Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In the Valley

Tomorrow holds a lot of answers.

But today does not.

Today I'm anxious as I wait for tomorrow's light. Literally and figuratively speaking. Our daughter has a heart cath tomorrow that could help us to know key information on how to move forward with treatment and recovery. But it could also reveal information that might foretell bad news, such as her heart not liking this new plumbing she recently received.

Sleepy baby girl. Who insisted on holding my hand. 

Scripture says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." {Psalm 23:4}

I memorized Psalm 23 sometime in my high school years, but I never really grasped it. As an adult, I've referred to it when praying for friends or family, but I barely understood it. But as a mom, walking this valley with her child, it finally truly hit home.

My ESV study bible paraphrases that valley can mean "the shadow death casts, or it may be...deep darkness". The example they give for deep darkness is to picture walking in the darkness in a valley in the desert where you might come across deep shadows such as those from animals, or the fear and suspense that the lingering darkness encompasses, but that even in those dangerous moments, "the faithful find assurance that God is with them, and thus they need not fear." {ESV Study Bible Pg. 966}.

...So this is the valley...

I get the deep darkness. I get the not knowing what dangerous or scary thing is around the corner. I get the frightened feeling. I get the feeling where I begin to think worst-case scenario and my chest becomes heavy with each breath as if I'm becoming suffocated by my own fears and thoughts.

What if it's the bad news? What if it foretells that although we've tried everything...that there's nothing more we can do?

I've also thought of Proverbs 31:25 which says, "Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come." Other translations read "she smiles at the future," (NASB) or, "she laughs without fear of the future," (New Living Translation). My study bible explains, "She laughs at the future, in contrast with being worried or fearful about it," (ESV Study Bible Pg. 1191).

How can I laugh in the face of the future? How can I smile and move on in strength and dignity? How can I accept bad news and then laugh at the times to come? I can't. Not without my Lord. If I rely on my strength alone, then it left me long ago, well before that first ultrasound. If I rely on dignity, well, there have been moments on this journey that I have not handled well, but in giving myself grace, I can say I've learned much and am changing as a person.

And to laugh in the face of fear?

I can't. My feet are frozen. My soul is paused. The only way I can even face tomorrow is by turning my eyes upon Jesus. Remembering that He was known as the Man of Sorrows for a reason. He knows this. He gets me. He is here. I think the only way the woman in Proverbs 31 was able to smile at the future was not because she was naiive and clueless, but because she grounded herself on truth and didn't let the lies of Satan sway her. She stood her ground because the Lord was her foundation.

I'm pep-talking myself. I'm reminding myself that even before the heart cath is being performed, even before our information is gathered, that I have no grounds for fear. I need to only rest in the fact that He is sovereign. That He hears our prayers. I did not say He always answers them the way we'd like. But for today, I can remind myself that He hears them. He knows them. He knows my heart's cry. And as long as I've brought my burdens to Him, I can, for now, rest in knowing that this is out of my hands and into His. I can beg and beg and beg for the Lord to fix my child and make her well again, but if I don't trust that He's actually capable of this very thing that I pray for, then I doubt His very existence.

I choose to believe He does exist and His healing is real.

I choose to believe He's capable.

I choose hope.

We're in the valley, folks. What good can come from such a valley? That it causes my eyes to look up to the mountains.

"I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." {Psalm 121:1-2}.


  1. Beautiful. Hard times. I had a heart cath last year. We had our own valley. Thank you for sharing your faith through yours.