Exploring the Valleys

The View from Mount Jefferson, N.C. into the Valley

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” [Revelation 21:4 NKJV]

It’s a fact people live in pain daily and you may never know it.  Most of us who live in pain don’t want to talk about it.  And the people we know don’t want to discuss it either.  Can you blame them?  I don’t.  We are sick of pain being… well you know, a pain!

A few weeks ago, God laid on my heart to discuss my chronic pain in my blog.  I resisted.  Over the last few weeks, I have argued with the Lord.

“Why? It’s so depressing.  I don’t want to think about it. I want to be positive in my journey.”

Answer: “It is a part of your journey.”

“I want to encourage others not depress them.”

Answer: “We will.”

Grr, by the end of week two I was getting frustrated. “But why?”  I whined. “I don’t wanna think about pain.”

Answer: “You feel it every time you roll your shoulders.”

I roll my shoulders.  He’s right, I felt the ache and stiffness; and every time it draws my attention to the pain.  Saturday I prayed for a different topic and stared at a blank screen.  Nothing came to mind.  I worked on the Buried Secrets rewrite, and then went back to staring at the blank Word document.  Again nothing…  I did housework and paperwork.  The screen was still blank.  This is how my day went until I gave in to God’s nudges.  Before bed, I wrote Pain Control at the top of the page and closed down the computer.

I thought I would write about how I manage my chronic pain.  That’s why I titled the post, Pain Control.  As I wrote, it became apparent that I have very little control over pain.  After fifteen years, I have accepted the fact that the pain may last my entire life.  I can manage pain, but at this point, it is beyond my control.

Sunday morning I found a prayer in my new devotional, Uplifting Thoughts for Every Day by Father John Catoir. “Lord, teach me how to cultivate a joyful attitude, so that Your praise may always be on my lips.”

I don’t think I’ve come as far as this prayer asks. I’m good at keeping a positive outlook and good humor.  I’d rather smile than frown.  My mantra is; “I have a choice, I can laugh or cry.  I choose to laugh.”  But keeping God’s praise always on my lips makes me pause.  I cannot say that is true… yet.

Every journey has highs and lows.  Just like peaks and valleys.  Being on the peak is exhilarating.  But the valleys are the low spots.  King David describes in Psalms 23, the annual trek of the sheep with the shepherd.  The valley of the shadow of death is where the predators wait.  The upward trek led to the green pastures where the sheep are fed.

We have many valleys in our journeys.  There are many different kinds of valleys.  When I am in the mountains, the town area, Jefferson and West Jefferson, N.C., is in a valley at the base of Mount Jefferson.  It is where we go to get our supplies and enjoy the company of friends.  The family house we stay at is on the New River at the base of another mountain.  It is a place for us to rest and renew our spirits.

Foggy Morning on the New River

Some valleys are scary with danger around the bend.  Other valleys offer entertainment and renewal.  We are meant to explore the valleys as well as the peaks in our journeys.

Just what is this valley?  I’m calling it a valley of pain.  When the pain is unmanageable I am weak.  It is hard to continue the journey up to the peak.  I have to depend on the Shepherd for protection and peace.  Without His guidance, I cannot find my way.

Over the years, I have avoided studying what God says about pain in his Word.  I looked the word up on my online search and came up with 62 verses containing the word ‘pain.’  The word makes the journey sound hard.  But we walk with pain every day.  Whether your pain is physical, emotional or someone else’s, we still deal with it daily on our journey.

Several years ago I felt the pull to study the Book of Job.  At the time I didn’t want to read it or think about his suffering.  I struggled with the subject but could not get the book off my mind.  When I read Job, a few friends didn’t want to discuss it with me.  It was too depressing they said.  What I found was a book with a great ending.  God wins!  And when God won so did His faithful servant, Job.  It is time to revisit my old friend Job and explore the valley of pain.

I need not be afraid of a subject the Spirit is nudging me to discover.  This is not a blog about chronic pain or pain management.  I am not a specialist in pain.  It is only a part of my adventure journey.  The question is:  What do I miss out on if I don’t explore this valley?

Have a blessed day!


P.S.  I had a funny moment while writing this blog post. I misspelled the word journey as joyney.  I may have to have some fun with this word sometime soon. How was your JOYney today?! {Giggle}

2 thoughts on “Exploring the Valleys

  1. Looking forward to seeing what God reveals to us on your journey through pain. I think it might have some surprises that none of us have ever thought about, but for today, I’m going to see what my JOYney is going to be!


    1. Thank you. I’m glad the Lord is leading this subject. He knows what we need to understand. I am trusting him to teach me and help me put the words on the page. I am always amazed by what I learn from God in the hard subjects. They may not look like it, but they can be the biggest blessing. I just have to start following his lead. Easier said than done! God bless you in your JOYney today.


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