Saturday, November 16, 2013

Through the Valley

I wrote the following post almost a week ago, and let me tell you, folks, it's been a less than stellar week for a lot of people. So many are struggling right now - to varying degrees and as a result of a wide array of circumstances - marriages falling apart; illness, acute and chronic, ranging from just annoying to potentially life-threatening; financial issues due to the state of the economy; hits to medical insurance due to new government regulations; career-impacting computer issues; and so much more. 

Please, folks, pray for each other. Pray for our fellow Christians going through trials you may or may not know about. Lift up family and friends. Pray for the countless lost souls that surround us. Satan and his nasties seem to be working overtime lately to wreck lives and discourage hearts. Support, encourage, and PRAY FOR EACH OTHER through the valleys.

For those of you going through various trials, no matter how big or small, remember the Lord cares about it all. Don't be afraid to ask Him to reveal His unfailing love and presence to you and to give you the strength and grace to endure the trials.


Photo courtesy of Red at
I told our pastor it's just WRONG to give a writing assignment to a congregation when he knows there are writers present. We often can't resist such a challenge (even when we want to). A couple of weeks ago, he gave us "homework" - write a Psalm. Come to God where you are, and write a Psalm.

I've been going through a dark valley, interminable in many ways. Still there. So I thought about some of the Psalms that David wrote - written from a place of pain, struggle, and despair. I got up the following morning knowing what I needed to write. I decided I should go ahead and share it.
By Dawn M. Turner

Lord, have You forgotten me?
The smoke clears.
Quiet descends.
I lie broken and bleeding on the field of battle,
Cut down by those who should have been allies.

The wicked prosper and gain strength and numbers.
Their evil deeds go unpunished.
They count themselves righteous
And remain unrepentant.

When will there be justice?
When will the lies be stripped away
And truth revealed?

You promise that evil will be repaid,
That they will reap what they have sown,
That their deeds will not go without reprisal.
When is that time?
When will You say “enough”?

Still, I wait, broken and bleeding.
Still, I cling to You,
Knowing the alternative is darkness,
I grasp Your promises in my hands,
Praying for the day I fully grasp them in my wounded heart.
I believe, Lord.
Help me in my unbelief.
I allow God to lead my Bible reading (I'm still not back to doing it daily, but I'm working on it). I pray and ask Him what I should read that day. One of the passages He has led me to was one I'd read many times over the years, but it never struck me as it did this time. 

"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me." - Micah 7:7-8

How's that for a loving reminder from the Father? I love the Old Testament prophets, and it never ceases to amaze me how much encouragement is tucked into those incredible books that so many see only as "doom and gloom".

Now, you may read this and wonder what it has to do with writing (other than the most obvious). This dark valley has dramatically affected my ability to write. I don't mean my DESIRE but my actual ability. Concentration, ideas, all of it have been so far out of whack as to be just about worthless. August, September, and October, I worked on editing and filling in details for the fantasy world I had created for a series of books I'm now back to working on (i.e. pure logic work). Through those three months, I had days where ideas flowed and my brain actually managed to focus, but all-told, I wrote in those three months combined what I generally write in about a week.

November came with ideas flowing again. My concentration still hasn't been on par with where it normally is when I write, but it's way better. I managed to write in 10 days more than I had written through the previous three months. So color me happy. Interesting, the pastor's writing assignment was an answer to prayer. I had been praying about the direction of my NaNovel, a fantasy novel, asking for the Lord's guidance on an element of it that had me a bit stalled. Through the pastor's writing assignment, the answer came. A book Alaina carries is full of "poetry". I'm writing out parts of it that have the most meaning to her. I hadn't written poetry in over 20 years until the pastor's homework assignment.

I continue to learn and grow through the valley, reminded often that God truly hasn't forgotten me. Justice will come. In the meantime, He continues to answer prayer, sometimes in odd and unexpected ways. I continue to try to walk in obedience, despite the darkness.

Have you had prayers answered in unexpected ways of late?

Have you ever tried writing a psalm to the Lord? If not, give it a try. Write from where you are - be it a place of pain and struggle, or joy and praise, or both! David certainly did all three. If you're willing to share what you write, please do so below.