I went through one of the darkest times of my life. I was being tormented by the darkness, and I felt far from God’s love. I wasn’t sure how I suddenly got dumped in such a moment, but all I knew was I felt abandoned and alone, and I thought I had no hope for help.
words + photographs KAYLA BURKHOLDER
I believe in a spiritual world. I believe in generational curses. I believe sin has great consequences, and I believe this journey was the Lord working to deal with all of that at one time. My family’s generational curse has been the curse of fear, anxiety and deep depression. It has crippled us all and left us with lives paralyzed to those demons. I have also fallen to sin in ways that have destroyed others and completely broken the heart of God. I knew God couldn’t just leave those unpunishable. The destruction was just too much. And I have been wounded deeply by the sins of others, leaving me in great pain and suffering. I needed healing from that, as well. The only way to understand the gravity of my sin and to see a way out of the curse and to never want to return there again was to be brought low enough to see the demons, see the weight of sin and to experience the all-powerful healing hand God, who was the only one who could stand against it. And it was here where I realized how loved I was by God.
COVER Kayla Burkholder with her husband, Nathan, at the Grand Canyon in Arizona and (2) her children, Keeleigh and Jaxson. Jaxson has been featured as a Children’s Miracle Network child.
It first started with anxiety and depression that became so bad I was unable to get out of bed most days. I had severe panic attacks, and sometimes I would have to go to the emergency room for help in calming them down. It became my norm until a new symptom appeared: I couldn’t breathe. It felt like something was sitting on my chest, and I was unable to breathe in enough air to even walk through my house. I went to doctor after doctor begging for help, only to be told everything was fine.
One Wednesday night at church, a group of women prayed over me. Pressure was lifted off my chest immediately. I still wasn’t completely healed and did seek medical help to fix what was wrong, but I was relieved to breathe. The next morning, my daughter came out of her room and said she had a dream a demon was tormenting our family and an angel swooped down and grabbed the demon and threw it in a pit. I knew at that moment what my daughter explained is what happened the night before when the ladies prayed for me. The Lord was picking off demons that tormented me daily. I didn’t have the power to rid them, but God did, and that’s just what He did.
After that, I struggled with thoughts of worthlessness. The thoughts continued to progress into how I didn’t matter, and the only way to stop hurting — and the only way to stop hurting others — was to kill myself.
I heard it constantly.
The voices were so loud I couldn’t even think about anything else.
Here is where I saw the Lord at His strongest. It’s like I was dumped in the pits of hell and demons were just everywhere, screaming, and I couldn’t escape it. But the Lord encapsulated me, and He put His hand out and didn’t allow that darkness to consume me. It touched me, it tormented me, it yelled at me, it pressed up against me, but it had no power to consume me, and there is where I understood the Lord’s love for me. I understood the Lord’s strength over darkness and over all things, I understood the significance of what He did on the cross for me. I understood the weight of sin and what separation from God was like. I understood I deserved that darkness to consume me, but I also understood the Lord loved me so much He didn’t let it. And I changed.
I wasn’t sure how I suddenly got dumped in such a moment, but all I knew was I felt abandoned and alone, and I thought I had no hope for help.
I was different. I didn’t know who I was anymore because I was a new creation willing to be molded by God. I was freed from the torment of demons. I was in complete reverence for God, and I knew God does not leave His children in darkness.
Even though this was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, I am grateful the Lord let me experience it, and I’m even more grateful He saved me from it.
If you find yourself today weighted by the darkness, I pray you hand it over to the Lord and let Him deal with it like He wants to. It might be hard, and you might feel abandoned and alone for a short period of time, but you will soon know in the morning God never left. In fact, He worked in and through it, and you will be forever changed by His unfailing love. KB
Kayla Burkholder homeschools her two children and helps her husband run their architecture business, Burkholder Design Collaborative. She loves to study the Bible, read, and spend time with her family. She is an advocate for people with disabilities, which she became passionate about when her son, Jaxson, was born with a rare genetic disorder. Her mission is to raise kids who love and serve the Lord with all their heart and to share God’s love with everyone she meets.
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