By Suanne Camfield
I can’t stop staring at my laundry.
Every day begins the same: two kids whining over empty drawers and dirty socks followed by a husband’s heavy sigh—a reflection of both his waning compassion and growing annoyance with my emotionally paralyzed state—as he hastily grabs a pair of boxers he hasn’t seen since college.
I need to do some laundry. God knows I need to do some laundry. But valleys, I’m learning, have this way of robbing us of the life-capacity at which we normally function. A relatively easy step becomes an impossible task and we find ourselves irrationally incapable. And so each time I crack open the laundry room door, I freeze. I stare at what I’m sure is an insurmountable mess, and with a sigh of my own, am convinced: My children will never have clean socks again.
I know what you’re thinking. Before I knew what it felt like to sit with the ugly troll who lives under the bridge, I’d had thought it too: Come on woman, pull yourself together and throw a few shirts in the freaking laundry machine! Rationally, it sounds so simple. Yet there’s nothing rational or simple about a valley. In a valley, the disconnect between what we know to be true and what we feel is so vast that the faith we’ve unwaveringly declared on high ground becomes a distant echo of a voice we no longer recognize.
I’ve appreciated reading my colleagues’ (sisters?) growth experiences over the past couple of weeks as a result of the valleys in which they’ve walked. Honestly, from a girl who feels like she’s sloshing in the belly of a whale (and thinks it pretty much sucks), my visceral reaction is apathetic to growth. Christ-like character, dependence, humility? I’d swap my soul’s transformation in a heartbeat if it meant the pain would just go away.
Ah, but even as I type, I know I am wrong. Even in the darkest muck of the valley, I can’t snuff out the faint rays of hope upon which my faith is built. Somewhere deep down, I know I feel incapable of clawing my way out of the valley, because I actually am. Capable, that is. And so are you.
My laundry, however, now that’s another story.
A ray of hope from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:
“I AM WITH YOU. These four words are like a safety net, protecting you from falling into despair. Because you are human, you will always have ups and downs in your life experience. But the promise of My Presence limits how far down you can go. Sometimes you may feel as if you are in a free fall, when people or things you had counted on let you down…You recall that that not only am I with you, I am holding you by your right hand. I guide you with My counsel, and afterward I will take you into Glory…”