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Fellow Travelers

It has been a long dark lonely road. And by long, I mean years.

My children are reading through The Young Pilgrim’s Progress right now with their dad (because I can barely stay awake by their bedtime). So many of the trials and detours described in that book are familiar to me: the Valley of the Shadow of Death, the Slough of Despond, the Giant named Despair…

For the first few years, I kept everything hidden, buried, bottled up inside. No-one could know how dark the valley was, how deep-seated my doubts, how persistent the despair.

Somehow, last year, I found the courage to begin to confide in people. And then to write a little about the darkness.

And there, I found unexpected encouragement: companionship from others traveling the same road.

None of us knew the others were there because of the darkness and secrecy. Daring to light a candle and open the door in has allowed others to enter into the struggle, to hold up my arms when they grew weak, to speak God’s words into the despair, and to share hard-won advice from their own struggles.

This is, I believe, what God means by “bear one another’s burdens” and live together as one body of many parts, suffering when one part suffers and rejoicing when part is honored. (1 Corinthians 12:23-26)

This can only happen when we choose to be vulnerable and let someone else in.


Posted as part of the Faith Barista’s Faith Jam: Keep Faith Fresh on the topic of unexpected encouragement. Please visit her site to read more!

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  1. Bonnie Gray says:

    It is amazing to see how the encouragement others somehow show up on our journey. It is joy, even though the darkness is there. Because it means we are known. And faith is real. So encouraging, Joy.

  2. I too walked through many deep dark valleys…alone. But, yes, when I finally let people in–took the risk and let them begin to see glimpses of the real me–I received encouragement and so much more. I also found I had much to give. I'm glad you have discovered that as well.

  3. I'm in the midst of a deep valley now. For some time, I didn't open up online about my situation but little by little, I've felt more comfortable. And I also find that as I share more and more people are willing to open up too. We aren't alone in our struggles in life. I love the encouragement I've received from other bloggers and friends.

  4. I'm learning to also share during the dark times. In a book I just read the author described it as the gift of going second. If we share first then others are encouraged to share as well. Then we are all encouraged.

  5. Charissa Steyn says:

    Loved this… What a beautiful picture of walking with others through the valleys!

    Just found your blog today 😉

  6. It hurts. Living by faith hurts.] Yes it does the thorn in the flesh hurts!
    There is a cost it's costly as your walking through it{ KNOW HIM} through this season he will direct thy path.You will dear one you will ask, seek, knock, I can do all things through Christ.. Shed those tears they are caught in a bottle by the healer of the broken heart. Keep your eyes set on the hope set before you . Go sit on your heavenly fathers lap and pictue your little one whose faith is sight. peace to you
    Pro 3:6 In all thy ways ac{know}ledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
    I can do all things through Christ..

  7. Footprints In The Sandhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rqsltr5vsE&feature=player_embedded