This past week I celebrated 4 years with my "new lungs". As I pulled out different pictures, I was instantly brought to tears. Looking at myself on oxygen, the tubes coming out of my nose, my weak and worn body, it all took me right back to "that place". The days I spent struggling to breathe, lugging around an oxygen tank that left my pant leg wet from the moisture. The whistling I would hear as I refilled it everyday, sometimes twice a day. All the waiting and wondering, the praying and pleading.
As I looked at the different pictures, I realized that I don't go back to this place nearly enough. To the valley of death. The bible talks about this place in Psalm 23. It says " Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff , they comfort me".
For me, this place, this journey through the valley, brought things into clearer focus. I spent days upon days in bed meditating on the things of God, crying out to Him in desparation, and seeking HIS face. I wasn't caught up in the things of this world. I didn't care if Grant or Gavin played baseball or basketball, how well they did or didn't do. I was too sick to watch them play most of the time. I wasn't concerned with how much money we had in our bank account and could have cared less about that new outfit or new item for our house. The things that were once super important, the things that money could buy, were now the least important. And the things that are PRICELESS, I couldn't get enough of.
Spending time with Yancy, simply holding hands and talking...precious! Snuggling with the boys and just being in their presence...priceless! Praying with friends, spending time with family, soaking in my relationships, this is what I treasured!
I was desparate for really just two things. One, I wanted "new lungs" in the WORSE way. I wanted to live. To be able to grow old with Yancy and watch my boys grow up, grow older, drive, graduate from high school and go to college, get married, ALL of it. I wanted to continue to be a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter and a sister. I wanted to be present. I wanted to live!
AND secondly, I wanted to know God in a way that I never had. I wanted so badly to know in my knower who He was and is. I wanted to not just know His heart but feel His heart. I wanted to drink in as much of Him as I could to overflowing. So, I read my bible more during this time more than ever before. I prayed and cried out tearful pleas, spending hours upon hours simply being still before Him, soaking in His presence. And I listened to worship music. I LOVE worship music and how it can minister and speak to our spirit, drawing us to the heart of Jesus!
Now, four years later, the pictures are tucked away and I struggle to maintain that steadfastness for Him that I once had. I am healthy and ever so grateful for my "new lungs" but often forget those moments in the valley. The days when nothing else but being in His presence mattered. The days when the things of this world were not on my radar and I cherished all of the little things. You know the things that are called "little" but are actually really the "BIG" things!
I am so thankful that I had that time this week to go back! To remember! To take it all in all over again and see things once again a little more clearly. I needed that! I feel different this week too. More grateful, more joyful, more content. Less crabby, less critical, less caught up in the world.
I am not sure, if you like me, have a time in your life that you call your "valley". That tragedy, miscarriage, loss of a job, sickness...whatever it might be that caught your attention and maybe took your breathe away for a season. Can I challenge you to go back there? To remember. To take it in once again and allow it to change the way you look at things today. Maybe you do, and if so, you are awesome! But if you are like me, we forget so easily, even the BIG things, and sometimes just need to PAUSE and reflect! This week I did that and am SO glad I did!