The Valley

Have you ever been in a valley? Whether figuratively or literally, valleys can be miserable. I never really understood the analogy of the valley until we lived in Arizona, in the ‘Valley of the Sun’. In the valley it is hot, the air quality is horrible, it is stifling. You can’t see over the mountains when you are in the valley. You can’t take a deep breath.

These literal descriptions of living in the valley of the sun are actually the exact same description when you are in a valley in your life. It is hard to catch your breath because you feel the weight of the situation crushing you. It is impossible to see over the mountains that are in your way. These mountains can be self-doubt, illness, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, financial instability, inability to have a child you long for…the list could go on and on. The air quality in your valley is stifling. It leaves a cloud all around you and it makes visibility nearly impossible.

But, when you climb out of that valley and are standing on the mountain, you can see for miles. You can see how far you have come and where you were when times were tough. The time in the valley makes you appreciate the view from the mountain. The hike to the summit is often difficult, painful, and tedious. It can feel like it takes forever to reach the pinnacle but the summit is drawing near.

Our valley was the summer of 2015. We literally lived in the valley but we personally walked through the valley for about a year. Without warning my husband lost his job. I had already stopped working full-time and was going to be a stay at home mom and work with him in his business. We had it all planned out. However, “we can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

We didn’t know what we were going to do and we couldn’t understand the valley we were in. The only thing we knew is that we were not alone in that valley. We knew that God was right there with us and was going to use this valley for His glory, in His timing. And let me tell you, that is exactly what He did. We never questioned why this happened to us and we never had a pity party. We had confidence that there was a reason that we might never understand and this is where we rested. We never walked alone.

Now that we are out of the valley, we are so thankful for our time in the valley. We are so thankful for the journey we were on and the fact that God was with us every step of the way, even when it just didn’t make sense. Hindsight is always 20/20 and when you put your faith in the Lord and know that His ways are so much better than any way you could map out, the valley is a point of appreciation.

As you walk in the valley, I pray you will know that God is with you. He will meet you there and will carry you through. This may not lessen the pain you are feeling but take comfort in the fact you are not alone. God is preparing a place for you. He is determining your steps and the place He has for you when you are out of the valley is beautiful. The view from the pinnacle is coming. The lessons you will learn along the way will be a testimony for others that are walking through a similar valley. He will use your valley to encourage someone else in the future. Just never forget that never once will He leave you and never once will you walk alone.

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
Matt Redman – Never Once


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