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"As I gave up steering my own ship, I watched God miraculously open doors I had no business walking through; doors that I never could have opened on my own. "

  • Writer's pictureDenise Grace Gitsham



Burn, Baby, Burn!

Candles have one job, and one job only: to burn until they’ve expired. They can do lots of other things, like smell good and change the atmosphere of a room, but even those capabilities stem from their primary job, which is to burn.

An unlit candle, on the other hand, is useless. Like salt that’s lost its flavor, unlit candles are a waste of money, space, and wax. I know, because I have 20 of them

scattered around our house, and I’m constantly dusting or shoving them aside. It’s only when they burn that I'm reminded of why I bought them in the first place.

I got to thinking about candles last week, when a friend sent me the following words:

Your life is like a candle in the darkness. You shine the brightest in places where there isn’t much light. Sometimes you wonder about your effectiveness, but all the darkness in the world can’t extinguish the light of a single candle. Your only responsibility is to burn.

These words couldn’t have come at a better time: smack in the middle of a trip to DC, to advocate for justice on an issue that only Congress can fix. The magnitude of the problem made the darkness seem overwhelming, and some Members’ responses to our plea for help made our efforts seem fruitless. As optimistic as I generally am, there were moments when I wondered whether our words fell on deaf ears. How many more stories, voices – candles! - would it take to shine the light of justice on our cause?

But then my friend’s message landed in my inbox, and I recognized it as the encouragement I’d been praying for. Your responsibility is to do the one thing you were created to do. You may not notice the difference you’re making, but it's having an effect, and in time, your little flame will turn into a wildfire.

Since reading her email, I've been singing burn, baby, burn! nonstop under my breath. I've always loved that song, but as of last week, it's taken on greater meaning than bell bottoms, a dance floor, and a disco ball could ever give it. Today, it serves as a reminder to keep on burning until I’m all burnt out.

You, Lord, keep my candle burning; my God turns darkness into light. - Psalm 18:28


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