The terrain of this new journey I’m on is rugged. There are the hills and then there are the mountains. The hills require a few deep breaths and perseverance because I can see the top. The mountains leave me gasping for breath and clinging to crevices as the wind whips around me threatening to cause me to lose my footing and fall.
Hills I can do. In my world the list of what my hills consist of grows daily. Passing by Gatorade and ice cream in the grocery store and resisting the urge to buy it. Hearing a song on the radio but not changing the station. Seeing a funny video on Facebook but not forwarding it. Receiving exciting news, but not passing it on. Recording Weston doing something ridiculous but not texting it. Going through a drive-thru and ordering only for two. Not finishing all of my fries and having no human garbage disposal to pass them to. Not receiving the group text that says “love you guys”. Hills. A few deep breaths and I’m good.
The mountains are brutal. Mountains take everything out of me. Thank God I’ve only had a few. Yesterday was one of them and I thought it would never end. I tried to be strong. I tried to take my own advice - I really did - but I had to do it minute by minute. My peace never left me on the side of that mountain of pain, but it was the steepest peak I’ve climbed yet.
This mountain range of grief is exhausting. I get to the top expecting it to be my last but I know there are more mountains with hills in between. There are also valleys where I get to catch my breath and rest but in those valleys the mountains cast shadows and I have to be mindful to stay out of that darkness.
King David said “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear for You are with me”. I have a new perspective of that scripture. There will be a shadow of death that will be in every valley of my life because I’ve experienced the most agonizing of losses. I’ve outlived my child. That shadow will remain because that loss will never leave.
I’ve climbed many mountains in my life and in between those mountains there have always been beautiful valleys. I knew once I reached the top, the hardest part was behind me and I could see my next destination - the valley - where the journey was easier and more enjoyable. I will scale the side of every mountain in the mountainous range of grief. I will cling to the Rock when I fear my footing will fail me because He’s promised to make me surefooted. I will let Him carry me when I’m too exhausted from climbing to go on.
Eventually, these mountains will be behind me and what was once endless peaks will become a valley. When I’m on that last summit overlooking the glorious valley of the life the Lord has for me, I won’t stake a flag in the ground to signify that I’ve conquered the mountain, instead, I will place a cross to signify that by His strength and grace and mercy, I overcame it.
This valley I’m journeying to isn’t that far away and I’m not stopping until I get there. It will be beautiful. Life will be more abundant.