Mountain tops, valleys, and the tough times in between

Like you, I'm no stranger to mountain tops or valleys.  I've experienced both in my life and I know that God is there with me in either place.  But lately I've been thinking about the valleys that I've walked through.  Some of those times, I found myself there as the result of unconfessed sin  in my life.  Other times it was because I was trying to do things my way and didn't listen to that still, small voice telling me, "This is the way...walk here".

The past couple of months have been very hard on me spiritually.  I have felt as if I was in a dry, desert land.....not even a valley.....seeking God, but not able to feel His presence fully.  I would sense Him at times, but it always felt like He was standing off to the side...watching and waiting.  I couldn't figure out what He was doing or why He chose to sit in silence.

The past couple of months have been extremely busy, so I contributed some of it to my being distracted and maybe not paying full attention to the Spirit.  But no matter how much I called out to Him to draw near, nothing changed.

I felt as if I had no words to share...not on this blog or even in conversations with those God put in my path.  It seemed like all of my creativity, all of my passions were lost.  I was clueless to why I felt this way.  I know enough about God and His Word to know that He will never leave me or forsake me.  I know the gifts and talents He has blessed me with and because I try to use them for His glory, I didn't think He had just taken them away from me.

A couple of days into our fast, I was doing my morning devotion.  It seemed like I had been just going through the motions lately, always coming up empty.  But this particular day, I felt God speak to my heart.  All of the emptiness I had been feeling....all of the guilt about feeling like I was going backwards instead of forwards....it all started to make sense.

I had had not one, but several mountain top experiences last year.  I was able to climb from peak to peak as each moment came, but eventually I would have to come back down. I had lost sight of those mountain tops and all I could see was the rough, ragged terrain on the long journey back down.  I would have to go down to the valley.....it just took me a while to get there.

The journey down the mountain was much harder than it is here in the valley, for in the valley, I can feel His presence again.  We are His sheep and He is our good Shepard.  His sheep find peace in the valley.  There are green pastures here beside the still water.  There is rest for our souls.

The valley is known for temptations and trials, but we must remember that He is there with us....leading us and guiding us along the way.  He is preparing us for the next mountaintop experience and the hard work has to be done here.

When I didn't feel close to God, I seemed to lose some of my ability to have a compassionate heart for others.  My heart didn't ache for the lost.  During these times, we lose the burden to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But I feel Him near me now.  I hear Him speaking to me and the words I am to share are easy to type.  The tears are back as well....compassion for others.....sadness about the evil in the world, for God softens our hearts to mirror His.    

So, these last couple of months were to remind me that if I do not have the heart of God, I will not make a difference for Christ in this sinful world.  I don't know about you, but I want my time here to count!  I'm here for a reason and I want to live out God's calling on my life.  I will experience mountain tops and I will rest and learn in the valleys.  And on the rough, ragged terrain in between, I'm gonna keep on trusting Him to see me through.

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