I’ve walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I’ve felt the pain of heartbreak
And I’ve seen the brighter days
And I’ve prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held the blessings
God, you give and take away
Every year as fall begins, the colors change and there is the perpetual scent of bonfire in the air. Every year, I curl up with a coffee or hot chocolate and marvel about my year and that it is coming to an end. But this year, I cannot wait for it to end, this year has been filled with valleys.
I know that I should be anticipating the ascent, the climb up the hill to a place where the sun can be easily seen, but honestly I just want to get 2017 over with. This past year began with a tire blowing out on the highway, continued with surgery and rounded out with the loss of my grandmother. As the year progresses, the valley has only grown deeper, and the climb seems like a lot of effort just to roll down the other side to a new valley. But in the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there.
This is why I have not written about myself lately. I have been struggling with my health since May, and after a summer of fatigue and pain, my doctor finally was able to pinpoint the cause. My gallbladder had to be removed quickly. While all that was happening, my family in Michigan was learning about a special form of dementia that my grandmother had been diagnosed with. It was rapid and tore away her mind and her physical body. It devolved quickly and she passed away a few weeks ago. But when I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
With everything going on, writing has not been a priority. Yet as I sit and type this, I am reminded that no matter how bad these things—tires and gallbladders and dementia—seem, they are all temporal. Tires can be replaced, gallbladders can be removed and dementia will eventually end. There will be pain, there will be sorrow, but there will also be healing. Because You’re God of the hills and valleys! Hills and Valleys!
I want this valley to end so the healing can come, so the joy will be obvious and the pain will be lessened. The joy and the pain of it all is what makes it life. I am constantly looking for moments of strength to begin the journey upward, because I know the valley can seem deeper than it actually is. I know that life will fade, but joy makes way for hope. And I am hoping for a mountain top experience. Because on the mountains, I will bow my life to the one who set me there.
I am not naive to believe the hills are pain free; this year has truly prepared me for just about anything. It has also caused me to put my trust in the Lord, who is not temporal but is eternal. I have had to hope in the Lord, who is not safe but is good. I have had to place my faith in the Lord who in not distant but is near. I pray, Father, you give and take away every joy and every pain, through it all you will remain over it all!
I am not looking for a way out of this year; going through it all has made me stronger, softer and an encourager, but I am looking for for this leg of the journey to come to a resting place. And, I keep singing, No matter what I have, Your grace is enough no matter where I am, I’m standing in Your love.
Lyrics from Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells, this song has brought me to tears and reminded me to hope in the goodness of the Lord.