Our goal at by design ministries is to encourage you and to strengthen your trust in the Lord during these uncertain and unprecedented times. Over the next few weeks we will be reprising articles from our archive that we hope will inspire you and lead you to look to the one who has our times in His hands. This article was originally published in 2013.
by René Allen
I once took a journey, quite involuntarily, into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I want to share it with you in the hopes that it might encourage others who may one day find themselves on such a journey. While the journey was very dark, it was only a shadow.
It began in the fall of 1981 when my grandfather died. We loved “Grumpy Grandpa.” He would pretend we were a terrible imposition and would grouse at us. For a gruff old man, he sure loved us!
In early 1982, my sister was murdered. Michele was 17. She had applied to missionary training and was to be a missionary to Muslims in Turkey. Her boyfriend, too, was going to be following the same path – but they came to that realization separately, not knowing the other had been praying about the burden they were feeling and sad that they would be leaving the other to serve Him in Turkey. It was a beautiful love story with a tragic end.
In July of that year, I birthed my first child. My beautiful baby boy was born prematurely. He and I spent the night together and then he too left this earth.
I went through the grief process over and over, seemingly stuck. I stopped praying to the One who “sets us in families,” the One Who Sees, the omniscient One, the omnipotent One. The One who watched, arms crossed, and did nothing. Derision, doubt and depression took hold of my heart and mind and I felt helpless to leave the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
One day, I let down my guard and heard Him calling. I chose to answer, railing at Him, telling Him that I wanted out of His arms unless He would show me what good could possibly come of these events. Romans 8:28-29 rang hollow.
My husband (God bless him!) helped me accept my need for counseling. Scripture became my lifeline as Abba gently, ever so gently, led me out of the Valley and down the path of light. At times, He carried me over the rocky mountains of despair, whispering words of love and life.
I learned so much, and with the comfort I received I now comfort others. Such Scriptures as Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 57:1-2, and 2 Samuel 12:23 gave hope and Philippians 3:12 – 4:9 gave me the tools I needed.
Now I can testify that He is trustworthy and faithful. The God of peace guards my heart and mind. Life is good again. He uses me in ways that give me great joy! I look forward to the quiet of summer when I can take the time to rest. I hope you will take the time to rest in Him this summer. For those who are in your own version of The Valley: let go, beloved. Follow His path – peace will come. It is, after all, only a shadow.
René Allen’s love for God and His Word brings hope, encouragement and joy into her mentoring and women’s ministries. As a pastor’s wife, mom, bible study leader, life coach, author and mentor, her personal warmth and experience are used by the Holy Spirit to connect powerfully with believers and seekers alike. She and her husband have been in ministry for over thirty years with the past two decades in the New England area.