Recently, putting my thoughts in order has felt difficult.
Writing anything worthy of being called a “blog post” has seemed darn near impossible.
As my family heads into some big changes at the first of the year, I feel like I am surfing on a choppy ocean. On a wonky old surfboard. With hungry sharks circling. With a Jimmy Buffet song on repeat. At dusk. After my first surf lesson.
So basically? I vacillate from nauseated, to fretful, to terrified, and then tip headlong into annoyance.
None of these feelings seemed to lend themselves to any upbeat or positive outlooks that I cared to share in written word.
Mountaintops and valleys.
That’s why I am taking the time to spill out words tonight; mountaintops and valleys.
While texting with a friend a few nights ago, we began talking about the hard times we face and how we make it through.
Not just how we get through dark times or merely survive the crap storms, but how we’ve become stronger in the midst of it all and how we are MAKING IT.
In our chat, I wrote this:
I have been on the mountaintops and in the valleys. And I don’t treasure one over the other.
And somewhere deep inside? My soul said “read that again ”
Sometimes, the things we know to be true get buried beneath the feelings that overwhelm us. But the truth remains and the truth sustains.
Life has both mountaintops and valleys, friends. It always has and always will. In both, there is so much we stand to gain.
My own life has seen loss, divorce, custody issues, self-esteem struggles, issues with anxiety and panic, broken friendships, job loss, financial hardship, etc. (you name it, I’ve been there or real close by!) I was not usually saying “yes! Another painful day! Gee, I hope today is much harder than yesterday!”
Nope. Not hardly.
Yet, maybe I should have been saying just that. Or at least saying thanks.
Every one of those hard moments, and all the great days too, make up the mosaic that is.. me.
Who I am today was created by every moment I’ve lived. The whole of me is one part “weeping in the valley” and one part “raises triumphant fist on mountain peak”
Because of both, I have gained wisdom and strength.
I can weep with you when you weep because, in valleys, I have wept.
I can celebrate your triumphs because, in victory, I’ve climbed to the mountaintops.
It’s easy to reach the heights in life and say “this is amazing! I love being here. God is good. I am learning how good God is! I have victory!”
But, can we learn to do the same in the low times of life?
We learn so much in the valleys..
We learn who we are.
We learn who God is.
We learn what the faithfulness of God looks like.
We learn how strong we are.
We learn that God is still good, and always good.
We learn the way out of the valley.
As I walk through some tough emotions and changes (ok.. a valley) right now, I want to remind myself to appreciate the pain a bit. I want to remember to build an altar here. To mark and remember these hard days as much as I would memorialize a high time in life. Because – as with every other achy time in my life – I will get through it, I will be stronger for it, and God will use this time.
Even in the hurt, when the feelings wash over us, let’s cling to the truth we know:
Mountaintops and valleys..
I don’t treasure one over the other.