This is a little article I was suddenly inspired to write last night as I was going to sleep. It just sort of flowed out this morning, even while having a little munchkin distracting me (and then edited for blog-o-land).
I want to tell you about how I survived my walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. When I was closer to the beginning of my journey with recurrent miscarriages and infertility, I was in what felt like the darkest time. I was completely broken and struggling to find the way to keep moving forward. Then one Sunday the sermon was about Psalm 23: “Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death…” That was the turning point in my journey through the dark tunnel I felt like I was in.
I had been visualizing my emotional place as trapped in darkness, trying to focus on the tiny speck of light that I knew was ahead of me. I was trying so hard to move towards it on my own. I learned all I could about my physiology and how to influence it and try to make my body do what it was supposed to do. I learned a lot about how my body worked, but it wasn’t getting me out of that tunnel.
I felt so depressed, disappointed, confused, and anxious. I’d had one miscarriage before having our son, then another one when he was 14 months old, and then month after month of my body’s painfully long cycles and heartbreaking negative tests as we were trying to have another child. It seemed like everyone around me was easily and happily having babies, and I had to start avoiding friends, family, and Facebook because it was just too painful for me to handle.
When our pastor described the Shadow of the Valley of Death, I knew that’s where I was. But the point was to let us know that as dark and hard as the walk through that valley is, God is walking along with us the entire way.
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.
I had never abandoned God, nor did I feel angry with Him at that point, but it hadn’t clicked yet that He was walking beside me. When I realized that, I felt Him closer to me rather than looming above me, and I could feel the strength that His shoulder lent as we were walking.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
I still had a long and hard journey to go before I got to the light at the end of the valley. Every time I had a glimmer of hope in a new doctor, a new medication, a new cycle, a new pregnancy, it was crushed and dashed back against the jagged rocks in that valley. But now I knew God was picking me back up and helping me to keep slowly moving forward. He gave me comforts where I could find them, in my son and in learning how to find even the simplest bright spot in every day.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
And then finally, after over three and a half years, four consecutive miscarriages, 13 cycles of injecting myself with hormones, more blood draws and ultrasounds than I can count, and IVF, our perfect little girl was born. It was blinding coming out of the dark valley I’d been in for so long. I was very tentative to enjoy the light. It took months for me to adjust to it, and to fully do so I’ve needed an antidepressant.
Our daughter is 15 months old now, and I’m finally feeling like I’ve healed enough from the journey through that darkness that I can appreciate this light that was on the other side of that tunnel. Because of God I survived my walk, even though I have lots of scars. And even though I’m out of that valley, I now know that God is always beside me, leading me, through even the lesser difficulties and hardships in life.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.