the value of the valley

A few months ago, my friend Shanna and I had a written conversation about the value of the valley. You know the valley. It is any experience in life that brings you way down–down to the bottom of your reserves, down to your most desperate thoughts, so far down you can’t see a way out. Since we talked about it, it has been even more on my mind.

I’m in the valley right now. It doesn’t mean I’m always only one thought away from crying or that simple tasks overwhelm me, but sometimes it does. Because really, this is sort of awful. Lyme is a horrible disease and there are a million other things Brad and I would rather be doing with our lives than fighting it. To get myself up, out, and through the valley, I talk truth to myself. And the truth is I don’t have to be afraid of the valley. This is where God meets us. This is where He carries us and when we have our sweetest times with Him. It really doesn’t feel like it now, but whenever I look back on the blackest times these last few years, they seem covered over with God’s love and grace to take me out of them. He leads me beside still waters. I know this is what’s happening right now, even though the whole process hurts, hurts, hurts.

Another friend recently sent me this 17th-century Puritan prayer:

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to bear the crown, that to give is to receive, that at the valley is the place of vision.

The valley is the place of vision.





  1. Shanna

    Oh, friend. This post makes me so sad! Not because I don’t see your fight for truth or hear the hope in your words, but because I just hate knowing you are in the midst of this–and that your this can be so hard, hard, hard.

    I read another SO THAT the other day, one that I almost immediately went to post on your Facebook wall but that instead I am writing out here, now:

    “6 In this* you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 SO THAT the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

    (In this THIS: “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is IMPERISHABLE, undefiled, and unfading, KEPT IN HEAVEN FOR YOU, 5 who by God’s power are BEING GUARDED through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”)

    I was saying to Carrie on Tuesday, I have been holding these SO THATs in my heart–so that we can comfort others with the comfort with which we’ve been comforted; so that we depend on God and not ourselves; so that my faith will be tried into something more precious than gold tried by fire–something that will result in praise to God. I am holding on to them for you, too, friend, even as I see (and everyone around you sees, I am sure!) the imperishable-beauty kind of fruits of that testing already evidenced in you.

  2. Mom

    Oh, how I love you. And love how you search for and cling to truth. It leaves me speechless and tearsful.

  3. joannalinberg

    Mom and Shanna, you two are both so encouraging. Thank you for your notes here, for praying for me, for giving me scripture! I use it all greedily.


  1. honey&salt | lyme update - […] this moment, God quietly proved His faithfulness. While we were in the valley, another plan slowly started coming together.…

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