Several years ago my family decided to make the trek up a high peak in the continental divide. I had heard tales of our son’s adventures up these mountains and I wanted to experience it.
I had no idea though just how much it would whip me.
I thought I was in pretty good shape but I soon discovered I wasn’t entirely ready for what this mountain held.
It’s rugged cliffs and inclines challenged me every step of the way.
And the closer we got to the top the more I wanted to turn back.
Yet I’m not sure if it was the view behind me which looked so far away or the deep desire I had to stand on a mountain top
-whatever it was it gave me what I needed to keep climbing…
And sometimes, that’s how I feel life is.
Somedays life honestly feels like its woken us up climbing an enormous mountain.
Lately Joe and I have been catching glimpses of ourselves in our reflections and we both keep wondering who the stranger is staring back at us.
We’ve caught ourselves not recognizing the person in the mirror multiple times.
Because valleys bring about weathering.
And honestly I sometimes don’t know what’s worse the hard thing we’re experiencing or the feeling that we’re in it alone.
Because we all get lost sometimes walking ourselves through suffering.
We get a bit confused and overwhelmed as we wander through our days, and we find ourselves feeling alone while we walk through the valley we’re in.
I know because I’ve felt this lately.
No matter how many texts we receive or kind words spoken….the way people have loved us has been humbling, but…
there’s some places God leads us alone.
And I think that’s because the mountaintops are what we climb to see God; but the valley is where God meets US.
It’s in the valley that God reassures us we can make it through. He doesn’t beckon us from the other side of the valley or watch us while we suffer through the valley
-God goes WITH us.
You see, I truly believe people don’t like to say God leads us into valleys.
They’d rather say its a place we wander when we’re lost.
But I believe differently.
Because friend we can’t plan the days we will be led into a valley.
They show up in our lives at the most unpredictable times, usually when we don’t really have time for them and we’d rather walk the other way.
Valleys are just like this, they show up at just the wrong time and in the wrong way.
And it doesn’t make a difference how good we are or if we’ve eaten all the right things and kept ourselves in good shape.
Because valleys aren’t choosy and they’re not predictable.
They don’t pick on an ethnicity, a gender or even a certain pay scale…because no one’s exempt from them.
Friend, valleys are hard and none of us make it through without picking up a few scars.
Because our scars tell the stories of the valley and they tell about how God brought us through.
In this valley we’ve been traveling through one of the craziest things is the people we’ve been meeting, pushing through a hard time of their own.
Its always been amazing to me how people slice open their hearts when they see yours is broken too.
Its as if being in a valley with someone else makes it better.
I truly believe that’s because in the depth of our souls lies an innate desire to know we’re okay and we’ll be okay.
And when we meet people in these places our collective pain intertwines with theirs and it somehow fills a bit of the emptiness we’re feeling…
It somehow gives purpose to our pain and lets our ache find a tinge of relief.
And honestly this can be a little tricky as we can convince ourselves that our wounds are healed when God’s just letting the bleeding stop for a bit.
And friend, if you’re out there hurting and wandering in a valley of your own…I want you to know you’re not alone.
And if you’re in the middle of a raging storm, know that all storms come to an end and you WILL be okay.
Even though all of our storms end differently, they all end and you will survive.
In fact one day you will show another hurting friend your scars and you will be the ONE who breathes life into another’s lungs.
I know this because I’ve experienced this and I know you will too!
Because friend, there’s a big difference between ‘feeling’ broken and living broken.
Those aching feelings you and I experience don’t truly make us broken
>>>they make us REAL.
And although being real hurts and sometimes feels like we’re bleeding all over our people, its okay.
Because being real, is vulnerable and its here we find connection and we connect people to God.
…And It’s here in his blood that people find LIFE.
And the truth is…
Valleys are best spent with God; because the people we meet there are designed for his purpose.
Two souls which find each other in brokenness still need God MORE than they need one another, because no other human makes us whole.
Valleys aren’t meant to swallow us up but to meet God.
Yes, we will struggle in the valley and we will even cry out in the valley, but God won’t ever leave us in the valley…because the valley is only temporary, it’s not a place we’ll ever call home.