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Finding Value In Your Valley

     Valleys are funny things aren't they? I mean . . . rarely do we ever hear of a valley in a positive, uplifting context.

     "Hey Jennifer! I'm in a real valley this week, Praise God!" Or what about when you're attending a funeral and hear the part of Psalm 23 that goes, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me." Now don't get me wrong; I hear the part that says, "thou art with me" but in the back of my mind I'm also thinking, "Well, too late now. We're already at the funeral."

     It's okay to laugh. I know you probably think the same thing, too. So if these "valleys" are usually referenced in times of low points of our lives, the question I ask is this, "Can we find value in them?" More than that, and here's a real "stop and think" kind of question, "Is it possible that your valley is someone else's mountaintop? Deep, I know.

     Before moving any further . . . I'd like for you to imagine that you and your loved ones have planned a day at the beach. You have the picnic lunches all ready . . . turkey and Swiss, peanut butter and jelly, chips, fruit, snack cakes . . . I mean, you've packed enough for the neighborhood. You get to your favorite beach location, set out the goodies, then BLAM! Rain. Lots of rain. More rain than you have seen in awhile. What a disaster. A low point. A valley, if you will.

     So you pack up with disappointed hearts and try to salvage your day in another, dryer location. Though your family is GREATLY disappointed and understandably so, isn't it amazing to think that there is some farmer dancing in his field somewhere, holding his hands up high shouting, "Thank you Lord!" Of course! But because of your disappointment, it will be hard for you to see that potential rejoicing. Believe you me, I'd be the first to say, "Who cares! Couldn't God have had it rain on his field and allow my family to keep the sunshine for our plans?" (I would love for you to think that I'm holier than that, but I'm not. In fact, up until recently, I didn't even think there was value to be found in the valleys. I thought they were just something to endure.)

     So now move with me to my foot surgery. Yes, I had this beautiful thing on the side of my foot called a bunion. And we're not talking Paul (Bunyan - get it?) Anyway . . . the only thing that my bunion and ol' Paul had in common was its size and discomfort. I needed help and I got some. My podiatrist performed a surgery that would help my predicament once I healed up, but first I had to heal.

     What did that process look like? Let me speak very clear English. Six weeks, no right foot on the floor (not even to rest) but still had to keep up with teenager, toddler, and infant. Okay, ladies, for me that was a valley. A whoppin' huge valley. Everything I did took at least twice as long. I did have a knee cart which I propped my right knee on to keep my foot off the floor, that helped make things manageable -- but ONLY manageable. Not fun, easy or able to perform up to speed. We were just getting' by. Well, the day came when the Therapy Truck came by to pick up my knee cart (You thought I was going to say the Therapy Truck had come to pick me up, didn't you? I knew it. You're not too far off. By week four, I did think I was losing my mind.) But, it was the Physical Therapy Truck and I was SOOO Glad to see my knee cart go. But right before I did my happy dance, I happened to notice my two girls' noses pressed up against our glass front door, waving their hands bye-bye to their "scooter." They were almost in tears.

     You see, I had been so busy for six weeks wishing to be back on my foot . . . wishing to be out of my valley, that I failed to see the mountaintops that my girls were on every time they rode that "scooter" with me. I couldn't carry them very easily, so I'd place one on the seat and carry the other. Or one would stand while the other sat. Point being, they were flying high while I was swinging low. It made me stop and think and repent for asking God to just whisk me through my uncomfortable time instead of helping me to take in the scenery while I was where I was. Let me say that again and let's read it aloud this time . . . I had to repent for asking God to just whisk me through my uncomfortable time instead of asking Him to help me find the value while I was there. (Really deep, huh? It's the second cup of coffee.)

     So how does this apply to us? Well, let me first clarify. Some of you may be in such a deep valley or have been in a valley for so long that you can't even see how to find value in your low point. Please don't misunderstand me . . . the valley isn't going to necessarily be fun . . . it still will be a low point . . . it's just learning to find God in that place. Some of you may not believe that God can be with you or maybe you think that it's wrong for God to have left you there.

     Ladies, remember the first time you felt in love? Remember how badly it hurt when you felt someone didn't love you back? Feelings are incredible, but they’re not always trustworthy. I have felt many times that God just maybe didn't see. But He does. He ALWAYS sees. He has our best at heart. Go to His Word and stand on those truths which you can trust instead of the feelings inside of us that can be misguided at times. Whenever I doubt God's position on something, I go back to Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross and the pain God the Father went through having to allow that sacrifice to take place and think, "Wow! Even if it was just me . . . Jesus still would've gone through all that.” Talk about love!

     So . . . as you continue to trek through that valley, hold on tight . . . to God, to your Word and to a trusted friend who will keep you in prayer. The valleys are only for a season and the best thing about them is that there's a mountaintop waiting for you at the end. Look up! It's closer than you think.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Cindy Aitken

Reader Comments...
2011-03-03 15:40:03
"This is a lot easier to say/write than to do...when I am going through a difficult time, and I am not alone, I am supportive as I can be but when the other person doesn't see the forest for the trees, and doesn't know that there are other avenues that may be taken, well that just makes me kind of frustrated. I am going through a valley right now..I have to come up with something real soon...I can't do it...I can't do miracles...I will somehow manage...life will go on...but, in the moment it is hard to think like God..especially Jesus on the Cross...Love doesn't have to be recepricated to be validated...the one who loves is greater than the one who doesn't recognize...therefore...I choose to love one more day...Not be stupid...just love."
        - Rose
2010-09-07 14:27:04
"Thank you for this devotional. It meant a lot to me today. I know God has the right time to put the right article before us. I am a preacher/teacher and I write devotionals for our newspaper. I am so blessed when someone says, " That is exactly what I needed today." I wanted you to know that is exactly what I needed today."
        - Doris

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