A valley is both deep and wide. It is an erosion of the elements. A low depression amidst the highlands. Uplands of hills or mountains surround it, and in between there is life. Carved by the waters, a valley has movement. It can be a place of protection, a shelter from the winds.
There are so many ways that valleys represent our journey through life. There have been so many seasons that I have referenced the hills and valleys that have run through my own life.
Valleys remind me that the depths of my life are still being shaped. That there is always a steady stream ahead. Sometimes these waters rush towards us, and sometimes they just trickle in. Moving us forward and washing us clean. Sometimes, it seems, we have to search for the waters, and they seem beyond an endless and slow bend of this journey we are within.
I remember the day when these waters felt out of reach. When the valley of my life was so dark that those waters seemed to be also out of sight, and maybe even out of mind.
My valley grew deep so fast. In a moment, with the sound of my mother’s scream, the ground around me gave way, and I was somewhere between the tall walls of the world around me. I often refer to the year my brother passed away as my year of darkness, because I can’t remember anything from that time other than the memory of the physical darkness that surrounded me. It felt like I was moving in slow motion, not caring what was ahead, and not sure if I’d ever even get there to find out.
Have you ever come home from a really loud concert, and the sounds of the night are still ringing in your head, even though the space around you is silent? There was a hum of the sound of my brothers life for that entire year after his life ended, making it hard to hear (I mean really hear) anything else coming in.
I remember the day, a year in, that I decided I could not find my way out. That the darkness would never end. That I had lost hope that those waters of life would ever come from around that bend.
This was the first time I spoke His name. And I spoke it out loud.
“Jesus!? I can’t do this any more! I have no hope. Jesus, help me…”
I fell back on my bed.
A light. An undeniable, physical, light filled the space around me. I would not have known this light if I had not known the depths of the darkness that I had been in.
When God walks alongside us we see the hills and valleys of our life in a new light. His Spirit hums within the highs and lows of the lands of His creation. A hum, that does not deafen you, but that washes and moves you. His spirit awakens the world around. He is the water that carves the valleys within us. He gives us life. He is the beauty in the Valley.
Choose whatever meals you want today, but as your drink for today, choose water. Consider the blessing and life that water gives you. Each time you drink water today, thank God quietly in your heart. For He is within!
How sweetly fitting that my friends Hannah and Austin wrote a song called Hills and Valleys
Artist: Flocks and the Lookout
Song: Hills and Valleys
Come alongside me Father.
Walk with me in the valley.
I am thankful for how you sustain me.
Help me to trust that you have prepared an endless stream ahead.
Help me to better hear the streams of your heaven await.
Help me to hear the hum of your Spirit within.
Shape me Lord.
I am yours in the high and low.
I love you Father.
I promise to love you by being a light to someone today.
Come alongside me O’ God.
Be present. Whether you are in a hill or valley today, find a sacred and quiet space where you can tune into the hum. The hum of His Spirit is within you, it fills the space around you, no matter where you are!