Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Lonesome Valley

This is a tough day.  A kick-you-in-the-teeth kind of day. Could you sit down with me over a cup of coffee, and just listen with compassion for a couple minutes?

Things I needed from others weren’t forthcoming. (Everybody’s busy. I get that.) My request regarding working hours has virtually been denied. (They don’t really know what I do but they’re sure I’m the only one who can do it. I should feel complimented.) I’m dealing with unpredictable performance from my computer. (That’s no one's fault.) The backlog of work is piling up. (It is the busy season.)

Everybody has bad days. I know that. Every organization has its operating requirements they have to meet. I understand that. But today, I came so close to firing off a resignation letter, putting the house up for sale and taking off into the wild with the fast little red car.

I didn’t.

I’m being responsible. Patient. Holding on. Digging deep. Finding true grit. Hitting the bottom and finding it’s solid. My hope is built on the strong and sure foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I’m also holding tight to the very helpful and pragmatic instruction to not make any significant changes in the first year after my husband’s death. Most days this is a really good boundary and suitable criteria. But today? It's not easy. No one promised it would be. I feel like a big part of me is getting lost.

Then I come home and check out Facebook. Update after update reminds me of Brent. A song here, a blog post there, a status update, even a joke. They all remind me of how life breaks down the spirit. How a lack of appreciation wears down the perseverance. How hope deferred makes the heart sick (Prov. 13:12). How an absence of affirmation carves a deep crevice in your confidence like pounding water over time can carve a deep channel in stone.

Even when I know God works in all things for the good of those who love Him, it’s hard to keep moving under the heavy burden some days.

There is a traditional Spiritual that comes to mind:  

Jesus walked this lonesome valley. He had to walk it by Himself; O, nobody else could walk it for Him, He had to walk it by Himself.
We must walk this lonesome valley, We have to walk it by ourselves; O, nobody else can walk it for us, We have to walk it by ourselves.
You must go and stand your trial, You have to stand it by yourself, O, nobody else can stand it for you, You have to stand it by yourself.

So I can either sit here and milk all the melancholy out of the day, slip deeper into darkness, count all the things I lack or I can begin counting my blessings one by one and cling to the truth of God’s word that reminds me “this world is not my home, I’m just passing through.”

Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. (Phil. 1:6)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  (James 1:12)

Lord, to whom should we go? Only You have the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

Am I grieving? Yes. It's okay not to be okay. But I'm also normal. I have some good times. When I'm down like this, do I seek pity? Absolutely not. Do I want your prayer? Absolutely, yes. Am I down and in darkness? I know this too shall pass. I look to the Light. To the one who is Life. I tell myself the truth from the very words of the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life:

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Thank you for being there, too. The path doesn't feel so lonely any more.


  1. My dear Joyce, my heart is sad and heavy for you and the pain you are carrying. I see many similarities in your journey and my sister in law who lost her husband/my brother this past year. Grieving is such a cruel path but I will continue to lift you before the Lord because I know He is faithful.
    Diane Quapp