Lessons I Learned on My Walk Through the Valley

Gold Brush Stroke

I left the exam room in a daze: no longer singing, no longer believing in a benevolent existence, no longer a mother-to-be.

My carefully orchestrated life dissipated in the phrase, “I’m sorry; there is no heartbeat.”

My reality shattered. There weren’t just a few pieces. There were millions! And they lay everywhere, shimmering in the morning light—the shards of hope scattered like dewdrops.

Photo by trieu88 via Flickr

Photo by trieu88 via Flickr

Although the scenario captured above played two decades ago, the pain is still real. I never dreamed I’d lose one baby, much less five.  

Prior to the loss of my first baby, my life had rolled along pretty much as I had planned.But two decades ago, God allowed me to start walking through a valley filled with sorrow … and beauty.

It was the last place I thought I’d be. And although I swallowed many bitter portions, sweetness accompanied my journey as well (though I certainly couldn’t taste it at the time).

Lessons Learned in the Valley

Lifelong lessons mixed with the pain.

  • For the first time, I realized that I wasn’t nearly strong enough to tackle this world on my own.
  • And I learned I don’t have to be.
  • I learned that The Lord cares for me far too much to let me dance through life thinking I’m in charge.
  • I learned it’s not nearly as much about what happens in my life as it is about what I do with what happens.
  • I learned that no matter how dark the valley is or how stormy the mountaintop may be, there is always a light to be uncovered.  There is always something to be thankful for.
  • I learned that although I think I know what the best plan is, God truly does know–always.
  • I learned that The Lord is faithful. He will never abandon me.
  • I learned that a path of ease and comfort, while enjoyable for the short-term, is not always the best one to be on. 

When I lost my Sarah and the other four babies to early miscarriage, I grieved like one without hope.

When I realized my dreams for Rachel’s life weren’t going to be realized, I thought it more than I could bear.

I didn’t fully understand the meaning of the cross, nor see how my sorrow had any redemptive value. I lived in a fog of pain.

Live in His Grace

Now, years later, I dwell there far less. I’ve learned that suffering brings us into fellowship with Christ. That to die is to live. That to deny Jesus Christ’s suffering is to deny our position as His coheirs.

And I hold tight to the realization that “Jesus hung on a cross not so we wouldn’t suffer here, but so we wouldn’t suffer hell” (When God Weeps, Joni Eareckson Tada).

'Jesus hung on a cross not so we wouldn’t suffer here, but so we wouldn’t suffer hell.' ~Joni Eareckson Tada Share on X

In the revelation of this truth lies the reason to rejoice—in all circumstances.

God is righteous and good; therefore, good will be found in all He allows and decrees—even if we can’t see it.

God is righteous and good; therefore, good will be found in all He allows and decrees—even if we can't see it. Share on X

Oh, the glory of living in His grace! 

“Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little” (1 Peter 5:10).

Reflections: What additional lessons have you learned from your valley?

Linking with:

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By His Grace,



  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on July 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Julie: This is so true, we do grow in wisdom in the Lord when we go through trials and suffering. We learn precious things about ourselves and about Him, Sometimes He has to place us in a position where we can only look up to Him.Thank you for this reminder.

    • Julie Sunne on July 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      I think that is often the case, Cecelia.

  2. Natasha Metzler on July 29, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Oh, Julie. This is such a beautiful testimony. Yes, yes. In dying we live.

    • Julie Sunne on July 29, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Thanks, Natasha. It is so important to share our stories of His redemption.

  3. […] The losses I faced years ago–although painful–served to flavor me a certain way. So did each of my experiences, whether difficult or joyful. And as I’ve began purposely nurturing my faith by adding in more prayer and Bible reading, I’m more closely resembling the person I should be.  […]

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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