In honor of this new skin on the old blog, I’m throwing an open house. For the month of July and into the first days of August I am going to introduce you to some others in my life who have their real stories of how He has used the seemingly “bitter” to create new space for Him (and sandwiched in between I’ll have some of my own writing). Though I could write a whole post about each one of them, I’ll let their stories speak for themselves. I love these people. I love Him in them. I love the diversity of His fingerprints on each of their lives.
Today, I introduce you to Stacey Thacker. This spring has been quite a whirlwind for her — and what’s coming up and out is beauty. I’m so honored she’d share with us when she’s right in the thick …
Sweet friends. This is raw. New. I’m working my way through it as I write. I wish it were packaged a bit better, but I think there is also value in the now. My now is a fresh grief from losing my father just over three months ago. He battled cancer for five years but his home going was sudden. There was no time for goodbye. As he took the nail scarred hand of his savior so did I. He is walking in glory and I am walking in the valley of Achor. This is the bitter and the sweet all mingled up together. So here is my heart in real time. I’m here with you in the place where every bitter thing is sweet. – Stacey
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:14-15 KJV He speaks…
I don’t know why the wilderness acts as megaphone for the voice of God but I can tell you how quiet it is unless he speaks.
I sat on the floor of our bedroom on a Tuesday last March suddenly cast into the middle of a blinding empty wilderness. The thing I remember most was how deafening the quiet was. My girls were quiet. The house was silent.I could only hear the wind in the tree outside my window.
The Valley of Achor is so quiet it hurts. He is voice is tender here. He comes and says, “I’m here take my hand and simply do the next thing. I’ll carry you if that is what you need.” He did precisely that.
He carried me off the floor. He carried me a thousand miles away to the place where I would say goodbye to my dad, cry with my mom, and try to find words to say to more people than I have ever seen in my life. What I really wanted to do was tell my dad I loved and missed him already.
His plan is not to wound forever. I know this. He does his most precious work in wilderness valleys.
And you know what I’ve seen? He not only speaks, he gives. He can’t help but to restore and bless and bring grace. He is drawn to us in the valley filled with troubling grief. Especially in this valley our Jehovah Rapha heals. He can’t do otherwise. He gives us a way out and through. He gives us a door of hope.
I’ve realized the door of hope is actually Jesus. He gives himself in the deepest darkest valleys of trouble Lately I feel like I am standing in the doorway.
I can look behind and see where I’ve been—a weeping hot mess. I can look ahead and see the invitation back to joy. I waver here drifting back and forth. Hope is holding me though. He is holding me together because this is what he does. Imagine that. I am breathing him, holding him, and listening to his promises over and over again.
(Colossians 1:17) “…and in him all things hold together.”
And she will sing…
They asked me to sing for his funeral and I could not. No way. The song was nowhere to be found. It is virtually impossible to sing when you are weeping. Do you know your throat actually closes up and you can’t sing? It is true.
But when I came back home and began to work through every day life my pastor said, “Don’t lose your song, Stacey.”
I had no idea how to respond. I’m a worshipper. I lead worship. I love to sing. The trouble was when I tried to sing the lyrics got stuck in my throat. I guess that day I started swallowing them and they were balm to my heart. Even today, three months later singing about heaven stops me mid-note.
But he promises “she will sing there.” Just like his people came out of Egypt singing songs of deliverance. I will sing as well. I’m there. Waiting in hope’s doorway willing to worship. This bitter place, this Valley of Achor will be filled with a song.
It is his song. He will provide it. And it will be sweet.
For he has promised.
Stacey is Mike’s wife and the mother of four vibrant girls. She is a writer and speaker who loves God’s Word and a good cup of coffee. Her passion is to connect with women and encourage them in their walks with God.
Stacey is the co-author of a book called “Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess” which will be re-released by Harvest House Publishers in January 2015. She is also the author of “Being OK with Where You Are. You can find her blogging at staceythacker.com/blog or hanging out on Twitter @staceythacker.