We are going through this together.
In any valley, you reach a lowest point, and for us that happened on a Sunday morning. We were at church, and I (Garrett) had just given a message. I looked down after the service and Andrea wasn’t there. When I found her, she was curled up in a ball on the floor in the bathroom of my office and was unable to move. We found out later that Andrea had suffered a debilitating panic attack.
We decided in that moment that it was time to get help. We saw a chemical doctor and a professional counselor and learned that this was not a circumstantial issue, but a chemical one. Andrea started taking medicine to help reset her mind and over a period of time, we began to feel like we were taking steps out of the valley. I want to encourage everyone reading this right now: You have the right to get the help you need and don’t let anybody make you feel bad about it.
Alongside professional help, I (Andrea) nourished my spirit with scripture during this season. Here are the passages that spoke most to me:
- “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you. Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 43:13 (NIV)
- “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make you paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
God’s word will always be the light for you in any situation. Every marriage is filled with multiple mountain tops and valleys, and we want to share what we learned during our time in the valley:
- The valley is something you deal with, not someone you are.
You cannot accept the identity of a valley. God’s desire is that we keep moving through the valley, not live there permanently.
- In the valley, you walk; you don’t run.
This is hard to accept, but there’s a reason Psalm 23 says, “Though I walk through the valley…” You don’t get to run. The win is continually taking one step at a time without stopping. Keep walking!
- In the valley, celebrate the small victories.
For us, being able to walk back into Hobby Lobby was a step of victory. Like we said before, God leads you out of the valley in steps, so we have to take time to celebrate every small step that is moving us forward.
In closing, we want to encourage those who are walking through a valley right now. Here is what we have learned from our own experience: God is a healing God. He loves you. He will get you through this. During this time, we encourage you to keep coming to church. Share your struggles with trusted community who can help carry you through the valley when you can’t take another step on your own. Get help together. Garrett was my rock through every doctor’s appointment. Always remember, if your spouse is going through a valley, you are there too. It is important to remind them that they are not alone. I (Garrett) never approached Andrea saying, “I hope you make it through that.” I approach her saying, “We are going through this together.”