(O God, humble and accept my speech)—a chamber in God himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual, the peculiar man—out of which chamber that man has to bring revelation and strength for his brethren. This is that for which he was made—to reveal the secret things of the Father.’


That is to say, you know and understand things about the heart of God that only you can teach. Once I was in a counseling session with my dear friend Al Andrews, working through a painful season of my childhood. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I said with a sniffle. “My brother and sisters don’t seem to carry this same pain, and we were all there at the same time, in the same house.” Al said, “If I were to interview four siblings about their childhoods, they would each describe a completely different family.” Your story, then, is yours and no one else’s. Each sunset is different, depending on where you stand. So when the voices in my head tell me I have nothing to offer, nothing interesting to say, I fight back with George MacDonald. 

Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2). Could it be that those rooms are inner chambers in the heart of God, each of which has an individual’s name on it? If this is true, and I’d like to believe it is, then all I have to do is tell about my Lord and my God. Because I know him intimately, uniquely, it may be a revelation, in a sense, of the secret things of the Father. This is part of my calling—to make known the heart of God. And because he holds a special place in his heart for me and me alone (just as he holds a special place for you), my story stands a chance to be edifying to my sisters and brothers, just as your story, your insight, your revelation of God’s heart, is something the rest of us need.”

Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend. 

With Love,
Morgan Hart

In Defense of Imaginary Friends (or: “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!“)


I’ve always found this ad campaign offensive, though it’s taken me years to figure out why. I guess the long and short of it is: yes, God absolutely fills the role of imaginary friend for me. And I absolutely still need an imaginary friend at my age, and have no idea why anyone would mock me for this. 

Invisible friends are damn near sacred in America, from the likes of Calvin & Hobbes to the moment Bing Bong sacrificed his life in Inside Out. There’s even fan fictions going around right now — very popular ones — that describe invisible friends coming back from childhood to comfort us at the time of our death. 

When I was young, there was a cartoon, Beetlejuice, a highly sanitized version of the Tim Burton film. The cartoon lasted four seasons. The appeal to young kids was obvious: Beetlejuice, wisecracking and fond of the middle-school-aged Lydia, would freely travel back and forth from the afterlife to visit her. He could appear in small ways until summoned (Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, BEETLEJUICE!). When he grew bored, he would appear as a sketch on her notebook paper and beg her to ditch school, or in a mirror and ask her to travel to the “Neitherworld” (I guess the censors didn’t allow “netherworld”?). Often, daily life would intervene, and Beetlejuice was left with hands in pockets, still talking but waiting impatiently as Lydia finished chores, went babysitting, went to school, etc. Eventually he took a part-time job as a handyman for her parents so he could visit her more. 

As a child, I always thought how amazing Lydia had it. In the middle of the night, in the middle of school, any time she needed companionship, she could summon Beetlejuice. He didn’t even appear to sleep! (And yes, I have to shut off my adult mind that now questions the motives of a grown man who wants to spend all his time with a 12-year-old girl.)

I don’t remember having an invisible friend as a child. Statistically, many kids never do. But I remember very well being older when Cartoon Network bought Beetlejuice in syndication, and celebrated with an uninterrupted run of the entire series. And I remember watching it (I always watched far too many cartoons) and realizing I was lonely in a way that no number of friends, boyfriends, or family members could ever fill. Becoming aware of this hurt like Hell, and I remember having this feeling like there was a gaping hole in my soul that desperately needed to be filled, and I had absolutely no idea how or with what to fill it. When I turned the TV off, I went walking in the forest… and walked, and walked…  3 hours at least… and at the end decided to connect with God. It was the only thing I could do.

It didn’t all come to me at once, but after that, the hole went away. And I cannot even describe how happy the next entire year of my life was, after that day. I had finally found my middle-of-the-night, anywhere or anytime, unceasing, eager companion. And we could talk! I never knew that before, I always thought that process was reserved for prophets and crazy people. 

“But,” as Michael Ende says in every chapter of The Neverending Story, “that is another story, and shall be told at another time.”

Today

Just had a morning of feeling deeply how we are free to live for God any day of our lives. We may not get to choose our financial situation, or change things at work. But we have SO much freedom in this life that we barely use. There are things within that are rejoicing that no one can take away.

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

-Psalm 118:24