“We are built for the valley…” – Oswald Chambers
I’m not a gardener. I wish I was, but alas. My luck with any sort of planting seed or plant has been dismal. In 2010 when my husband and I were living with my parents to pay off debt before our sweet firstborn came Earth side, we had a garden. We turned the spot where we had made a dance floor (a giant sandbox) for our wedding into a garden. I’m PRETTY sure my growth hormones seeped into that garden because it actually did pretty well.
Either that or because my dear husband is a Master Gardener. *shrug*
One lesson I do remember from my aberrant past history with plants is that each plant grows in different types of weather, sunlight and soil.
Some plants thrive in lots of sun and some don’t. Some in sand and some even in snow. Some shed leaves and some don’t. Some you have to plant every year and some last for ages.
Sunflowers are my favorite flower. They thrive in direct sunlight. So much so that they follow the arc of the sun during the day and then go back into hiding during the night.
But Lily of the Valley’s crave the dark, the moist, and the shade. They blossom only under these circumstances.
As much as I would like to think we are sunflowers, I have this theory that we are more like the Lily of the Valley.
I believe that God created us to thrive in the valley. That is where we grow. No one ever says they learned a lesson that changed their lives while lying on the beach drinking a Mojito. I mean. That’s a great way to enjoy the mountain moments God gives us, but that’s not where we grow. Where our roots deepen or where our souls realize how desperate we are without our creator.
“The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, something is wrong. “ – Chambers.
I’ve just been through one of the longest valley’s of my life. I’m climbing out the other side. It was long. Cold. Harsh. Painful. Revealing.
And the song my heart came out humming on the other side is, “It is well within my soul.”
For it is within the valleys that we lay our souls bare and are seen for who we really are.
It is in the sun that we hide them as we surround ourselves with comfort; a buffer between the valley and our hearts.
And let’s be honest. We white Americans REALLY like our comfort. We do anything to avoid being uncomfortable. Look at our recent politics. We have become SO good at looking at evil, shrugging and accepting it thinking someone else will fight the evil. Then we turn our screens back on and laugh at a funny meme.
But I tell you this. You will not grow in the sun. You will shrivel. Because you are not a sunflower. You are not a cactus. You are a Lily of the valley.
You need the valley.
And if we change our perspective on what we need to thrive, then we will start to feel that it is well within our souls instead of the emptiness we’ve been surrounding ourselves with.
“It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up.”
So in today’s speak, “Together we rise!”
But before we can rise, before we can lift others up, we have to go down. Into the valley. That’s where we find the stuffs that feed our souls.
To read the full devotion by Oswald Chambers for October 1st: https://utmost.org.
I HIGHLY recommend this devotional.