This Eastertide post covers day 3, 4 and 5 because I can’t stand to be behind and want to catch up today! The picture in this post is of the orange tulips I mentioned seeing on Easter Sunday. Today I was at church for my Woman’s Bible Study appropriately named ‘Sacred Journey’, and on my way out I captured the photo. It doesn’t really do the flowers justice, but I have imprinted on my brain the real flowers. It makes me want to get out in my garden and look for greenery and growth. Beauty!
Psalm 23 is our blessing for today and verse 4 is a close reminder of where I was for the past year. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Last year was a dark valley for me, but I allowed God to work through it and now I’m at the top of a mountain peak full of unexplainable joy. That was not the only valley I’ve been through. In 1998, I went through my darkest valley ever, but I was there on my own, by my own choosing. I was a christian, but I didn’t turn to God and the darkness lasted longer, about three years, and I missed out on the benefits of the valley. Yes, there really are benefits to the valley when you are there with God. He promises to be with us, but we can choose to go at it alone. I’m here to attest that the valley with my Heavenly Father was much richer than the one without. And the resulting joy is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
If you’re in a dark valley, please turn to God. He does all He promises in His Word. My heart hurts and tears stream down my face when I talk about my valleys, but the one that lasted for three years is still heavy and carries regret. I missed out on my boys, family, friendships and time I could have spent learning about my Lord and serving Him. The quick of it is that my health issues were different during that time 12 years ago, depression and anxiety filled my heart and mind. It took too long to identify what it was and to get help on my own. I didn’t talk to many people about how depressed and lonely I was. It felt like I was crazy and the only person who could feel so sad and alone while being surrounded by such a loving, caring family, great friends and a job I loved. I was blessed and I knew it which made me feel even worse. I had extreme highs and paralyzing lows. My mood was high and I would go, go, go then at some point crash into a brick wall and slide down to the ground unable to get up or move. Through the help of medical professionals, I learned that I was living with Bipolar Disorder, depression and anxiety. When I started a treatment plan that my doctor prescribed for me, it was literally like the darkness lifted. Thank God for medication that helps manage my mental health. After that experience, when I was sinking further into the valley last year, I went to God and let Him love me. It was still a long, dark 10 months, but He was in charge of the process. My physical health issues this past year haven’t gotten any better and I still have dark, painful days, but mentally and spiritually “I’m good”. Actually I’m better than good, I’m full of joy for how good God is to me.
Our blessing is from Psalm 23:
“The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing.
He makes me like down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil: my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days o my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Beauty & Blessing!