I’m in a really beautiful, beautiful season of my life right now. I have the opportunity to rest a little and chase a few dreams. I’ve fallen in love with the best man I’ve ever known, and even though there have been a few challenges for a Colorado girl pursuing a long-distance relationship with a Puerto-Rican (mostly three classes 4-5 hurricanes!), overall, I’m filled with gratitude every day for the sweetness of it all. As someone said long ago, it really is the greatest thing we’ll ever learn, just to love, and to be loved in return. This learning process is one that has given me the gift of getting to see the top of the tapestry the Lord is weaving in my life, when the previous thirty-five years have felt mostly like the underside view. In essence, my present in this present time is to stand upon the mountain of God with the one I love, looking back on the valleys we have separately crossed, as well as the deserts and hills we have independently wandered and climbed. We both look back on the last ten years of our lives, seasons that felt mysteriously dark and lonely to us both, and can now see so many ways God used them to prepare us for one another and the ministries to which we feel He is calling us. Our God is truly such a master architect and designer!
But, at the same time that my beloved and I are standing on top of the mountain of God, many others in my life are really hurting down in the valley. Good friends face the devastating betrayal and heartbreak of broken relationships. Another continues to desperately miss the husband she lost to illness. One is watching her uncle lose his battle against cancer, and her aunt face the prospect of losing a second husband to a terminal disease. I watch others suffer chronic pain or prolonged economic or relational difficulties. The people of Puerto Rico and México continue to suffer in the wake of shortages and hardships resulting from natural disasters. Many of the residents of Las Vegas grieve loved ones who tragically lost their lives to a mass shooting. As we all know, this world has no shortage of heartaches or joys. It is full of darkness, and it is full of light. And yet, even in the valley, we can hear the winds of promise blow, as a very old American folk song: “Down In the Valley” by Burl Ives says…
“Down in the valley, valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow love, hear the wind blow
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow” (Lead Belly).
Whether this reaches you down in the valley today, standing upon the mountain of God, or somewhere in between, may you hear in the wind the whisper of our Savior saying your name, and speaking of His unchanging and unfailing and unfathomably great love for you. May His voice fill your heart to overflowing; may He bring you peace. It’s funny, because all of this has been on my heart to write for so long, the title has been typed and awaiting me on my computer, and then this morning, I heard a song on the radio that was new to me, that perfectly expresses it all. I hope “Hills & Valleys”, by Tauren Wells, ministers to you, as it did to me. Wherever you are, may you know, without a doubt, you’re “safe inside [His] hand”.
“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
No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I’m standing in Your love
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
I’ve watched my dreams get broken
In you I hope again!
No matter what I know
Know I’m safe inside Your hand.”
***Photo Credits: Lovedoes.org