“…he restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3, NIV).
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hosea 2:14-15, NIV).
Nine years ago, today, my husband and I said “I Do.” Considering all the Lord has done for us, it felt appropriate to launch a blog on our anniversary.
Today, we commemorate all the highs and lows of our marriage. Yes, we are celebrating both valley and mountaintop experiences because all of it has made us stronger.
Reflecting on the past year, we journeyed through a valley of trouble, but were led to a door of hope.
We rang in the year in 2011 with great excitement. A baby was on the way! Over the holidays, we surprised our families with customized, baby sonogram mugs. We will never forget the happy tears and congratulatory hugs.
The New Year also marked a new season of ministry for us. Officially ordained as ministers, we began to serve on the pastoral staff at our church. The year could not have started any better.
Then, on January 11th, I miscarried.
I was only ten weeks along in the pregnancy, so it didn’t seem as bad. But, little did we know the loss would rock our worlds.
So much unfolded in such a short period of time.
After undergoing a D&C procedure, I experienced anemia, weakness, and physical pain. I found difficulty in doing the simplest of things, like climbing up a flight of stairs. In order to heal well, my husband and I felt it best for me to resign from my job.
I went from maintaining a busy schedule, working in full-time ministry, to not working at all. As a workaholic, it felt as if my world turned upside down.
Externally my “normal” was changing, and internally I was just a mess.
Despite a short-lived pregnancy, my body still went through hormonal changes, triggering horrible anxiety and panic attacks—things I had never in my life experienced. The bouts brought on MANY sleepless nights for my husband and I.
Depression—a friend of anxiety—also tagged along for the emotional ride.
I often feared death would pay me a visit again when I least expected it. Thinking the worst, I frequently spent time in the emergency room.
I’m in no way trying to puff myself up here, but I’m the straight A student, hard-working, neat freak, perfectionist, in control type of gal. So I never imagined having a ton of illogical and irrational emotions swirling everywhere. Everything was out of my control.
I found myself in a desert. I was in the Valley of Achor, or the valley of trouble, and could not find my way out. And, yet, God came and restored this broken soul.
The valley can either overtake you or propel you.
Traveling through the valley propelled me to seek Him out. For I knew only He could guide me out.
It felt as if He held my hand tightly, wiped away my tears, and turned my face towards Him.
And, He spoke lovingly. Though tender, His voice resounded louder than my turmoil within. Holding onto Him, He gently led me through a door of hope.
Today, I’m a different Me. Not a more “in control” me.
No. I am a more “surrendered” me. A more “grateful” me.
While in the valley, journaling became a faithful practice. As I blog, I desire to share some of those journal notes, along with past and present experiences, in hopes to encourage anyone who is in a “Valley of Achor”. TRUST ME – a door of hope awaits you!
Today, I am THANKFUL for nine AWESOME years with my INCREDIBLE husband! Love you babe!! 🙂
By the way, forgot to mention…we are proud parents of a precious baby boy!! God is Faithful!