December 31, 2011

I Danced in the Valley

I used to think of valleys as being so barren and dry. I can recall driving through Death Valley once and feeling this unquenchable need to get out of there- everything about it was unwelcoming and undesirable. This is where you came to die, I thought.

We went there to “find the sun” after a series of gloomy days in California and find it we did. There was no escaping that sun- everywhere we went there it was. Every bend in the road we took and every corner we rounded it followed us.

Actually, it swallowed us alive.

This was the year of the valley for me. I spent this past year walking in the valley of the shadow of death. grief. loss. despair. brokenness. sorrow. and longing.

And I would not have it any other way. Really.

This is where I found the SON. HE was with me here. HE caused me to lie down in green pastures and led me beside still waters in the valley.

In the valley I was not rushed in my grief. I walked this journey at my own pace and was ushered into deep soul rest with my SAVIOR. I was washed over by waters of PEACE and COMFORT. I danced in the valley because HE made my feet light.

I have been restored in the valley. This is where my story and my sorrow were redeemed. This is where I dwelled with my LORD and HE was an all-consuming presence. an ever-present COMFORTER. a gentle HEALER. and a faithful COUNSELOR.

And now I have come to think of valleys much differently. I see them as places with lush vegetation and rich with soil perfect for growing. There are streams to rest by and hills to lie on. Valleys offer sweet rest for the soul and shelter for a broken body and heart.

I used to be so afraid of the valleys but that has all changed. Instead, I am grateful for the valleys of life. 2010 and 2011 were not good years in the worldly sense but when I see them through the lens of GOD’s promises and HIS word, I can see the bounty of beautiful things HE has done through and for me.

As I journeyed in my valley, I was given the great gift of HOPE. Not hope for a baby. or health. or any other thing. But hope in CHRIST. HE is my hope. And that is not something I can lose nor can it be taken away from me. It’s there in HIS word. It’s my HOPE to cling to and rest in.

I can’t begin to tell how good it feels to rest in HIS hope. in the promise of HIM. in the splendor of HIS GOODNESS and GLORY.

We wait in expectant anticipation of how HE will fulfill our desire to be parents to a child we can hold in our arms. HE will satisfy our desire- we just don’t know how. And we know that if it’s not HIS will that we have a child of our own or through some other means, HE will put a new desire in our hearts.

HIS word never returns void. HIS promises never expire. HIS peace is perfect. HIS hope is real and eternal.

This is the GOD I serve. This is the LORD I follow. This is the FATHER who loves me. This is the ONE who met me in my valley and ushered me into HIS presence and made my feet light.

HE gave me beauty for ashes. HE put a new song in my heart. And HE blessed me with good things along the way.

And so while I welcome the new year, I will always look upon this past year as the year that I learned to dance in the valley.

I danced for HIM. And because of HIM.

"Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow."
Jeremiah 31:13