By: Maddie Harkey
Sometimes I feel like I’m in a valley. A canyon. A pit.
I’m trapped by the lies that fill my mind, inclining at the edges of my brain and encircling all around me. It’s exhausting.
I run up the sides of the walls with the hope of gripping the edge and pulling myself out. Some days I get close. Some days I just choose to sit at the bottom.
Some days I feel forgotten – like the crevasse is so deep, barren, and deathly that people have forgotten that anyone could actually be down there, and they certainly wouldn’t come close enough to peek over the edge.
It makes me question my purpose.
“Why hasn’t anyone come looking for me?”
“Does anyone notice that my presence is empty?”
“I just don’t have enough to give.”
“I’m not interesting enough.”
“Or adventurous enough.”
“Or talented enough.”
“Or maybe it’s because I’m too much.”
“It’s probably that. I’m too emotional. No one could possibly handle the sensitivity that lives inside me.”
Isn’t it silly how we can feel like not enough, yet entirely too much in the same breath? Regardless, these are the thoughts that swirl like a tornado in my head, picking me up and carrying me off into the desolate. Man, it sure does get lonely being alone. I’m not entirely alone though, I must admit.
I do have a guide.
He walks beside me and never lets me leave His sight – though sometimes I try.
He lets me wander my way through the woods and gladly leads when I let Him.
Maybe, just maybe, one of these days I will learn to let Him guide me for long enough to reach the mountain’s peak and escape the trap that lies below.
After all… I always get closest when He is the one in front.
I’m sure the view would be great from up there.
If I could just slow my mind. If I could just close my mouth and listen to His whispers as He grabs my hand and walks me through the swamps.
Perhaps the melodic tune that flows gently from His voice would capture my attention for long enough that I wouldn’t mind the hike.
I’d be able to ignore the ache in my side and the sweat that drips from my brow. I’d be able to joyfully laugh my way through the deepest and muckiest of marshes.
Because there WILL be marshes.
There’s no way around them if I want out. If I truly want to escape, there are places I’ll have to walk through that simply aren’t to my liking. In those moments I will have to choose. Will I squirm in the sinking sand as it inches up to my neck? Panicking and looking for the quickest way out?
Or will I follow the deep comfort of His hum, trudging through the mud, knowing that He wants nothing more than to wash my feet in the spring that awaits thereafter?
He wants nothing more than to lift my chin until my eyes meet His as He wipes away the sludge that runs from my hair down my face to cloud my vision.
He wants nothing more than to replace my tattered and torn clothes with white linen that flows around me in the gentle breeze, smelling of clean cotton.
My husband loves that smell. My husband.
If I could just learn to grasp the sweet touch of the One who guides me, then perhaps I can show that same tenderness to my husband.
Perhaps when there comes a time for him to walk his valley – because he WILL have valleys, whether big or small – perhaps I can walk with him and Our guide.
I can help hold him up when the mud from the swamp floods his boots and begins to feel heavy. I can celebrate with him on the other side, finding beauty in the tough moments that made the
journey so difficult, but oh so valuable.
And not just my husband. Because I’ve seen, as I look down the slope of the mountain, that there are many caught in valleys of their own. There are many who have given up on screaming for help and are quickly becoming one with the lies that soak between their toes.
If I can just learn the twists of the trail well enough. If I can just memorize every wrong turn and fallen tree and the places I felt like giving up and the sunrises that followed each time I didn’t.
Then maybe, just maybe, the Lord would trust me enough to let me help Him guide. We would stand at the top of the highest peak together and He’d point someone out from the scrambling crowd below and say: “That one. Go get that one. Tell them about your time in that very spot. Listen to their every word. Tell them that they have not been forgotten. Tell them that they are not alone. Teach them about me and whisper to them what I have whispered to you.
I will meet you both in the marsh. I will take their hand and guide them to safety as I send you to sit with another. Be patient and do not forget the arms that cradled
YOU in the darkest of moments.”
“Go,” He said.
So I am going