Living in the valley is not what I chose. It’s what I got after a season of climbing to the mountain top.
It’s been more than a week of walking through it. There was rugged terrain, rocks in my way. Water spouts suddenly spilled and drenched me. Clouds moved in with thunder and lightning sending me running for shelter.
And what I’ve learned in this valley? It’s not a good idea to go alone.
Alone was never God’s word for us. He desired fellowship with man and woman so much that He made Himself available, coming in the evening to walk in the garden with them.
He was forever assuring His chosen ones that He would be with them and that they need not be afraid.
When He sent His one and only Son, He pronounced His name Immanuel, which means God with us. God.With.Us.
Jesus assured His disciples that He would be with them even as He prepared to leave them. And then He promised to send the Holy Spirit as a constant companion, comforter and guide.
So I learned and recognized that my God and Savior was with me even in the valley of the shadows.
I longed to hear Him speak my name. And I heard the Father call to me as He whispered His everlasting love through the pages of Scripture. I went back to familiar passages and remember His promises, His faithfulness, and His grace. I remembered that I am His and that I He gives light even in the dark place of my despair.
I listen to the message of grace in music, my singing companions. And I learned it’s hard to be downcast when music lifts my heart heavenward. I sang along through tears and felt His pleasure.
I learned again that my faithful partner of 42 plus years, Sweet William, loves me even when I am tear streaked, downcast, and not so lovable. His steady love still amazes me and I wonder why he chose me.
I learned something else in my trek though the valley. God gifts us with friendships. He created us with a need for one another, the human connection, the flesh and blood, talking and listening kind of fellowship. And that has been a source of strength during this season.
I learned that being open, truthful, and vulnerable about my valley experience did not produce condemnation and judgment. Instead I received an outpouring of loving encouragement and support. It was like flowers strewn along the path and the sound of birds. They were the treble notes of the sweet sisterhood of Christ. From a fellow blogger friend far away to my early morning prayer partner. From a younger daughter-of-my-heart to a grandmother-like-me friend. From a fellow sojourner who knows my secrets and still loves me to a young single who said I’m like family to her.
These sweet sisters have held up my hands and strengthened my feeble knees when I could barely look upward. They are God’s hands reaching out in feminine skin and bone.
My valley of Bacca has become a spring filled with my tears. I’m not through with this journey yet, but I see light through the tall trees that have seemed to block the sun. A spring of Living Water wells up within me to water the dry places, to heal my brokenness, to fill up my emptiness, to be enough!
I’ve learned that when I’m on the mountain, I am filled to the brim with glory, hands lifted high to the One who gave me the strength to climb. And I worship.
I’ve learned that when I’m in the valley, I am face down on the ground at His feet, empty and needing Him desperately for endurance to go another step. And I must still worship.
Either way, either place I find myself traveling, I can worship the One who knows the way that I take, goes before me, hems me in and surrounds me with His very presence.
So whether you are climbing the mountain today or heading down toward the valley, don’t go alone.