Many years ago, this verse from the book of Psalms was impressed into my heart during a difficult season. It has remained a source of life and a reminder of the strength that is within me because of my Source.
“On their way through the valley of Baca [weeping],
they stop and dig wells to collect the refreshing spring water,
and the early rains fill the pools.
They journey from place to place, gaining strength along the way…”
The journey of the past sixteen months has certainly been the deepest “valley of weeping” that I have ever traversed. I have had to choose to dig deeply and find those wells. I have had to will my heart to drink. But I know this for sure. I AM strong.
Even when I have felt emotionally, mentally or spiritually weaker than weak, I was actually the strongest I have ever been.
It requires incredible strength to stand in the midst of sorrow, to get out of bed when the reality of loss smacks you in the face each morning.
It requires incredible strength to keep loving and living at the bottom of the valley.
I’d like to invite you to my own little true life parable.
Two years ago right before Mattie’s death I was in the best physical condition of my life. I had risen up out of a very scary place of neglecting myself in so many ways. Mattie’s very life challenged me to look seriously at my own life and make some dramatic changes. I wanted to be a strong momma for my strong, brave boy.
The year following his death, the gym was my therapy. I maintained a strong body in spite of deep internal pain. It was something I could do when everything else was out of control. The gym was my solace.
In July, I slowly began to notice that something wasn’t right with my shoulder. I rested for two weeks, hoping it would heal. I spent the next month seeking natural treatments (chiropractic, massage, acupuncture), but I finally had to face getting an MRI and seeing an orthopedic surgeon. I had surgery 4 weeks ago.
Being weak physically has frankly messed with my mind. I’ve been confronted with the fact that I am so hard on myself, that my worth is very wrapped up in what I do, and that I don’t like having to rely on other people. You guys, I can’t open jars, I get in the car by myself, I can’t drive for weeks, I can’t lift more than 1 pound for 3 months. I have to ask for help ALL. DAY. LONG. This is not my favorite thing.
I started physical therapy right after Christmas. It’s hard, but I’ve done hard things. I was actually told today that I have a common problem that many “overachievers” have of pushing too hard. I’ve been instructed by my PT to find balance. (Great! One more thing to work on!) My body has been inflamed from surgery and use of prescription meds. I do not love those toxins one bit, but I sort of need them.
I’m very weak according to most standards.
I’m finishing up a two day nutritional cleanse tonight. I’m feeling great and happy to restart my engine.
Here is what I’m learning, my friends.
I AM STRONG!!! And I can do this. I am not going to allow myself to be defined by what I “do” any longer. I am discovering who “I AM” in this valley, and I’m actually enjoying getting to know me. I’m getting rid of all the negative self-talk (I’ve been a pro at that, let me tell you). I’m speaking truth to my own heart as freely as I do to the hearts of those I love. I’m learning that stretching is growth and that pain is not my enemy.
I get to choose whether I live or die in this valley.
And I choose life.
I’m going to walk through this from “strength to strength”.
I’m inviting you to join me if you need to step out and do something hard.
I’m planning to keep sharing my journey with you. It’s a heart journey as much as it is a body journey!
And I’ve got the best little guide. I mean come on, look at that tricep!
For more information about my work as a health and wellness coach, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org