James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
John 1: 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Throughout the Bible, words depict a truth about life that we know all too well. We, as Christians, will face trials. We will spend time soaring on a mountain top, and we will find ourselves struggling in the valley. These are the emotional seasons of life on this temporal earth. My family is slowly and cautiously emerging from a difficult season. Over a five week period of time, Landon broke his collar bone, Taylor underwent two surgeries, we had 3 major water catastrophes at the lake (that didn’t involve the water in the lake!), and Landon had a severe viral infection with extremely high fever. It was a season of life that left me breathless and exhausted. However, it was a strengthening season and a time of great spiritual reflection as well.
During these weeks, I learned some of the most valuable lessons that continuously reminded me of God’s presence, His light and His love.
- When you find yourself in the valley, it is ok to tell your close inner circle of friends and family “I’m not ok.”
- It is truly acceptable to have a messy house. Your visitors do not care.
- Pausing, to catch one’s breath in the valley, heightens your awareness of God’s beautiful creation. During this time, I learned that my bird feeder had become a beautiful sanctuary for a family of cardinals. I wonder how many days I had missed the opportunity to simply watch them, failing to pause and breathe in God’s beauty.
- The greatest gift we can oftentimes give to others is the gift of our time: time preparing a meal, time talking with a loved one and time listening to the heartache of his/her soul.
- Even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances, one can always find a reason to stop, look up and give thanks. During this season, I bought a sign for my entryway that displayed words I knew I needed to read every morning: “There is always, always, always SOMETHING to be thankful for.”
- In the “valley seasons of our lives,” we learn who we can count on in our hours of greatest need. I pray that when others find themselves in the midst of an “unplanned journey,” I will be one of the first people they reach out to for help and support.
- Caring people surround themselves with caring people. The Vaughan family has been blessed beyond measure by people with hearts the size of Texas!
- To love and be loved is the greatest gift on earth.
- In the valley, God provides one with beautiful “pockets of peace.” A trustful heart provides one’s soul with the opportunity to experience His peace in truly miraculous ways.
- We cannot ever depend on our circumstances in life to bring us peace. However, we can always depend on God’s hope, His promises and His love as our greatest sources of peace.
This Christmas season, Landon slept on our couch in the formal living room as this was the only place his collarbone could be completely immobilized with a stack of pillows that almost reached heaven! Just a few steps away from his new bed was our Christmas tree. Each morning, before the sun came up, I would pause in that room and turn on the Christmas lights. Day after day, this simple act grew in importance to me. Each day, this small step of bringing light into a dark space reminded me His light always shines, and His presence always gives us hope. May this beautiful reality bring comfort to our souls whether we are soaring on the mountain top or struggling in the valley.