The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley if You want me to
‘Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if You want me to
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone
So when the whole world turns against me and I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the darkness if You want me to
When I cross over Jordan, I’m gonna sing, gonna shout
I’m gonna look into Your eyes and see, You never let me down
So take me on the pathway that will lead me home to You
And I will walk through the valley if You want me to
Yes, I will walk through the valley if You want me to.
[God] changes not because thou changest. Nay, He has an especial tenderness of love towards thee for that thou art in the dark and hast no light, and His heart is glad when thou dost arise and say, “I will go to my Father.” . . . Fold the arms of thy faith, and wait in the quietness until light goes up in thy darkness. Fold the arms of thy Faith I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of something that thou oughtest to do, and go to do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the prepar- ing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed not thy feel- ings: Do thy work.
Today was a valley day. A day when you cried a lot. Like a lot, a lot. The pharmacist tells you your total and you and your husband’s jaws drop and you have to figure out what to do. Again. A day when you give yourself a shot at your kitchen table while your husband feeds you instructions and you both feel so alone together. A day when you stop to pray a hundred times, just to get through it. A day when googling gets the best of you and steals all of your optimism. A day when you keep rereading verses and listening to songs you know by heart, to encourage your heart. You and your husband are irritable and fighting from the stress. You are weak. You are truly weary. You feel like a wimp. You feel forgotten. Disappointed. You don’t want to be dealing with this. There were so many other things you were supposed to be doing with your life at this point, and three blood tests in a week wasn’t one of them. This is a nightmare. The worst-case scenario is your real-life situation, and it feels like it’s never ending. You are walking through the valley of the shadow of death and it feels like it’s killing you. You feel like a speck in the ocean as it keeps sweeping over you, and Lord, when is this ever going to end? You are thirsty for mercy and this is a day when you feel like you’re only sinking deeper. This is the real valley — the real deal. It hurts physically, spiritually, emotionally. It is dark and it is real life. Today was a valley day.
…But even in the valley, You are faithful. You are working for our good and for Your glory.
Several months back I was riding on a train and thinking about this seemingly unending misery called infertility. One trail of thought led to another, and I thought of Job, who also went through a time of trial. I busted out my Bible and started skimming his story. I recalled how God had allowed Job to be tried by Satan because Satan accused Job of only faithfully serving God because he was so blessed. God disagreed, and allowed Satan to do anything and take anything from Job except his life. Job didn’t know this, but Satan took the offer. And do you know what is said about how Job handled the trial? “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”
I stopped there and started thinking about myself. I had been walking a blessed road, in my assessment, and was struggling with why God would bring us, His faithful servants, into such an awful path of trial. I asked myself, What if this is the same situation as Job? What if God is betting with Satan that your faith is not based on your blessing? How are you doing? And if the story stopped tomorrow, what would be the conclusive line about how you handled it all?
If I were honest, I would’ve said that I would’ve been ashamed at what would be said of me. I was struggling with the Lord and having trouble witnessing to others, praying at all, keeping hope, and trusting my beliefs, because I had crossed the 12-month line of trying to conceive and was realizing God was allowing us to enter this trial. I was bitter with Him, borderline (over the line?) sinful in my heart. I knew my fate was in His hands, and I was bothered at how He was handling it.
So Satan was winning, you guys. If I was being bet on (by the way, what a compliment to Job that God had such confidence in his faith, right?), I was losing. So I devoted myself to change my story. If it ends tomorrow, I don’t want my testimony to be, “In all this she crawled into a ball in her bed and cried for days until it was over.” Or “In all this she stopped praying and wouldn’t open her Bible, because she was giving God the silent treatment.” Or “In all this she whined and complained daily and made everyone else miserable.” Or whatever you would say is your current response.
I guess this is just my challenge to you, from my own thoughts and mistakes, to search your heart and consider what would be written of you if you got your own book of the Bible like Job did. I hope your answer is better than mine was, and if not, I hope you have the wisdom to change it!
This is another song that is really special to my heart, “The Valley Song” by Jars of Clay. It’s part of the inspiration for the subtitle of this blog, as it carries the biblical symbolism in calling this trial of infertility (or any trial — cancer, job loss, persecution, whatever) “the valley.” But the great thing about the valley is that, if you keep walking, it will end and you will be standing on the mountains again and rejoicing at the river.
One of my most prayed prayers is that God will have mercy on us (Luke 18, anyone?). I’ve never before felt like I needed to pray for mercy, but at my lowest point, it was what naturally flowed out of my mouth when praying one day. Obviously, a baby would be the greatest form of mercy that I can imagine right now, but I encourage you not to miss the daily mercies He gives you (anything from a kind nurse to deep peace) because you’re looking so hard for that big one. We’ve already rested in the truth that His mercies are new every morning… don’t miss them!
By the way, my very favorite line in this song is:
Though the pain is an ocean tossing us around and round,
Today’s song was my first “anthem” for our infertility. It would randomly [providentially] pop up on Pandora at just the right times, so I finally bought it. We like to listen to it for encouragement, so I thought you would too.
While I know it’s not exactly a worship song, it is truth-based and I can’t overlook the value in that. It echoes this famous quote [perhaps by Edith Edman?]: “Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.”
Luke 1:79 – [Jesus came] “…To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”