How to Follow Your Call Through the Dark Places

Welcome to Week Four of the Follow Your Call Series!

I'm so excited to welcome Crystal Twaddell as she beautifully shares the power of walking through the most difficult and feared things in our life in order to find the strength and the joy in following our calling. Her story is so honest and powerful and I'm blessed by her words and know you will be too.

Follow Your Call Series

I have always known I wanted to be a mom.

The drive to be a different kind of mom than the one who raised me grew fiercely with every child I carried in my womb.  I was determined to wrap each of them in the security of unconditional love, significance and a rich foundation of faith.

So, putting my career goals on hold to follow my calling wasn’t a big leap or sacrifice for me.


I poured myself into motherhood, cloth diapers and all.

It wasn’t until I gave birth to my third child, a little girl, that things began to go awry. Night terrors and anxiety robbed me of more sleep than any newborn.  All the unearthed memories hidden deep in the heart of a little girl trying to survive one day at a time began to rise to the surface during the long sleepless nights.

For the first time, I seriously doubted my ability to be the kind of mother I so desperately wanted to be.

I questioned my purpose, my value and my strength. Fear found a place to grow strong. It spilled over into my marriage, my friendships and my mothering.  The need for perfection partnered hand-in-hand with fear, and my silent journey to prove that I could beat the odds of repeating all I vowed not to nearly tore me apart.

My life was spinning out of control, and I needed help making sense of it all.

Thankfully, God never leaves us alone in our desperate places. He had already gone before me in timing my path to cross with one who was all too familiar with the terrain I had yet to travel.  Her story unfolded to an auditorium full of women, but I knew without a doubt her words were for me.

We shared space in the same dark places of childhood. We shared the same survival tactics and the same conviction to not allow our destiny to be dictated by our past. And that night, we shared the knowledge that following such a calling means choosing to walk through the darkness in order to grab hold of the light instead of just catching a glimpse of it.

So my journey of remembering and healing began.  It’s been a long and often frustrating journey. To choose to travel a road we never wanted to be on is difficult and painful. To realize a fiery determination isn’t enough to accomplish our calling is an exercise in humility.

The time came when I had to acknowledge not only the darkness and fear threatening to consume me, but I also had to surrender it all to someone greater than myself. Walking out this calling of motherhood in a place of grace required nothing less…for the sake of my children…for the sake of my legacy…for the sake of me.

I don’t know what dark place overshadows your calling, but I’ve lived long enough to know one exists. It does for each of us.  Fear. Insecurity. Doubt. Addiction. Dark places take on many forms; they aren’t respecters of any calling nor do they yield to even the fiercest determined heart.

But dark places are just that and nothing more. They bear only the power over us and our calling that we give them. And they have definitive boundaries - they can’t reside in the same place as hope or grace or forgiveness.  Realizing this truth made all the difference for me. It made all the difference on my calling.

It gave me the courage to face each dark place with compassion instead of anger. I no longer had to fear another unearthed memory because even the worst was already being redeemed. The night terrors were calmed by the peaceful assurance that this was the process of equipping and healing me to walk out my calling with confidence and joy. Not in myself but in spite of myself.

Every dark place can be transformed by the light of the One who authored our calling.

We may not see the transformation right away because it takes time to clear and smooth rough terrain. There may be times when our view is blocked, our steps are unsure and we fail to choose the right fork in the road. But our calling is still our calling. No dark place has the power to change our calling if we don’t let it.

God will point the way and He will make a way and He will be with us all the way.


Crystal Twaddell

Meet Crystal

Crystal is an advocate of living outside of comfort zones as a means to unlocking hidden potential and experiencing God’s wild and uncontainable love.  She writes on combining a little bit of intention with a lot of passion to create an overwhelming legacy of hope. She is the proud mother of a Professor of History, a Worship Pastor and a soon-to-be Biologist and also loves fresh markets, lattes and all things French. You can connect with Crystal through her Blog or on: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest


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  1. Thank you for sharing your testimony here, Crystal. You do have a beautiful way with words. I love remembering that He transforms even our darkest places. Grateful for His light in you.

    (And hello, Nicole! 🙂 )

  2. Crystal, I just love reading your posts. You have such a beautiful way of saying things. Especially loved this line today: And they have definitive boundaries – they can’t reside in the same place as hope or grace or forgiveness. Lovely way to put that, Crystal.

    Thank you for giving us a peek into your vulnerable places. I’m sure your testimony speaks to a lot of people.

    And thank you, Nicole, for sharing Crystal’s encouraging post with us.

  3. It’s strange how our children can unearth things we thought were long buried or behind us. I had a similar situation with a foster daughter who lived with us for about six months. The counselor I sought out during that time told me that counter-transference was bubbling up. I don’t know exactly what I was transferring from my childhood onto her, but we were both a hot mess! I’m so glad you found your way through that maze with the help of a friend. Godly and wise friends can help us carry those burdens we can’t carry on our own. Love this and I’m grateful for Nicole giving you the opportunity to share!

  4. It’s in those dark places that the enemy creeps in and makes us question our obedience. I know that I’ve struggled many times with forgetting to continue to walk in obedience because I was too preoccupied with trying to fix my dark places myself. So thankful for a mighty God who is with us at every step!

  5. Love this, Crystal! My dark place is where two callings seem to intersect next month… my son’s tennis match and talking to women about reconnecting with their Soldiers after a deployment in a different town. Thanks for these wise words. Blessings

    1. And I know God is already going before you in this, Liz. What a beautiful ministry you have in coming alongside and sharing in the struggles that go with being the spouse of a soldier.

  6. “Every dark place can be transformed by the light of the One who authored our calling.”
    Thank you for this reminder! It’s so important to remember the truth that the Light of the World has spoken in when the darkness makes it feel impossible.

  7. Thank you for speaking out. I know a few moms who have only recently admitted that they’re in dark times (or were in dark times) for fear of judgment on their quality of motherhood.

    1. Colleen, I’m so glad you spoke to this. There is this lie which is perpetrated throughout the lives of believers that somehow we are “less than” when we admit to experiencing challenges or dark times, even when they are no fault of our own. The thought that we should just push through does nothing to honor our own heart or the plan God has for us, which is to heal and restore. He often asks us to trust him enough to let him walk us through the dark places because there is such light on the other side. Praying for them now, and thankful you are there for to encourage them.

  8. Crystal is a fantastic writer, first of all. She was captivating. And her story is beautiful. God is so good to have lined up the timing of that speaker, as she said.

    1. So glad you are encouraged, Sarah! Once we begin to admit that we are human and we have jagged places like everyone else, God begins to heal and we see our calling so much more clearly.

  9. Wow, Crystal. Love your transparency! Beautiful story of overcoming something that robs us from joy and our confidence of who we are called to be. Praise God!

  10. Crystal, thank you for sharing this. It’s a good reminder to me that we have to keep going through the hard stuff as we walk out our callings, but we can do it by our own sheer will. And that God is good to send us to the right places where we’ll hear the exact words of encouragement He has for us to help us keep on going. Nicole, thank you for sharing Crystal with us today!

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