In the Valleys I Grow

“Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.” Among the countless quotes from Reverend Billy Graham, this one has long been an anchor in my life. With the Cross-Dubya nestled between the Red River valley and the Piney Woods of east Texas, we have a few hills but no mountains. Still, I love stopping and admiring the beauty of the world God created whenever I’m out doing chores each day.

When I do admire God’s handwork in nature, the words of Psalm 104, the Psalm of Praise, often come to mind. Throughout, its words praise God’s goodness and grace in ruling over and caring for His vast creation. When I read this stirring psalm, I remind myself of the beauty in creation surrounding our little farm and ranch here in Texas. And as much as I love our home, there’s something that takes your breath away when you view the world from a mountaintop.

I think of places I’ve seen across our great nation. The Wasatch mountain range in northern Utah, Salt River range in Wyoming, Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee and the Carolinas, Alleghany mountains in Pennsylvania, Appalachian mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia, the Cascades in the northwest, and the Berkshires, White, and Catskills ranges northward. And last but not least, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the surrounding area. I look upon these in awe, wondering why God would take the time to fill our world with such beauty and inspiration. Because He loves us so.

Have you ever crossed a mountain ridge and stopped to look at the valley below? If so, you can attest the plants, trees, and grass in the valley are much more vibrant than atop the ridge. Have you ever wondered why things grow better in the valley than on the mountaintop? There are several reasons. Water follows the law of gravity and it moves downward, thus more water/moisture collects in the valley. The surrounding mountains shelter the plants and trees in the valley from the strong winds that whip around and cause damage. And last, refractory light often reflects off the mountainsides, giving plants in the valley more light and opportunity to grow.

Like plants, we too can experience greater growth while in the “valleys” of our lives. Click To Tweet

A key word in the phrase above is “can.” Unlike plants, whose growth responds to the forces and sources applied, God created humans with free will. He gives us the choice to grow  and worship His majesty. In the same way, He allows us to choose to remain in sin and wither and die without the light of His love to nourish us. Free will gives us this choice; eternal life or eternal death.

When we find ourselves in the valleys of life, we can either wither in the darkness or grow in God’s light. Click To Tweet

Several years ago, I was blessed to come across a poem I fell in love with. The poem’s author is a dear, sweet church volunteer at Grace Baptist Church in Williamsburg, VA. With God’s endless grace, Ms. Jane Eggleston granted me permission to share her poem with you.

It’s In the Valleys I Grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It’s then I have to remember
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow.
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do.
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross.
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know.
The mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow!

Written by Ms. Jane Eggleston, Williamsburg, VA, 1977. Used with permission.

We each need to experience the glory of mountaintop views of God’s creation and the hard living in the depths of life’s valleys, where we learn to lean upon God’s grace. My friend Ms. Jane and I pray you come to enjoy both; and that you give God the glory in it all.

God’s blessings,

Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

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44 thoughts on “In the Valleys I Grow

  1. This resonated with me, J.D. Earlier this year, I walked through the darkest valley ever to date. And I know the Lord is always with me. Yet, it seems I learn way more spiritual lessons in the valley than the mountaintop. So I like your analogy of either withering in the darkness or growing in the light.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. The valleys are tough; and sometimes it seems God keeps us there longer than we think He ought to. It’s been those extended times in the valley that I’ve looked back from the mountaintop to see my greatest growth and the blessings therein.

  2. I’ve always loved what C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters (paraphrased): Don’t attack the enemy when they’re in the valley. Attack them when they are on the mountaintop. They stop looking up to God and think they can handle everything. That’s when they are the most vulnerable.

    1. I thought of that very book as I was writing this Ms. Ane. Too often, in my life anyway, I get drug back down into the valley because I get too “comfortable” up on the mountaintop and I let me guard down. Great though ma’am. God’s blessings; and thank you for adding to our conversation.

  3. I loved this poem, J. D.! Yes, it’s definitely in the valleys where God grows us the most. Still, the majesty of the mountains always reminds me that God’s powerful hand is in creation, and we can be filled with hope and peace knowing He is in control at all times.
    Blessings!

    1. Amen Ms. Martha Jane. So important for us to remember that He is with us always, and in both our valley and mountaintop moments. It’s good also to remember that He is closer to us in our valleys than on top of the mountain too. I like to think that’s because He knows we need Him more there. 🙂

  4. JD A widowed friend shared this poem with me–so true- growth in adversity. God’s secure presence in what is unfavorable from our point of view gives us great growth. Thanks again.

  5. What a beautiful reminder that God gives us moments of glory to enjoy each day. I pray I learn during the valleys and give thanks and praise at all times. I was born about 45 minutes away from Williamsburg, in Hampton. J.D., I look forward to your messages. Every time I open email and find a post from you, I smile. Have a blessed week! 🙂

  6. Painful as it may be, this is surely true, but we don’t see the implications of the valleys until we’ve gained a little perspective again. But His grace is sufficient. Beautiful post this morning.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Dottie. I know it’s been a “valley year” for many of us this year; especially you sweet friend. It’s in these times that it is so important we live one another up in prayer. Am so blessed to have you as one of my prayer partners ma’am. Such an honor to join you and your family in prayer.

  7. I do love the mountains. My heart finds peace as I gaze down on all God has created for us to enjoy. But the words of the poem are so true, it is in the valley where I learn to grow. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem and your words of wisdom.

    1. Me too Ms. Yvonne; and my wife and I actually looked at buying land near Seiverville, TN, but God wanted us here. I understand why now. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am; and thank you so much for sharing with us.

  8. Such a fabulous and wise post, J.D. Thank you for sharing from your life experiences and encouraging us to lean on God’s grace. I wholeheartedly agree that we grow in the valleys. Glory to our awesome, loving God!

  9. Sometimes when we are in the valley, that gravity that is part of God’s creation (and necessary for us to function) seems to increase our burden to the point that we are sinking into that rich earth, soon to be lost forever. But, our Lord doesn’t give us more than we can handle because He is always there to carry our burden. The catch is, we must willingly surrender the burden (and ourselves) to Him. I needed your message today, my friend.

    1. Such truth my friend. As you’re and other dear friends are experiencing what my wife and I call “the Firsts”, please know that our prayers are with you. While it must be different for a spouse or child than for a parent or grandparent, I’ve learned that with time, God will take our grief and turn it into precious memories that we hold more dear with each passing year. Somehow, what seems “forever” to us will be but a “fast second” to those loved ones who await us in glory. I can’t wait to one day meet you and “Farmer Bob” there; hopefully as neighbors. God’s blessings; and continued prayers for peace, comfort, and strength dear friend.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Mr. Roger. I can’t wait for that day my friend. I’ll be honored to give you the entire $0.50 tour; which means you get to muck out the barn and unload feed sacks, and drive the tractor to put out hay in the muddy field of course. 😀 Thank you so much sir; much appreciated.

  10. Thanks for sharing these beautiful thoughts, J.D and for the wonderful poem. We can be thankful that God gave us such beauty by making this earth diverse with mountains and valleys. And He uses His creation to teach us such amazing insights about Him.

    1. I’m so very glad you enjoyed Ms. Barbara. I was thinking of some of the beautiful mountain views I’ve enjoyed in my world travels through the years; and wondering if you’ve got to enjoy some of the spectacular natural views S. Korea has to offer yet. God’s blessings my gentle friend.

  11. I have also traveled the 48 lower states and visited Hawaii a couple of times. And, like you, I was often in awe of God’s creation. Such beauty and majesty are an impossibility if left to chance. God’s life lessons are all around us, if we will just take the time to look and to ask, “What are you telling me, Lord.” Thanks for sharing, JD.

    1. Amen Mr. Monty! A question I ask often is “What are you teaching me today Lord?” What a wonderful approach you have to prayer and seeking God’s voice in your surroundings my friend. Well said author; and Congratulations on the release of your new book, “Small Steps to Understanding a Big Gospel.” Having had the opportunity to review an advanced reader copy, I was thrilled to find such an easy-to-understand explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for this book sir.

  12. What a sweet poem. It’s so nice when believers use their talents to bless other people, as they were in “valley” times. As the Bible says, we can comfort others as God has comforted us.
    Now I’m going to go read Psalm 104.

    1. Yes ma’am; Ms. Jane Eggleston is a true blessing indeed. I can’t wait to meet her in heaven one day. As for Psalm 104; every time I read through it, I am moved to praise. I bet you are too my friend. God’s blessings.

  13. That is a lovely poem. I understand how a few difficult times in my life were beneficial in the long run. There are a incidents that I still don’t understand the meaning/reason behind…but, maybe we are not supposed to understand everything.

    1. Alas; this is faith my friend. Even in those times when we can’t understand God’s plan for our lives, faith helps us to accept that good will come of it. God’s “good” comes in many forms, but we have to expect it to arrive; we have to invite it in. Sometimes it’s increased faith, hope, and love. Other times it’s peace or other spiritual fruit produced in our lives. Forgiveness is another gift from God; as it releases us from sin’s grip. I pray you and Mr. James find growth in all your “life valleys” sweet friend. They’ll be many more to come; just remember to look up and seek His light. God’s blessings gentle lady.

  14. Your message of hope served as the perfect devotion for me this morning! From Psalm 104 to Ms. Jane’s poem to Billy Graham’s powerful quote, it was just what I needed to hear. I’m praying for patience and growth as I cross my particular valley.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Ms. Candyce; and know that whatever valley you are walking through, and wherever your journey might take you, I’ll be praying you through it ma’am. God’s blessings; and prayers for an enlightening, growth-filled journey.

  15. So true, J.D., that we grow in the valleys. This year has been a valley year for me, but I value and appreciate the growth. Thank you for your wonderful encouragement, as usual! Blessings, dear friend.

  16. At least the valley offers an easier path of hiking rather than climbing! While I don’t want to stay in the valley when I could view things from the mountaintop, I know it helps me appreciate the mountaintop view better.

    1. Yes ma’am, they do. Sometimes it seems much easier getting into one than it does getting out of one, but both offer plenty of obstacles. So glad we no longer have to navigate them alone Ms. Karen. 🙂

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