Sometimes life hits and you’re left wondering if what just happened is real or it’s just a dream…
It was Tuesday afternoon, the day after our thirtieth anniversary when Joe called me and
he softly spoke the words,
‘The Dr called and I have Lymphoma…’
I couldn’t believe it.
Even though God had been giving me bite size portions of this over the past week, my heart didn’t want to receive these words.
‘Oh, Joe I’m so sorry…we will get through this…’ were the words I repeated over and over until I arrived into the church parking lot and walked in to see him.
My gas tank was on empty and it mirrored my emptiness within…I felt like someone had let the air out of my lungs.
Once I reached his office, I held Joe as tightly as I could.
Because sometimes holding onto the ones you love feels like coming home.
He’s always been the strong one and I’ve fed off his strength for years and now I felt like the roles were reversing….
The one he’d lean into.
The one to remind him of God’s truth.
The one who would pass courage on when he feels worn down by it all.
I wondered if I had it in me….But life somehow awakens us in moments like these.
Something’s been changing in us over the past couple of days I feel it deep inside…
The next morning I spent countless minutes with God letting him minister to my soul.
In those moments I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt.
I saw the fight ahead and knew the one who’s been fighting battles through warriors would fill us with everything we needed to get through the days ahead.
We texted our kids and asked them to join us in turning our worries into worship.
Just the day before as one of our son’s prayed over us asking God to let this test become our testimony and our mess be our message, something courageous arose within us.
We sent out songs of worship to those near and far and asked them to join us in worship to God. We knew worship was the thing that ministers to brokenness the most.
The response was huge as we began receiving songs of praise from all over the country. People joining us in worshipping through worry.
Many with piles of worry of their own.
And last night the most beautiful thing of all happened.
As close friends and the leadership of our church gathered together,
God came even nearer to our souls.
We sang out together, hearts wept and we prayed.
We cracked open wide our hearts and our wounds and bled with one another.
And you know what happened?
Jesus met us there…
He cleaned up our wounds and mended our brokenness.
And in the ache of it all, we felt empowered to walk ahead…surrounded by armor bearers beside us.
And truth is I think we all will be different because of it.
Even this place we live will be different.
Our kids will be different and their places will be different too.
Because something that invades this deep can’t help but change us and change those surrounding us.
Just yesterday, I read the verse on my daily calendar that I had picked out in November.
The black ink simply stated…
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
This verse foreshadowed where we were headed yesterday…as I read the words in the morning.
‘The darkest valley…’ struck me.
But it also gave me an enormous comfort as I continued reading…
‘I will fear no evil, for YOU are WITH me…’
God is with us through our darkest valleys friends.
He is with us and he is with the ones we love who are suffering too.
There is no greater comfort than knowing he walks beside us and even carries us through some of our hardest days.
I’m reminding myself this truth as it feels a little harder to breathe lately and when I’m afraid of what’s ahead-God is WITH me and he’s WITH Joe too.
And friend he’s WITH you in the dark valley you’re walking through too.
The thing with valleys is they’re always sandwiched between two hills. To get into the valley we will have to descend into it and yet to walk through it we must make the ascent on the other side.
You see, even people who live in a geographical valley have to make a climb upward to get anywhere.
And perhaps this picture is more about our climb upward than it is about walking through the dark valley.
Maybe it’s who we climb upward with…and about making it through the valley, so we can make the ascent up that will prove meaning-full.
It’s still dark outside this morning as I felt nudged to crawl out of bed on this dark and stormy morning.
But God began writing this story on my heart,
because that’s what he does.
He writes words upon us so we will speak them and revive another’s hurting soul.
Our stories are just that.
They’re our journey, our ascent upward.
They’re the stories people really want to hear but we all too often hide underneath.
People want to know we hurt like they do, they want to know we wrestle inside and that we’re scared like crazy too.
Because this is what makes us real.
It’s what authenticates our stories.
And you know what I’m finding…the more we tell our story the more it’s not as scary as before, and our pain eases some too.
Somehow in speaking our brave words God heals our brokenness.