I seem to find myself in a valley recently. I knew it was coming. I didn’t realize how deep a valley it would be, but I suppose the fact that I had a red flag in my soul might have been an indicator. This valley has been a place of turmoil, pain, heartache and exhaustion. The past few months, I’ve felt like a surfer who’s fallen off her board and is being pounded into the rocks again and again by the waves, unable to get a breath. Dramatic, I know, but I’m being real.
When I have been desperate enough in the past to get out of a situation, I got out. Be it a class, a job… I found a way. With this particular situation (no, it’s not my marriage), my desire to escape is ten times greater than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. But I’ve chosen to remain even though it hurts, because I’m doing the right thing. (I know I’m being vague… hang in there with me.)
Yes, this is the valley. My boots are sticking in the mud. The thorns are clawing at my skin. The air is heavy and almost too thick to breathe. The jungle is so thick I can hardly see the sun, and the mountaintop I danced on not so long ago is completely obscured.
I do believe that God will use this situation for good, because I love Him, and he promised me that. But right now, hacking through the jungle with my heart bleeding, it’s hard to see past the pain. It’s hard to remember that God is with me and that He feels the pain too.
What is easy is to ask “Why?”. In fact, I asked this question today, and something clicked for me. On a mountaintop, it feels wonderful. The air is fresh, the sky is blue, the whole world is laid out in front of you, and you are on top of it.
But in the valley? Stuff grows.
So here I am, trudging and hacking my way through the valley, reminiscing about those days on the sunny, barren mountaintop. Yet this is where the exciting things happen. This is where I get to become a woman of integrity. This is where I get to be formed and defined. This is where I get character. It is the darkness of this place that will make the next mountaintop even more glorious.
And while I will not ask God for more valley experiences, I can find sincere gratitude in my heart for the good that will come of this one.
So, whether you find yourself breathing crisp mountain air, on your knees in the valley, or somewhere in between as you read this, take comfort in knowing that it’s all good:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.