Over a week ago I posted about my current struggle with depression and first of all I'd like to thank you for your kind words and powerful prayers. I did speak with my Dr. and in the last week God is moving me in the right direction. I pray that will continue, so onto my thoughts for today...
The other day I was thinking about Psalm 23 and the words I have said so often, "Yea, though I walk through the valley..." I know David goes on to say "of the shadow of death" but here lately I've felt as though I was in a valley. Not necessarily one created by death, but instead life's events.
As some of you are aware, I am in the process of publishing a book - the idea sounds wonderful, but it's not seen that way by some. Those who don't understand my faith and desire to please God can't comprehend why I'm sharing these stories with the world. At times what some view as a mountain top experience leaves me feeling like I'm in the valley.
Just last week, my husband and I were part of some meetings for homeschool parents. Our oldest just finished kindergarten so we are new to this, but we've witnessed and appreciated the opportunity to teach our son and train him in God's ways. The blessing doesn't come without a cost though - again not everyone understands this decision and as our local public school struggles with rapidly declining enrollment many don't appreciate it. Life can be hard when we are misunderstood and walking through the valley can be a challenge when it seems we're letting others down.
Then there's just the daily things that come with trying to live a Christian life. I tend to be a people pleaser and it can be hard to deal with the thoughts of what others are thinking. God has brought me a long ways on that, but still I'm human and don't like to feel misunderstood by others. In the world we live in today though that is going to happen when we try to live Christ-like. Just the other day my husband and I were talking about not working on Sunday. For those with a Monday through Friday job, it perhaps is different, but as a farmer, this strategy has been question more than once.
As we walk through this valley, it can be difficult and at times we wonder if the pain that comes with it is really worth it. We can wonder what the purpose is, but God always has a reason. Though it can be easy to overlook, our actions do have an impact on others. Though their response and even their words at times can be hard to endure, God is working through our example. He might change them by the way we live, the things we do and the words we say.
Though we don't know how He will use this in others' lives I'm beginning to see how He changes me as I walk thru the valley. These difficult times remind me I can't do this thing called life on my own, I need Him, His strength, His peace, His presence. Without Him I am nothing.
Another lesson is one our pastor brought up last week - as Christians we must expect persecution. Jesus faced it and as His followers we will do the same. As he preached he encouraged us to stop and look at our lives to see if we really were being persecuted. Now being misunderstood, labeled and rejected don't compare with what some in this world are facing, but in our society that is what we deal with. Though I don't like those things, he reminded me that blessed are the persecuted!
Finally one last thing - I once heard someone say, "The valley - that's where the fruit grows!" I feel like I'm on way out of the pit of depression and pray God continues to move me in that direction. And as I look back over the past month as I've walked thru the valley I can now see the truth to the above statement. Though days were hard and many, many tears cried, He has done something. As I opened up with a few friends, those relationships were made stronger. He strengthened my faith and desire to know Him. Someday I pray the fruit that is growing now will be of benefit to someone else when they are in the valley.
So as you walk through the valley, keep looking up and laying the burdens (whatever they may be) down. Like David remember, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." He is there my friends, rest in Him wherever you may be.