Soul Care: Daily Giveaway #3

Congrats to those who have already won this great book: Jessica B & Erin M.!!!

This week, I'm giving away a wonderful book by Steven W. Smith, called Embracing Soul Care: Making Space For What Matters Most.  I've been writing a series sharing ideas and encouragement from the book, and Mr. Smith wrote and offered  FIVE copies for me to give away through Making Home!  

Today is the 3rd giveaway.  Every day this week you will have an opportunity to win this book.  Each day, I'm asking you to answer one question in the comments & leave your name & e-mail information (so that I can get in contact with you if you win)!

In the book, Smith writes:
"Valley times of the soul can be unpredictable.  We don't know what is ahead.  Valleys are experienced, not escaped.  We endure the lows, feel the agony, and hope for a way out.  These are times of aloneness, yet for those in Christ, the awareness of our traveling companion makes all the difference."

Of course, we've all experienced valley times.  Some of my hardest days were described perfectly by Smith-- "experienced, but not escaped."  TODAY, the question is:
From YOUR "valley" experiences, what help is needed by someone enduring/experiencing a prolonged valley time?  Essentially, what help could/did someone have offered to you (in a valley time) that would have truly been a welcomed blessing?  What can others learn from your valley times?

*** Contest Details: Entries will be taken until 8pm CST, at which point I will use a random number generator to select the winner.  I will announce the winner both in the comments of this post & at the top of tomorrow's post.  ***

Don't forget to LEAVE A COMMENT w/ your answer, name, and e-mail address!!!


Allie said...

A faithful friend--one who will call on you (whether by email, phone, or a night in or out), listen to you, encourage you, and share truth gently. -Allie,

Deborah said...

Like I said yesterday, I'm not sure I've had a real "valley" moment as described in the book, but I have had some difficult times that I couldn't work my way through; I just had to experience them until God brought me out. During those times, the most helpful thing for me was to be in touch with others who had gone or were going through a similar situation. Everyone goes through difficult events alone, but you're never the first, and just knowing that helps you to realize that there will be an end, that you will come through it, and that things will be better.


Anonymous said...

Valley times are physically tiring. I need more sleep, which means I need other to pick up a few jobs. But I'm also spiritually tired, which needs someone to take the initiative to open the bible for me and with me, just read a short bit and encourage me with it. Some times even that is too hard to do yourself.
Caroline E

Jamie Butts said...

Hmm. So, once I was in this valley that was pretty suffocating and overwhelming at the time. My sweet little sister, only 16 at the time, I think, wrote me a note I still have today. It was about 2% her words, and 98% a long quote from Pilgrim's Progress where Hopeful encourages Christian. That was HUGE for me! Also, in valleys, I have this one friend who will talk it through with me but also purposes to talk about other things, which helps me not be so consumed. In marriage, it's helpful when friends help you focus on His grace and your sin and steer you away from focusing on your spouse's sins. My life would have looked different (in a bad way) if I had somehow avoided the valleys instead of experienced them. In the valleys, you see the Lord and know His strength, which gives sweet assurance of your salvation, as you are left scratching your head, and wondering how you could have survived without divine Help!

Jamie Butts

Anonymous said...

I think I have been in a valley for a LOOONG time financially. It has been really helpful to have various people affirm my stay-at-home choice and offer to pray for us (my husband in particular to be better employed).

sandra said...

When I'm in the valley, I need more alone time and The Word constantly coming at me through: reading scripture, listening to praise music, downloading a sermon to watch at night after the kids go to bed, writing scriptures and posting them on the fridge, mirrors, etc. And I need more exercise which is really solitude.

Anonymous said...

for me - worship has been so helpful! finding songs that specifically speak to my specific valley does wonders!! blessings!
~ Ali

OurCrazyFarm said...

Just being there is one of the best things people have done as we currently walk through our valley. People so often think that their words have to be perfect, but often times their presence is what matters.

Thanks for hosting the giveaways!

Rather than an email, you can contact me by leaving a comment at:

Kate said...

Dang it, I neglected to enter yesterday. These are all great questions.

I was just last night having a time of despair about certain circumstances in our life. I'll answer in the present tense, LOL. How *do* I want someone to help me in a time like this? I want someone to tell me that that there *is* an end in sight. Granted, I do not like it when someone says it in a trite way, like, "Oh I just know everything will work out fine. You'll see, things always work themselves out." Uh, no they don't. Life is not a sitcom episode, God does not promise us a life on earth where things always get better.

I feel frantic when I get that "trapped" feeling, like I've been having. That there's no real hope of the situation ever changing, and the hill looks impossibly steep and exhausting to get to the other side. Feeling like really and truly, things will never change. But last night, I did pray, and I got this image in my head of God (as depicted in Renaissance paintings, LOL) standing behind a door in my apartment, out of sight, while I was sitting there crying.

It brought to my mind the fact that sometimes there is a positive change around the corner that we know nothing of, and aren't expecting. When, in the past, this kind of positive change has surprised me, I am left with the hindsight observance that it would have been so much easier to endure the 'valley' if I knew that it wasn't going to stay that way. And furthermore, in my whiny state, I miss opportunities to grow, like you alluded to in the last post.

Gregg Harris was talking one time about lightbulbs. Sometimes a lightbulb will burn out in an important place like the kitchen. So what do you do until you can get to the store to buy more? You go to a closet or some not-so-often used location to borrow it's lightbulb to put it in the more important kitchen location. Sometimes we can be like that little closet lightbulb. We can faithfully serve in our humble, inconspicuous location, as we should. We never know when God is coming to say to us "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much."

But at the same time, there's no guarantee we'll get to go to the kitchen. There is always the hope of heaven, and that is not a small thing.

Miranda said...

I needed love. I needed to feel it from God, friends and family. I needed a shoulder to cry on. Someone to call and see how I was doing. Someone to encourage me.

I dont have that. I know that God is all I NEED but somedays it would be really nice to have the extra support.


Phyllis said...

In my valley, I really, really wanted someone to talk to! Someone who would have listened to me and just been there for me.
--Phyllis (

flyinjuju said...

Being honest here, to me the greatest thing I heard was practice, practice, practice. Practice the truths, each day, practice whatever it is you are working on. Having an extended period of trial was a huge surprise to me and I really was not equipped how to handle it, but I think if/when it happens again, realizing that it is a season, and will pass is encouraging.

Laura said...

In my valley I needed to know that the Lord understood the circumstances, was absolutely with me, yet wanted me to continue my pursuit of Him rather than become "stuck" there.

C.L. said...

I enjoyed everyone's answer so far and would only add a resounding "yes" to all of them! A good friend and time alone to worship and read Scripture would be my top answers.

Caitlin L
acpenner at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if people would offer practical help such as making a meal or helping with other needs. Or even an encouraging phone call or a card.

Erika said...

Ultimately, more time meditating on God and His Word--but practically, that might mean a friend or spouse pointing me to specific Scripture passages, someone helping with meals/cleaning to free my time a little to get away to read/ponder, or just more sleep so I can focus better when I do read/pray.


Michelle Howell said...

Time spent in prayer and scripture together. There is nothing more gratifying and uplifting when you are in "that place".

Erin said...

Hi Jess!
I think the best thing to offer to someone in a valley time is a listening ear. I've made the mistake of being too quick to give advice or ask if they've tried x, y or z. Listening first can be a blessing.
This is not to say that there is not a place for sharing the truth in love, but making sure to listen allow them to be heard.
We all want to be heard, understood, loved and accepted.
Thanks again for a chance to win!
erinmarieschneider at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

When I was in valley, my husband and friend were great encouragements to me. I took my sadness to them and they were like rocks. They consistently offered sympathy while at the same time reminded me of God's goodness and promises. Their prayers, love, faithfullness, and listening ears lifted me up and reminded me to turn to the Lord with my concerns.

I think I can be hesitant to bring my concerns to others because I don't want to burden them; but, when I have, the Lord has blessed me with people who offer great encouragement.

- Rachel B

BETHANY said...

A few things come to mind -

* listen when I need to talk
* share encouraging verses, quotes, poems, etc.
* help practically - groceries, pay bills, etc.
* give the fluff of life - fun soaps and lotions, treating to a night out with dessert, etc.
* don't let/make every conversation be about my valley
* pray with and for me
* take my kids and do something fun with them

mihaela67 said...

Hi, again!
When my husband was deployed a v sweet, young couple, my neighbors, mowed the grass for us for 7 months ! Also, they often checked on me and the kids, they made us brownies and send us thank you notes for the sacrifice that our family was doing. (I am emotionally just writing now this...)

Jess said...

AND.... Tonight's # was #9!

Congrats to Kate!

To the rest of you, I just want to thank you for your willingness to share; I think it's so interesting to see what we can learn from one another in things like this. Please come back the next 2 days & enter to win one of the final 2 books!


FYI: I'm using to produce a random # each night, with whatever number of entries there are that particular time.