Walking Through The Valley
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
- Psalm 23
We all go through valleys in our lives. The preacher who spoke at my church Sunday night said that our lives happen in cycles. There is night and then day. There is winter and then spring. We sleep and then we wake. Times are bad and then they are good. I have learned this to be true.
When we go through something difficult we view it as a valley. It is a low and dark time in our lives. Although my life is full of blessings, I definitely call my journey in secondary infertility a valley. Giving birth to my daughter was an absolute mountain-peak moment, and being unable to give her a sibling has been a deep valley that at times has felt very dark and lonely.
But we are reminded in the Psalms that even when we are in the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us. As I meditated on that thought today God showed me something significant about His presence. The verse tells me that God is in the valley with me, but it is up to me whether or not I walk alongside Him or not.
How often do we try to run through our valleys? When we are going through a trial, our main goal is often to get out as quickly as possible. But shouldn’t our goal instead be to lean on God and learn what He is teaching us? What are we missing by running through our valleys and leaving God behind?
My first instinct after receiving the diagnosis of secondary infertility was to run. Run to tests and treatments and success. Run until the problem was gone. I wanted to trust God, but in running from the problem I left God behind me and tried to find my way out of the valley on my own. As time passed, I was able to conceive three times, but lost each baby in just a matter of weeks. I finally came to the place where I was broken and exhausted. I couldn’t run anymore. I fell to the ground and poured my pain out to God.
He met me there.
And in the valley, I truly connected with my Father. There were days when I sat quietly with Him and felt His arms around me. There were days when I lashed out and asked Him “Why?” There were days when I listened to Him and read his Love Letter to me and claimed every promise He has made to me. I learned that when I am in one of my life’s valleys, the best thing I can do is run to Him, climb into His arms, and beg Him to show me what I need to learn and how I can grow.
I have said from the beginning that I don’t want to waste my pain. I want to find the better blessing. I want to be a better blessing. From the start I knew that my pain was meant to be used to help others. But what I didn’t realize was that my pain was meant to change me.
I have now been in this valley of secondary infertility for two years. And although I did try to hurry through the valley at first, I am so grateful that God drew me to Him. I cherish the time I am spending with Him here in my dark place. He has become more real to me in this last year than ever before. My relationship with Him has grown deeper and stronger. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I am grateful for this valley and the way it has broken me and then strengthened me.
He is my comfort. And my cup does overflow.
I hope you can say the same in your own valleys.