“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy.” Proverbs 13:12 Living Bible
For the past six months I have been walking in the valley of the shadow of death. It’s dark here. The walls are steep crags of jagged rocks dotted with simple glimmers of life and hope growing in unexpected places. The walls seem to go up and up forever, though, blocking out most of the light. Maybe it’s to force me to look up towards heaven to see the beautiful blue of the sky overhead—even if it is only a sliver.
This weekend I received my first sign that the end of the valley is approaching. I can see light up ahead. I knew there would be. I knew this path was temporary, is temporary. But it’s hard and it’s sad.
Since the day Kraig died, I have held on to the promises of God. They are truth that brings healing. These wounds are real but I have always known that God walks this valley with me. His rod and His staff comfort me. He will restore my soul. He will lead me if I let him.
After a few months in this valley, I started to feel like I was in limbo; like I was at a crossroads. What next? Where our family has lived has always been determined by Kraig’s career. Now it was up to me to decide where our family belonged. Stay here? His job brought us here. This is not where either of us was from and not near any family. It’s a big world full of great places. So, move? If so, where and why? I have a great support system here and I’ve networked well. I now understand why the best advice to someone in grief is not to make any major life decisions for the first six months to a year. It was all so murky. But the question persisted: what next?
I have always known that God has the best view on my journey. From where He sits He is able to see what is coming next. He directs my paths and, when I allow Him to, He leads me where I should go. I have known that since the day Kraig died. But this valley has still been dark.
For the past several years, a spark of a dream has been growing in my heart. I want to write and speak professionally. I want to be published and to use the gift of words He has given me to encourage and equip women with the story of what God can do.
I believe God whispered this dream to me several years ago when I had no idea how to make it happen. I had been published already in a few magazines. I had spoken publically in small venues for years. This seemed like a good dream. I believe God was speaking through my husband last summer when he suggested this is where I should focus my time and energy once our last little duckling waddled out the door to Kindergarten. He suggested this might be the next step for me. I just had no idea how.
This weekend a friend sent me a glimmer of light. She sent me information on the She Speaks Conference taking place this summer in North Carolina. Put on by the Proverbs 31 Ministries and led by Lysa TerKeurst, this conference offers tools for women longing to use their writing and speaking talents. It helps women start using their gifts to glorify God as leaders, speakers, and writers. It tells me how.
I read the information and I wept.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I had felt without specific hope. I have always had the hope of God’s overarching wisdom and plan for my life. But the specifics for what’s next eluded me. I can see a bit of that now. In front of me the walls of the valley are getting wider, the crags further apart. There is light on the horizon in the distance and it brings with it life and joy just as the proverb promises.
I still have work to do and a long way to go before I am living that dream fully. But I can see the path. I have the wisdom I have been praying for to help me head towards what’s next. I have always known He would turn my mourning into dancing. This week I got to enjoy a few steps of a jig and it felt good.