The Valley of Vision #5: Death

I don’t know if Chuck read all of the entries in The Valley of Vision because he didn’t mark them. But this portion from one entry near the back of the book could have been his prayer.

"Prepare me for death, 
that I may not die after long affliction or suddenly, 
but after short illness, with no confusion or disorder, 
and a quiet discharge in peace, with adieu to brethren. 
Let not my days end like lumber in a house, 
but give me a silent removing from one world to the next."

If this had been his prayer, I think it was answered. His illness was short, but not sudden like a heart attack or accident. He was not confused, except maybe for the final few days. He was able to say his goodbyes, even though I felt he and I didn’t really say ours.

Madeleine L’Engle relayed a story a nurse told her of when she lost her husband. “NO CODE” was written in his chart. The nurse said she fell apart, but that looking back, she wouldn’t have had it any other way. This is what we did. Chuck agreed and we signed the DNR form, but when the time came he begged me to call 911; said he changed his mind. I, too, fell apart inside but did my best to stick to what I knew his wishes were. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Madeleine also told of her thoughts when her own husband was dying. “Does Hugh understand that he is being touched, loved? Is there enough awareness in him for that?” I often wonder what Chuck’s thoughts were in those final hours. Our daughters were there with me and we all ministered to him, did our best to give him all the love we had. He was aware that we were there up until the last moments. I can only hope he knew we wanted him to stay, but had to let him go.

He preached and believed “our times are in His hands”. I believe this, too. It was one year ago today.

“And she said she was grateful for every moment she'd ever had with him and, even if it was all over, she wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world.” - from Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle

The Valley of vision #4: Strength

I’ve read statements from unbelievers that think Christians are weak. That believing in God is a sign of weakness. That is so very far from the truth. This line I read today from The Valley of Vision struck me so profoundly:

“Strengthen me that I may cling to Thee and not let Thee go.”

Juliette, summer, 2019

Think about that. It takes strength to hang on. Physically speaking, if I had to hang on to a building or a mountainside or even the monkey bars, I would not make it. My arms are like jelly. (Unlike my granddaughter who has muscles I don’t even dream of). Thank God I have not been left stranded in that way.

But, spiritually speaking, I have felt helpless and sidelined. I could not have held onto God on my own, but He strengthened me and held onto me. He made me to hang onto Him.

What a comfort.


He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29

The Valley of Vision #3: My happy place

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I hear the phrase “My happy place” fairly often. There are signs galore with this slogan, shops and even a deli with this name. But, yesterday’s reading in The Valley of Vision puts a whole different spin on “my happy place”,

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. The writings were gathered and edited by Arthur Bennett, Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, England. 

From yesterday’s reading:

“…Cause me to be a mirror of Thy grace, to show others the joy of thy service, may my lips be well-tuned cymbals sounding Thy praise…Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent of things eternal…”

“…Let my happy place be amongst the poor in spirit, my delight the gentle ranks of the meek. Let me always esteem others better than myself, and find in true humility an heirloom to two worlds.”


Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God. Psalm 146:5

The Valley of Vision #2: smiles of prosperity and frowns of adversity,

For right now, for everyday, there is this:

“…under all the trials that weary me, the cares that corrode me, the fears that disturb me, I can come to Thee in my need and feel peace beyond understanding!”

For now and into the future, there is this: “Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess, but not more than is found in Thee…”

We tend to forget God during the good and easy times, so this reminds me to be thankful for all the ‘smiles of prosperity’:

“Do Thou with me, and prepare me for all the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity, the losses of substance, the death of friends, the days of darkness, the changes of life, and the last great change of all. May I find Thy grace sufficient for all my needs.”

All quotes from The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, England.

The Valley of vision #1: He is my safe harbour.

September 26, 2018 – Oregon

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. I found a seemingly brand new copy among Chuck’s books. It has been an absolute blessing to me. The writings were gathered and edited by Arthur Bennett, Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, England.

From today’s reading:

“I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with thee, O Father, as my harbour, thee, O Son, at my helm, thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.”

In this year, 2021, I launch my “boat” wholly dependent on my Father. I’ll use my oars and GPS. I’ll prepare for storms, but know that when the storms come, He is my safe harbour.