1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. – Psalm 23 (KJV)

Other bible versions for verse 4 use the translations … “the darkest valley”, “valley of deep darkness”, or “valley of deepest darkness.”

More times than not, the 23rd Psalm is quoted at funerals. Because of this, most people associate the Psalm as the “go to” scripture for finding comfort at the death of a love one. I find it a good “go to” scripture when battling demons of daily stresses and life that send me to an emotional “dark” place.

It has been quite a few weeks since I sat down to write. I’ve been in a funk that I just couldn’t quite shake. Words of encouragement seemed to have left me. Years of weariness and abuse, from being in a situation of overwhelming commitment and obligation as primary caregiver to my aging mother, finally sent me spiraling down into a dark emotional valley. A place I did not like. A place that I knew I did not belong. A place that not only made me emotionally ill, but physically ill. Caring for an aging parent is not always an easy or pleasant task.

I sent an email out to my only sibling, “Stick a fork in me…I’m done.” Line by line I proceeded to pen the things I was done with. It became a four page message. I pleaded with him to help with the care of our mom. If I didn’t get help soon, either my body was going to shut itself down…or I was going to shut it down. My body decided it would slow me down for much needed rest. I had always heard that stress would trigger Shingles. I found out firsthand that it is true.

Even though I was in a dark place, I could feel God’s comforting Spirit, and still do, healing my brokenness…

… My brother responded to my plea for help and supported me in my decision to step away from the situation for a while. My sister-in-law replied with appreciation for all of the years that I carried the load of care giving, and assured me that she would see to it that my brother stepped up to give me relief for a season.

… My husband’s extra compassion has been a balm to my weariness when I come home after work each day.

… My boss, a pastor, encouraged me to take time off from work if needed.

… Giving me inner strength and grace to help the Christian Motorcyclist Association minister to travelers during the Thanksgiving Holiday, even though I felt downtrodden and empty on the inside.

… Friend’s invitations to go motorcycling even when it’s cold out. A trip through the country is always calming, whether on four or two wheels.

… Continuing to help me offer counseling through the Stephen Ministry.

… Providing an army of prayer warriors who lift me in prayer every day.

I could continue listing ways the healing has been taking place. I’m happy the sadness is turning to joy again.

Yes. It’s been a valley of deep shadows. But only shadows. For where there is light, there can be no darkness. I see the light of Christ as I walk through this valley. His light guides me and leads to healing.

I’m reminded of a song from my youth that we used to sing in my home church during the season of advent leading up to Christmas. It was written by Phillip P. Bliss in 1875. Here are a couple of its verses:

  1. The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin,
    The Light of the world is Jesus!
    Like sunshine at noonday, His glory shone in;
    The Light of the world is Jesus!

    • Refrain:
      Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
      Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
      Once I was blind, but now I can see:
      The Light of the world is Jesus!
  2. No darkness have we who in Jesus abide;
    The Light of the world is Jesus!
    We walk in the light when we follow our Guide!
    The Light of the world is Jesus!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me that you are walking with me when I enter a valley of darkness. Thank you for providing the Light to guide my steps. Thank you for providing rest and comfort needed at this time. Thank you for those who are lifting me in prayer. Father I pray for that one who is reading this and is in an emotional or spiritual “dark” place today. May they also find comfort in the Psalm. In Christ name I pray. – Amen




4 thoughts on “A Dark Valley

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