Others in the Valley

Last week I wrote about blessings in the valley – how though I am going through a “low” period in life right now, God is showing me there are blessings here. Well this week I am learning something else.

Just from bumping elbows with others in my world this week, I have discovered I am not alone. I am not the only parent who has wondered what the heck to do when their infant will not nap. I am not the only mom to struggle with the decision to take medication while breastfeeding. I am not the only one seeking help from a Christian therapist who is real and gets it.

And you know how I realized I was not alone?

I said to those around me, “Hey, you know what, we’re struggling with this… could you pray for us?”

When I reached out, their reply was “Hey sure, and by the way, me too….”

So it turns out that I’m walking through this valley not just for God to teach me… but to be there with others too. I see positive ripples affecting those around me because of the struggles I have faced. My eyes are seeing the truth of Paul’s words played out in my life when he said, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

We are SO NOT ALONE!!!! And IN OUR WEAKNESS WE ARE STRONG because of Jesus.

Through our struggles he uniquely places us within the tapestry of the body of Christ, to weave together his plan of redemption for his Kingdom. It makes no sense to use weak thread, and yet he works through it – us – and makes “beautiful things out of the dust” (see song by Gungor).  He turns my valley of trouble into a place of hope.

I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor (which means trouble) a door of hope. Hosea 2:14b-15a

How cool of our God is that?

Blessings in the Valley

Life is good and I am blessed, currently the roles of wife to an awesome husband and mother to two beautiful children dominating my time and attention. As wonderful as managing these blessings is, the last month I have come to recognize that I am one of many moms who battle post-partum depression. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, though it is something I dreaded. In it, I will honestly say it sucks and is not fun. But God is showing me that his plan and path are leading me through this valley right now and that is okay. Valleys can be dark, scary and lonely places, full of rough terrain, hidden obstacles, and unknown dangers. However, God is showing me that the valley can be beautiful as well. As he leads me, he is giving me breaks in green pastures and beside still waters, where he says, “Here, child, here is my blessing for you. Receive it.”

This Labor Day weekend we are up in NW Iowa at my in-laws, a wonderful place to be. Three days ago, I was tired, depressed, and the thought of packing up the family, being on the road for 4.5 hours with small children, getting in late and battling my fall allergies was just too much. Didn’t sound like fun. Would rather stay home. But we committed to go and so we did.

It turns out God was leading me to a green pasture.

Though yesterday morning my allergies were a hot mess and I had a bad headache, we were able to reconnect via playdate with some old friends, which resulted in mutual encouragement, camaraderie, and fellowship.

Yes, Lord, I receive your blessing.

Though getting to Grandma and Papa’s late meant the kids were extra tired, they have been sleeping at night and napping beautifully.

Yes, Lord, I receive your blessing!!!!!!!

Though it meant another late night, my hubby and I got to worship outdoors on a warm breezy evening with Rend Collective and thousands of fellow believers, which greatly strengthened and watered my soul.

Yes, Lord, I receive your blessing.

This morning my husband got up with our toddler and my allergies were minor enough that I was able to sleep in a little, then have a homemade omelet and coffee for breakfast.

Yes, Lord, I receive your blessing.

Though it was going to be a hot and muggy day, I had the desire and energy to take my toddler for a walk and explore the town park with him – so fun! Got so hot and sweaty, and the exercise felt wonderful.

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Yes, Lord, I receive your blessing.

While I sit relaxed on the couch nursing my infant, COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS ON TV.

Yes, Lord, I receive your blessing.

Thank you, Lord, for restoring my soul in the valley. I have everything I need, for you are with me.

 

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link-up, this week’s prompt: “Yes”