In the Valley with a Shovel!

Posted: September 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

I was told recently that I should write a book and title it “In The Valley With a Shovel.”  I started thinking about that title and about my life from years ago to where I am now.  I have come up with two conclusions about life.  Before I get to those two conclusions though, I want to remind all one or two of you that will actually read this of the age old saying.  You have probably heard someone say this before, that you 1. Just got out of a storm 2. In a storm 3. or headed into a storm of life.  You have all heard that right? Ok, maybe you have heard it like this as well, you are either on the mountain top or in the valley.  The mountain tops are these good moments when life is just going your way, God is blessing, you are reading scripture and applying it, things are just great.  Then there are the valleys.  Nobody likes the valleys! Nobody prays for a valley! The valley is where things aren’t as good, well, lets face it, things suck, life sucks and you start to fill like you as a person sucks.  The valley is bad.  I think about Psalm 23. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – see, death is associated with a valley!! The valleys feel like death in our lives and in my case I could often write a scripture of my own. Though I walk through the valley of crap I will take my shovel and keep shoveling, because the crap keeps coming! Come on, you have been there right? or as they say in the church world “You may just be headed to a valley!” That means if you have never been in a valley of crap in life then you will be one day.  That leads me to my two conclusions about life and valleys.  Here they are.

  1. When we are in a valley we can look back at the events that got us there and sometimes we realize the choices that we made in life knocked us off the mountain backwards and we roundhouse kicked a cow patty with our teeth! Yep, I mean we fell face first in to a big ole pile of poop!  Isn’t it like the prodigal son? He found himself in the middle of pig crap and it was all because of the choices he made in life.  The point is, all valleys aren’t anybodies fault but our own.  Trust me, I’ve shoveled a lot of crap because i took a swan dive into it myself.
  2. The second conclusion I have is that life just happens.  Things happen that are beyond our control and we just can’t help it. It happens, it’s life.  You get laid off, the bills don’t get laid off, they keep coming, you get sick, you lose your car, you lose a loved one, etc…. We all know that some things happen are way beyond our control. Sometimes life throws us down into the valley and there is nothing we can do about it, but keep shoveling.

In either situation it’s important that we do just that.  Keep Shoveling!! Maybe I will make that my new hashtag to round out the year 2015 on Twitter #KeepShoveling.  I’ve shoveled for both reasons listed above and it’s not fun, but it’s necessary.  If we just sit down in the valley no matter how we got there, nothing changes, stuff keeps piling up on top of us and before we know it, it’s difficult to even move.  Shoveling takes work, shoveling means we do whatever it takes to get out of the valley.  It may mean we come to our senses and get up and leave the valley.  Life may throw more on top of us on the way but we shovel it to the side and keep pressing on, keep moving forward, keep trusting God and doing the work it takes to get out of the valley. Sometimes it may take a while to get out of the valley, that’s ok, keep shoveling! Think of it like this.  There are many people who get a whole lot of snow each winter.(I think we call them Yankees!?!?) If they don’t get out and shovel their driveways, they can’t go to the store or to work or wherever else they need to go since they don’t shut down their city because of snow.  When they shovel once, they will wake up and have to shovel again, but they keep shoveling.  That is what we have to do in our life, shovel, put it behind us and keep walking until we get back on top of that mountain, and when we are back on that mountain we start shoveling away all the things that might knock us off.  Just because we reach the mountain top doesn’t mean we drop the shovel. We have to stand ready, firm in our faith and fight off or shovel away temptations, pride and anything else that could creep in and destroy us.

I also have another conclusion about God and our valleys and mountaintops.  Here it is: He loves us no matter where we are. Whether we’re on the mountaintop or the valley he loves us and he is there.  We don’t serve a God that says shovel harder or shovel faster!!! He shovels with us! You may think I’m crazy but his word tells us that He will never leave or forsake us – If we are in a valley shoveling and doing the work it takes to get out, then I believe He’s right there with us! His love is deep, wide, long and high.  Trust him and if you have a shovel, start shoveling!

Let this Psalm give you encouragement as your living this life

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;[a]
    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting onthose who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

In Christ,

Steven

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