While texting back and forth with my little sister today she remarked how she didn't like the valleys of life. I quickly agreed in my thoughts, but was pulled up just as quickly with another thought, "there would be no mountains if there were no valleys". Even as I type I hear a neighbor's duck quacking in the background and am pulled to the memory of my own ducks given away in hopes of letting go of sad memories and fears connected to my husband's death. We had raised chickens, ducks and goats from babies and I had been forced to find homes for them all as I didn't have the funds or the active faith to continue feeding them. Now they are spread all over my small town here in west Texas and I only see them occasionally. When I do I am tempted to return to the low valley of emotion that I faced as I made the decision to give them up. I steady myself with the knowledge that they are being fed.
The shepherd king David shared his valleys all through the Psalms. He was an up and down man, suffering low lows and very high highs. He faced friends and family who would betray him, abandon and reject him and his faith. He had huge military victories and built quite q kingdom. He talked through wrong perceptions and prophesied with divine insight. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil for thou art with me... I notice quickly that he didn't camp in the valley. I actually typed "valley of death", but God reminded me it was only the shadow of death, not death itself. When not walking in the Spirit we tend to overdramatize our situations. My valleys are always deeper and darker than yours. How would I know? I've never actually gone through a single valley in another person's shoes. I do know that I've read and heard of really horrific things that others have suffered through and I am then glad for my own custom made problems. I rest knowing God has promised to never allow me to be tempted above what I can bear, and to offer a way of escape with every temptation.
There are good things in valleys too. Rivers and streams flow down in valleys. One can follow a stream to a river to a lake when in a valley. The grass is green in valleys, as long as one isn't in Death Valley. There are others who can relate to you in valleys. If you hold hands while in a common valley the going isn't nearly so tough.
If you are in a valley for very long, you learn to identify beauty in small things. In a desert valley you learn not to take for granted even the tiniest of flowers or creatures. A flower on a cactus becomes a work of art. The ravens and buzzards flying overhead become pictures of soaring freedom if you look at them just so. Sand running through your fingers can remind you of the passage of time. It's all in how you look at it.
As I travel through the different valleys in my life I have come to the place where I don't dread them nearly so much. Initially I may be tempted to shun them, but given a little time alone with God in the valley I resolve to enjoy the solitude. Of course I'm also looking forward to the next mountain, but know there will be a lot of climbing if I am to reach the heights I want to obtain.
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