The God of Hills and Valleys

Last night, my Bear and three of his friends came over and hung out in our den for hours. Y’all, the vibrancy college students bring is a joy. We laughed, we caught up, we joked around, we got to know his friends better. Then, in front of them all, Micah looked at me and said, “How are you doing, Mom? How’s the new chemo?” He is not quiet about my cancer and doesn’t shy away from it.

I wanted to hide a bit. I was self-conscious because of my scarf. My hair is gone. If I’m truly honest, this has been a bitter pill to swallow, this losing my hair again, and this not knowing for how long. I don’t want to look like a cancer patient. I told the kids that. I told them how I felt physically and emotionally. I told them my hopes for this treatment, and my fears. I was real and raw and honest. And when Micah’s roommate hugged me goodbye, he whispered, “You’re doing great, Mama.” Those dear kids.

Y’all. It sure feels like it’s all spinning out of control these days… careening and tilting, and I feel like I’m sliding off trying to grasp onto something and my fingertips just squeal and slide. This new chemo is kicking my butt. Deep breaths. Cancer is hard. Crushing. So very painful. I can feel the areas in my body where there is cancer—they hurt, a wearying ache.

Toby Mac, the Christian music artist, wrote the following when his son died.“We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him like we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow Him because we love Him. It is our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things.” It wrecked me when I read it again this week.

Because, y’all, I’ve been living my life recently like it is an under the table deal. I’ve struggled with anxiety, a LOT of anxiety of late, and I’ve struggled with distance from God. And I’ve been envisioning a God who is standing with his arms raised up waiting to drop the other shoe because I’ve not been a good enough daughter to him. And that’s not our Father God at all. Rather, He is the God Who “isn’t standing with His arms raised in judgment. He’s running with His arms outstretched to hold me close to Him.” (My own father has prayed these words over me many times.)

My Ash checked on me this morning before he left for church. “Hey, Mama. What do you need? How can I help?” Oh y’all, how can I envision a God of judgment when He’s surrounded me with daily gifts, these wonders of boys, the snuggles and laughter of my girl, the deep and faithful strength of my Brian? The truth is that while it may feel like it’s all spinning and careening, the world is never spinning out of control. It’s only spinning out of MY control.

They are working on my medications to combat side effects, and I am hopeful that things will soon improve. Right now chemo looks like one really bad week of pain, then one good week of energy and life, and I feel like I’m missing out on a lot—physically and emotionally. Every week, sometimes twice, I go to get my leg wrapped with compression wraps, because it’s still swollen from previous chemo. It’s painful, it’s inconvenient, but it’s beginning to work.

I recently sat with two friends in my den and we shared our lives and struggles together. I told them at one point how “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” came on my playlist and I found myself getting kinda mad, because these days it sure doesn’t feel sweet. It feels beyond hard and I just want a break from it all. They related and then one said something to the effect of, “But it is, isn’t it? Once we relinquish our control and trust, there is a sweetness we can rest in.”

So that is where I am today… with this long and winding and disjointed post. I’m sitting in the sweetness of trust. This spinning world is not out of control. It’s a daily battle, but I’m resting in Him, our God of hills and valleys. He truly is “beautiful above all things.”

3 responses to “The God of Hills and Valleys”

  1. Sharon Hoover Avatar
    Sharon Hoover

    Please know that you continue to be in my prayers. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Praying God gives you the gift of a pain-free peaceful week. Love you


  3. Praying for you and so inspired by you 💕 Your writing is so beautiful.


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