“He leads me beside quiet waters/ He renews my life.” Psalm 23:2-3, HCSB

In the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to some awesome waters. In March 2006, I sat by the Andaman Sea in Thailand. It was so calm, despite having produced such massive destruction through the 2004 tsunami. I felt so peaceful and yet so filled with pain for the people of Khao Lak. I vividly remember walking along a beach filled with giant rocks, the kind you couldn’t possibly move, that had been washed ashore by that huge wave. All of the tree were leafless and cut off at the same height. It was haunting.

In August 2007, I went to Foz de Iguacu, Brazil, which is home to one of the world’s largest waterfalls. The cataratas are amazing, just breathtaking and immense in a way completely indescribable. I was filled with such reverence on this day that I have a picture of, trekking around the Argentina side of the falls (in that sweater that I miss so dearly. I was wearing it when I was in my car accident and I bled all over it. Man, I liked that sweater! Ooops, tangent!). I actually cried a little, and sang “How Great Thou Art” while walking around.

In my spiritual life, there are still waters and rushing waters. There have to be both to mature me. If we only had to walk beside the still waters, we might be bored, even a little melancholy. The rushing waters may be the valley of the shadow of death, but they are the times that cause us to rely on God, to know Him better, to cry at His greatness.

Right now? Some days are valleys and some are mountains. At the chiropractor Tuesday, I gave the receptionist a laundry list of what I have on my mind right now: moving, baby, tons of projects and work, husband leaving next week, showing the house, etc, etc. She looked surprised and told me I always looked so happy. I replied, “I AM happy.”

And I am. Not always happy with the circumstances, but joyful in the life God’s allowing me to live. I’ve already learned immensely while traveling through this valley kind of time.

Even in those valleys, I know that if I keep my sight straight ahead on my Shepherd, I will learn, I will grow, and I will be better for it.