Tag Archives: strength

The Valley of Vision


A few years ago I was blessed with spending a great deal of time with a friend who was losing her husband to an illness that he had battled for a number of years.  Through out our time together I had thought that I was being used to help her get through her difficult time, however, over the years I have realized that I was the one that was blessed and she unknowingly helped prepare me for my own future heartache.  Through those lengthy talks, prayers, and cherished moments together I learned and am able to use today the wisdom of waiting on the Lord and how to live with loss.

I thought I knew what it meant to wait upon the Lord, however, nothing in my past has prepared me for what our family has been dealing with more recently.  In the last several years I have had to accept loss of family, loss of friends, loss of health and currently loss that comes with economic changes.  Loss comes in all shapes and sizes and in all sorts of ways.  Some are permanent and some are temporary.  Looking through the loss and looking for the clearing on the other side of the fog can be difficult if you are not given the eyes to see it through.  Waiting upon the Lord gives clarity.

I have found that staying in prayer and surrounding myself with others of like mindedness in faith always carry me through.  The Lord continues to peel back the layers of scales that grow upon my eyes.  Each layer giving me new perspective and helping me to grow closer to Him.

My friend, during our time together, introduced me to a wonderful book that I quite often find solace in.  As my morning in worship came to a close, I learned of a situation which I have no control over and I felt lost.  I so wanted to be “in the know” and a part of a solution for a loved one that I lost sight of my own boundaries.  Caring with only your heart and not your head will stretch any boundary and although some of us have hearts full of  love for others, it’s the head that needs to remind self of the purpose.  If I was wanted, I would have been “in the know”, if I was needed then I would have been called.  Everyone makes decisions that are best for them and I need to respect that.  My heart may be breaking and my mind may feel the sorrow, however this was one more example of how the valley is what feeds the soul, not the mountain.  I’ve said it for years in numerous bible studies that as children of a Holy God, we are not fed at the top of the mountain, (where we typically seek to find Him) we are fed in the valley’s (where we always hear Him).  So, in this little book sweetly and ironically called The Valley of Vision I once again find clarity in my valley and once again I thank my friend for the blessing of a little book of wisdom.

The Valley of Vision

LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY,                                                                   Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,                                                                                where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;                                                         hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

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 wear the crown,                                                                               that to give is to receive,                                                                                                              that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,                                                      and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;                                

Let me find thy light in my darkness,                                                                                         thy life in my death,                                                                                                                       thy joy in my sorrow,                                                                                                                     thy grace in my sin,                                                                                                                         thy riches in my poverty                                                                                                                thy glory in my valley.

Friends, in your valley, I pray that you not just seek but that you hear the Word of God that feeds your soul.  That you find solace in your times of sorrow and strength in times of weakness.  On this Sunday, I pray for continued wisdom and for accountability when it comes to my own sinfulness.

Strength in the Lord, not the hair…


Last week I mustered up the strength to go out and get my hair done.  We had a big weekend coming up with the kids between their Regional Finals and their Band Debut.  We were supposed to be out of town the entire weekend.  Now, with my health as it is, I have been avoiding crowds and avoiding all stress and activity.  Not just because I am unable to do very much as I am quite tired and have no strength, yet also because after this last acquired virus which put me and my family into a tail spin I decided getting sick with anything further just wasn’t something I needed nor wanted.  This weekend however, was going to be unavoidable.

On the Monday before the event I began asking questions about the Band Debut and ended up in charge of the Silent Auction and Raffle.  You may be asking yourself how I managed to do that.  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I’m sure the word “volunteer” came in to play at some point, yet I’m not exactly sure what words came out of my mouth that gave anyone the impression I was the “go to” girl for the job.  Not because I’m not capable of pointing out I could do it, I just don’t remember exactly what I said.  A memory issue I blame on my friends who also dwell in this body.  Well, I am organized enough in auctions as I have done enough of them, so it came together nicely and I wasn’t really stressed during the week leading up to the event.  That is, until I looked in the mirror and realized that I looked like death warmed over.  So, the hair appointment was made in hopes of making me look human again.

As I plopped into the chair awaiting the hairdresser to velcro the smock around my neck, I looked in the mirror and wondered if there was enough color to change the skunk look I had going on and if just a trim was going to be enough.  The hairdresser then asked the dreaded question of “So… how much are we going to cut off today”?  I have been growing out my hair for the last few years and the only cutting I’ve had done has been through a trim.   I could see the glean in her eye and the hope she had that I just may adopt a “Go ahead and cut it all off” attitude.  As I looked in the mirror at what I looked like, I asked her to just color it and to please get me a few books to ponder her question.

After looking through about 4 books with the hairdresser I asked her if she had many clients in their mid 40’s who had hair as long as mine.  She informed me that I was the only one.

I don’t usually cave in to pressure, yet this time I guess I was feeling a bit vulnerable and ended up allowing her to measure different lengths of cut.  I thought 6 inches was too much and she thought 4 was too little, so we decided on cutting 5 inches off.   I noticed as she cut that she had that cheshire cat grin on her face.  I asked her if she was happy to be cutting it and she admitted she’d waiting a year for my approval.  As I looked in the mirror at her work I acknowledged she was doing a great job and then I looked at the floor.  When I looked back up I asked her if any of her clients my age had ever sobbed in her chair over the loss of their locks.  She laughed and told me I would be the first and to go ahead.  Hmmmm…..

Let me just say, I did ponder it.  In the end I did not and was able to keep my composure.  I did however, begin thanking the Lord.  Thanking Him that He did NOT give me my strength in this life through my hair like he had Samson.  I kept thinking about the strength He has given me to get through much adversity.  So as the 5 inches of hair growth hit the floor, I thanked God first and then I thanked the hairdresser.  She did a great job, I walked out looking human and I was able to NOT embarrass my children at their weekend events.   Once again, the Lord granted grace to stay awake when I was most exhausted and He offered kindness through others who brought me chairs to sit in.  He also gave my husband patience as he drove back and forth from the hotel and the Regional Finals trying to get us a room so I could sleep and rest before the “Big Evening”.  After 1 week of looking in the mirror at the new hairdo, I still miss the length, yet I look like there is a glimpse of life and that alone makes all the drama worth while.

Where does your strength come from?

Mine comes from the Lord!  He gives me strength when my flesh is weak, and encourages me when there is despair.  In Him I find peace, hope and love.  Not just any peace, not just any hope and not just any love.  In Him there is glorifying peace, eternal hope and agape Love.

Psalm 28:7

7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;  in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;  my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Isaiah 40:29

29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.