About the Author

Jennifer is an artist living in rural Nebraska with her US Army veteran husband. She loves to create and seeks to reflect the beauty of Christ and encourage others in meaningful, beautiful ways. You can find her and see more of her art on Studio JRU.

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  1. Jennifer,
    We so need this reminder because even if we aren’t currently in a dark place, chances are good that we will find ourselves there at some point or, like you are, be ordained to walk with someone through their dark season in life. How great a friend you are to have the compassion that you do. So often people want to “fix” us or throw some cliché phrase out there that sounds good, but what we really need is a heart like Jesus that encourages us to hold on… to be the faithful voice that reminds us that His grace is sufficient and His heart can be trusted. God is faithful to walk us THROUGH the valleys. He will not leave us there. Beautiful reminder for us to tuck away in our hearts this am.!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev, I add a big “AMEN” to all that you just said. I am that person walking seemingly alone through the longest valley of the shadow of death in my life (almost 69, saved @ 12). Yes…..as you say “people want to ‘fix’ us or throw some cliche phrase out that sounds good….etc.” Jennifer’s words & yours have so encouraged me today….lifted me….reminding me that Jesus, my Shepherd, is, indeed, walking me THROUGH this valley, no matter what others do, don’t do, say, or don’t say, HE is with me and will NEVER leave me nor forsake me, as others have done. God bless you dear Bev!

      • Donna,
        I am lifting you up in prayer right now. I have walked through many valleys – some short, some seemingly endless. If there is one constant I have learned through them all is that God, no matter how it may appear or feel at the time, will never leave nor forsake us. Feelings do not match the factual reality of God’s endless love for you. I also believe that these valleys have led me to be much more compassionate toward others than I would have been had I not walked with God through these dark times. Every human will turn their backs on us at some point, but God never does. Praying for God to bring beauty from your ashes and to continue to give you the hope and strength to carry on. You are deeply love…just for being YOU!
        Blessings and ((hugs)),
        Bev

        • Thank you dear Bev so much for your prayers & words of encouragement. You are truly a vessel of the Holy Spirit to me today as you have used words that the Lord Himself has spoken to me…beauty for ashes…. deeply loved just for being me. I know that God will use this for good and my prayer for years has been…”May my life bring honor and glory to Your Name.”

          • ((Hugs))…He’s already using your life to bring honor and glory to His name. Your steadfastness is testimony to what He’s doing in your life.

      • Donna,
        Before I knew your name I said a prayer for you! Asking God to help you get through this tough time! So glad you have someone to walk through this time with you!
        Blessings 🙂

    • Yes… a heart like Jesus that encourages us to hold on! Sometimes that is all we can do until He brings us through. Thank you so much for your beautiful thoughts and your encouragement to others in the comments today, Bev!

  2. Thank you for this. It is dark in the valley of tears. I pray daily that He will show me the way. It is hard to see ahead. You look for His hand and it seems slipped into someone elses. Thank you for your encouragement.

    • MM, yes it is dark in the valley of tears. I am there myself….a very long season, longest of my life, but Bev’s words of encouragement really lifted me as well, and your words….”You look for His hand and it seems slipped into someone elses.”……so well said…my experience as well, so dear one we are not alone, He is with us, walking us through, though we cannot see, HE sees, and will bring us through and out. God bless you MM!

      • Thank you for your blessing. Also for reminding me He is there . My prayers go out to you as we both reach for His hand

        • Thank you MM for your prayers….praying for you as well my sister in Christ and beloved child of God! Psalm 31:15 – “My times are in Your Hands…..” This time/season in our lives will come to an end and the sun (son) will shine again in our hearts!

          • Amen Donna. I will continue to lift you MY Dear sister in Christ. I look forward to God holding our hands. You have uplifted me today. So needed God Bless

    • Yes, it is hard to see ahead. But have faith that He is there with you… especially when you can not see or understand. You are not alone, MM. Praying for you today that you will be filled with His grace.

      • Jennifer I am grateful for your prayers. Thank you for giving me comfort, I hope for a filling of His grace. May He bless you in your daily life

    • MM,
      The Psalmist said Yea though I walk THROUGH the valley of shadow of death-not around it, but through it–I will not fear for thou art with me. He is always there ready to comfort you and heal you in your distress! Prayers for healing and comfort for your heart mind and soul!

      Blessings 🙂

  3. A difficult season – I am in it too. While it could be worse, it also could be better. Watching ones close to my heart walk paths I wish they wouldn’t….is heartbreaking. I’m reaching for His grace daily as my trust and confidence reservoirs are low, if not empty. I am asking God to fill the need that I have for hope in Him, as I cannot manufacture that hope on my own. i am reminded to be thankful, to let go and let God, and to realize that those whose lives I long to see changed are His children, just like I am. I am learning about His grace and His presence and how He is working uniquely in this situation to show me He is in it with me. Lessons are being learned that, without the hardship, would not teach nearly as well as they do when the way is dark and unknown.

    • Beth,
      Sharing in your heartbreaking, lack of control feelings as I, too, watch a loved one walk a very dark and dangerous path. Praying with you for the grace to let go and trust them, as God’s children, in His sovereign power and care. xx

      • Thank you, Bev. I am encouraged because OUR perspective and focus is changing for the better, and that will help us in our approach when conversations need to come. God is doing preparatory heart-work on our end, and slowly unclenching our tightly fisted fingers from around the problem and slipping the burden out into His hand instead.

    • Beth,
      Prayers for you and your loved one! It is so hard to watch one we love do things contrary to their upbringing! Prayers for God’s grace, and mercy to come touch you heart, and and soul! I pray for a heart change in the loved one! May God open their eyes to see the truth of His love and light!
      Blessings 🙂

  4. You have no idea how much I needed to read this. Most days I might just let it go. Today the word Grace drew me in. It has been my word for the year and I haven’t really understood the reason. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I knew what it was but knowing & understanding in my heart are two different things. I kept hearing you need to not just give Grace, abut receive it. Well, I have to say, today, you were used mightily to help me figure that part out.
    Thank you & maybGod richly bless you.

  5. Thank you Bev for your very timely words of encouragement today! I needed it so desperately today!!! I have been lifted. The Lord works in mysterious ways! I am going through the longest, darkest, loneliest, most intense valley/season of my life (almost 69, saved @ 12). My closest friends (even many from my church of 21 years) have pretty much just let me go when their quick, momentary “fixes” don’t work….and left me to walk alone….BUT….I am not alone, He is with me, walking me through this valley. “My soul finds rest in God alone.” (Psa 62). And though I might (and do) “feel” totally alone….He promises in His word that He will never leave me nor forsake me….and when earthly comforters fail, He NEVER does…His love never fails”. I pray that when He brings me through and out that I will then, by His grace and what I have experienced, be able to help others who are walking through these valleys….I can say…”I have been there….I understand….let me encourage you.”

    • Amen! This is beautiful. I too have experienced the “dropping off” of well meaning friends and relatives that, once the crisis has passed, forget to ask or even remember, and I am left feeling very alone and unsupported. It’s not their fault; life goes on. But life stands still and time passes slowly for the ones in crisis, because there are no quick fixes to many of the emotional, addictive ailments. Few are the ones who can remain with you on the battle lines and in the trenches for the long haul that, whether you want to or not, you have to endure. God is the only one who will stay 24/7.

      • i agree with you. I am still alone and everything has slowed. friends move on and think you should too. I am asking God to show me in a big way if my lost dream is gone. I cannot hear Him

  6. This is a good reminder. I’ve been struggling lately . Sometimes it feels like I’m trapped in this darkness. . I feel so alone .

    • You’ve come to the right place. You are not alone- you belong here, amongst sisters in Christ who understand your pain. You are loved by us, and by God!

    • Leah,
      My sweet sister in Christ–you are NEVER ALONE!! God is with you always!!!! We here at In courage want to be there for you also! Praying for you to see God in the midst of this struggle! Know that you are loved and cared for! We understand your pain and struggle!! Prayers for healing peace comfort and contentment to your mind, body and soul!!!

      (((((Hugs)))))

  7. Jennifer, thank you for sharing these truths. Even when we can’t feel God’s presence, His grace is right there for us. I loved what you said about God’s grace helping us to hold onto the hope that things will get better.

    I’m not walking through the dark seasons right now, but I have friends who are. Sometimes it’s hard for them to see the fact that God’s grace is there for us, and it is enough for us to cling to. It does find us, right there in our darkness. Thank you for giving me words to share this with some in my life who are in the dark seasons right now.

    • It is often easier for us to see from the outside, isn’t it, Jeanne? We know His grace can give them the hope they need. Praying for your friends that need to know this in their heart at this time. Your friendship to them is a beautiful thing.

  8. Lisa, This is well timed, and is a reminder of what God has been telling me for years and says so much with the statement “God is moving in our lives regardless of our ability to see it” He still has the last say and the compassion and grace to see us through. I have had friends as I’ve read of the other women’s responses who forget, move on, say if you just turn it over and if you just believe, those are all true, but the reality of the day in and day out doesn’t change. Only Jesus can fix us, change us, the other people involved, the bodies, and it is not a matter of believing, but a matter of the weariness. But, in the mean time, we can still be compassionate ourselves, be a hope for those who are struggling, be the people of Grace because we have experienced His Grace. I pray for the women who have commented because I’ve walked this path and know the difficulty, the invisibility, the hurt, the physical pain and the weariness. Bless these women who are trying to believe what we know to be true and see Your face and Your hand today in the midst of life. Show in a tangible way Yourself merciful, and let Your Presence be felt, and be a comfort to those women represented through the comments and those who couldn’t comment. Speak words of Life over them, and words of comfort. Let them know You have them grasped tightly in Your hand. Change us to be more like Jesus and bring alongside the Holy Spirit, covering them to encourage them, strengthen them, and uphold them with Your victorious, mighty right them and claim the promise You will help us. Cover them with Your love today, and You alone can heal. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

  9. Yes. This has been a long, pain-filled season for me but what is harder than my pain is watching my 2sisters go thru intense, unending physical & emotional pain that for both has been a season lasting many years & still going. I will continue to pray & encourage them w/your reminder that God’s grace will carry them.

    • So sorry for your pain-filled season, Ruth. Sorry for the pain your sisters are going through. So hard to see our loved ones hurting like that. I will be praying for you and for them. God’s grace with carry you all!

    • Ruth,
      Yes it is so hard to watch loved ones go through pain. Prayers for you to be there and have the words to encourage them! Prayers for healing from the Great Physician! Prayers for peace and contentment for all of you in your heart, mind and soul!
      Blessings (((((hugs)))))

  10. I wish to encourage those in pain (including myself) with these verses from Psalm 139:1-18 (NIV) – “O Lord, You have searched me, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar, You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb, I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to (or concerning) me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with You.”

  11. Jennifer, Well said! I loved when you said “We may not see the work He is doing in our heart, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. His grace finds us. His grace will keep us going. His grace will be sufficient even when our faith isn’t.” That’s something we all need to hear, we all need to know, we all need to believe at one time or another. It’s all about His grace! #HopePrevails!!

  12. Jennifer,
    I was in a deep dark valley last year with my aging father. He had multiple medical issues and it took a toll on me and my work. Never knew that kind of stress before! This year I had to quit my job to be more available for him. He had more medical issues and we put him on hospice. So hard to do! Now I’m dealing with my in-laws medical issues. But I can see the light and have a sense of peace about life and God! It is only through prayer and the love of almighty God that I got through last year!
    Blessings and (((((hugs))))) to everyone!