the valley

Contrary‌ ‌to‌ ‌what‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌may‌ ‌think,‌ ‌being‌ ‌a‌ ‌Christian‌ ‌doesn't‌ ‌prevent‌ ‌us‌ ‌from‌ ‌facing‌ obstacles.‌ ‌It‌ ‌just‌ ‌means‌ ‌that‌ ‌God‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌‌ ‌with‌ ‌us‌‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌face‌ ‌the‌ ‌valley.‌ ‌God‌ ‌never‌ ‌promised‌ ‌us‌ ‌an‌ ‌easy‌ ‌life.‌ ‌In John‌ ‌16:33‌ ‌it ‌says,‌ ‌“In‌ ‌this‌ ‌world,‌ ‌you‌ ‌will‌ ‌have‌ ‌trouble.‌ ‌But‌ take‌ ‌heart!‌ ‌I‌ ‌have‌ ‌overcome‌ ‌the‌ ‌world.”‌ ‌Faith‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌prevent‌ ‌us‌ ‌from‌ ‌getting‌ ‌bit,‌ ‌but ‌it‌ ‌keeps‌ ‌us‌ ‌from‌ ‌dwelling‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌negative.‌

Every‌ ‌Christian‌ ‌goes‌ ‌through‌ ‌seasons.‌ ‌We‌ have‌ ‌seasons‌ ‌filled‌ ‌with‌ ‌highs‌ ‌and‌ ‌lows.‌ ‌The‌ ‌high‌ ‌seasons‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌seasons‌ ‌where‌‌ our‌ ‌prayers‌ ‌are‌ ‌answered,‌ ‌where‌ ‌life‌ ‌couldn’t‌ ‌feel‌ ‌more‌ ‌blessed,‌ ‌and‌ ‌where‌ ‌we‌ are‌ ‌accomplishing‌ ‌things‌ ‌left‌ ‌and‌ ‌right.‌ We‌ ‌often‌ ‌refer‌ ‌to‌ ‌this‌ ‌season‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌“hill”‌ ‌or‌ a‌ ‌“mountain”.‌ ‌But,‌ ‌we‌ ‌also‌ ‌go‌ ‌through‌ ‌those‌ ‌seasons‌ ‌of‌ ‌lows‌ ‌-‌ ‌the‌ ‌seasons‌ ‌where‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌get‌ ‌frustrated‌ ‌because‌ ‌we‌ ‌start‌ ‌to‌ feel‌ ‌as‌ ‌if‌ ‌God‌ ‌isn't‌ ‌listening‌ ‌to‌ ‌our‌ ‌prayers, etc.‌ ‌We‌ ‌refer‌ ‌to‌ ‌this‌ ‌season‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌“valley”.‌ “Valley’s”‌‌refer‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌seasons‌ ‌of‌ ‌loss,‌ ‌uncertainty,‌ ‌and‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌attack.‌ ‌The‌ ‌ones‌ ‌that‌ ‌make‌ ‌you‌ ‌freeze‌ ‌in‌ ‌place.‌ ‌When‌ ‌not‌ ‌so‌ ‌long‌ ‌ago‌ ‌you‌ ‌were‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌season‌ ‌of‌ achieving‌ ‌and‌ ‌success‌ ‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌sudden‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌place‌ ‌where‌ ‌you‌ ‌feel‌ ‌like‌ ‌you're‌ ‌the‌ enemy's‌ ‌target.‌ ‌The‌ ‌ones‌ ‌where‌ ‌you‌ ‌question‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌love‌ ‌and‌ ‌grace‌ ‌in‌ ‌your‌ ‌life‌ ‌and‌ ‌you‌ ‌slowly‌ ‌start‌ ‌to‌ ‌distance‌ ‌yourself‌ ‌from‌ ‌reading‌ ‌your‌ ‌Bible‌ ‌and‌ ‌praying‌ ‌because‌ ‌your‌ ‌prayers‌ ‌are‌ ‌‌appearing‌‌ ‌to‌ ‌go‌ ‌unanswered.‌ Personally,‌ ‌I‌ ‌have‌ ‌gone‌ ‌through‌ ‌a‌ ‌few‌ ‌valley’s‌ ‌myself.‌ ‌I’ll‌ ‌admit,‌ ‌my‌ ‌flesh‌ ‌prefers‌ ‌seasons‌ ‌of‌ ‌highs‌ ‌filled‌ ‌with‌ ‌abundance‌ ‌and‌ ‌blessings‌ ‌over‌ ‌valleys‌ ‌filled‌ ‌with‌ ‌hardships‌ ‌any‌ ‌day.‌ ‌But‌ ‌if‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌anything‌ ‌I’ve‌ ‌learned‌ ‌from‌ ‌going‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌valley’s‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌going‌ ‌through‌ ‌them‌ ‌is‌ ‌essential‌ ‌to‌ ‌every‌ ‌Christian’s‌ ‌walk.‌ ‌Ultimately,‌ ‌I’ve‌ ‌learned‌ ‌that‌ ‌if‌ ‌God‌ ‌can‌ ‌allow‌ ‌it,‌ ‌then‌ ‌I‌ ‌can‌ ‌accept‌ ‌it‌ ‌because‌ ‌he‌ ‌knows‌ ‌what‌ ‌is‌ ‌best‌ ‌for‌ ‌me.‌ In‌ ‌the‌ ‌Bible‌ ‌we‌ ‌see‌ ‌countless‌ ‌people‌ ‌go‌ ‌through‌ ‌valleys.‌ ‌Abraham‌ ‌was‌ ‌promised‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌nation‌ ‌with‌ ‌many‌ ‌descendants‌ ‌but‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌long‌ ‌time‌ ‌after‌ ‌this‌ ‌promise,‌ ‌he‌ ‌remained‌ ‌childless.‌ ‌Jeremiah‌ ‌often‌ ‌felt‌ ‌ignored‌ ‌and‌ ‌threatened.‌ ‌&‌ ‌the‌ ‌prime‌ ‌example‌ ‌of‌ ‌“valleys”‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌one‌ ‌and‌ ‌only‌ ‌Job‌ ‌who‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌learn‌ ‌so‌ ‌much‌ ‌from‌ ‌during‌ ‌our‌ ‌valley’s‌ ‌as‌ ‌he‌ ‌loses‌ ‌everything‌ ‌and‌ suffers‌ ‌(&‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌understand‌ ‌how‌ ‌often‌ ‌God‌ ‌allows‌ ‌it‌ ‌because‌ ‌like‌ ‌I‌ ‌said,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌an‌ ‌essential‌ ‌season).‌ We‌ ‌see‌ ‌various‌ ‌instances‌ ‌where‌ ‌characters‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Bible‌ ‌face‌ ‌“valleys”.‌ ‌The‌ ‌positive‌ ‌thing‌ about‌ ‌facing‌ ‌the‌ ‌“valleys”‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌our‌ ‌faith‌ ‌grows‌ ‌stronger‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌trust‌ ‌God‌. This‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌season‌ ‌where‌ ‌our‌ ‌character‌ ‌gets‌ ‌molded.‌ ‌Like‌ ‌a‌ ‌diamond‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌rough,‌ ‌we‌ ‌become‌ ‌polished.‌ ‌The‌ ‌process‌ ‌might‌ ‌not‌ ‌look‌ ‌pretty,‌ ‌but‌ ‌the‌ ‌finished‌ ‌product‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ most‌ ‌rewarding.‌ ‌ In‌ ‌fact,‌ ‌when‌ ‌I‌ ‌finish‌ ‌crossing‌ ‌the‌ ‌valley‌ ‌I‌ ‌almost‌ ‌feel‌ ‌guilty‌ ‌for‌ ‌doubting‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌power‌ ‌when‌ ‌I‌ ‌see‌ ‌him‌ ‌make‌ ‌the‌ ‌unthinkable‌ ‌possible.‌ ‌It‌ ‌is‌ ‌100%‌ ‌normal‌ ‌to‌ ‌feel‌ ‌fear‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌face‌ ‌the‌ ‌unknown‌ ‌-‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌only‌ ‌human.‌ ‌Our‌ ‌fear is‌ ‌not‌ ‌something‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌rejected.‌ ‌It‌ ‌is‌ ‌something‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌‌worked‌ ‌through‌.‌

We all have different ways of reacting to “valleys”. Some people seek God and His word the most during this season. But as soon as God takes them to the season of highs, they almost forget that they need God, and they disappear because they don't need him anymore. For others, the “valley” is the time when they stop reading the word, praying, and seeking God out of pure frustration of not knowing whether God is hearing them or not because things don't seem to be getting any better and their life plans are destroyed.

Through my experience, I have learned that the only way to get peace in the valleys is in his presence - just quiet, just trusting him and putting it in his hands.

I know that for many of us, this year has not been at all what we expected. For me, this year has felt like valley after valley after valley after, you guessed it, valley. Yet, despite the obstacles, I can’t tell you how blessed I feel because I know how amazing God is. I wish I could share all of what God has done for me this year alone.

But, If‌ ‌you're‌ ‌currently‌ ‌going‌ ‌through‌ ‌a‌ ‌valley‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌own‌ ‌or‌ ‌you’ve‌ come‌ ‌to‌ ‌read‌ ‌this‌ ‌far‌ ‌later‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌future‌ ‌as‌ ‌you‌ ‌go‌ ‌through‌ ‌one‌ ‌yourself,‌ ‌here‌ ‌are‌ ‌some‌ ‌things‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌mind:‌

1. God‌ ‌is‌ ‌listening‌ ‌to‌ ‌you‌ ‌and‌ ‌you‌ ‌aren’t‌ ‌alone.‌ ‌He‌ ‌hears‌ ‌you,‌ ‌be‌ ‌patient.‌ 2. God‌ ‌has‌ ‌power‌ ‌over‌ ‌every‌ ‌storm.‌ ‌You‌ ‌might‌ ‌not‌ ‌be‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌change‌ ‌your‌ situation,‌ ‌but‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌choose‌ ‌to‌ ‌trust‌ ‌God‌ ‌right‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌middle‌ ‌of‌ ‌it.‌ 3. Take‌ ‌a‌ ‌moment‌ ‌to‌ ‌think‌ ‌about‌ ‌how‌ ‌fortunate‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌little‌ ‌things‌ ‌one‌ ‌tends‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌for‌ ‌granted‌ ‌-‌ ‌having‌ ‌a‌ ‌roof‌ ‌over‌ ‌your‌ ‌head,‌ ‌a‌ ‌supportive‌ ‌family,‌ ‌the food‌ ‌at‌ ‌your‌ ‌table,‌ ‌etc.‌ 4. Fixing ‌your‌ ‌eyes‌ ‌on‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌leads‌ ‌to‌ ‌peace.‌ ‌Are‌ ‌you‌ ‌looking‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌size‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌storm?‌ ‌Or‌ ‌turning‌ ‌towards‌ ‌the‌ ‌One‌ ‌who‌ ‌can‌ ‌calm‌ ‌it?‌ ‌It's‌ ‌only‌ ‌by‌ ‌focusing‌ ‌on‌ ‌God,‌ ‌who‌ ‌knows‌ ‌every‌ ‌outcome,‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌navigate‌ ‌any‌ ‌situation‌ ‌with‌ ‌His‌ ‌wisdom‌ ‌and‌ ‌his‌ ‌peace.‌ 5. Your‌ ‌job‌ ‌is‌ ‌today.‌ ‌God's‌ ‌job‌ ‌is‌ ‌tomorrow.‌ ‌Take‌ ‌care‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌actions‌ ‌‌you‌ ‌‌can‌ ‌actively‌ ‌take‌ ‌now.‌ ‌Pray,‌ ‌read‌ ‌your‌ ‌Bible,‌ ‌worship.‌ ‌He‌ ‌is‌ ‌currently‌ ‌tilling‌ ‌the‌ ‌ground‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌season‌ ‌as‌ you‌ ‌get‌ ‌ready‌ ‌to‌ ‌accept‌ ‌your‌ ‌biggest‌ ‌blessing.‌ If‌ ‌you‌ ‌choose‌ ‌to‌ ‌look‌ ‌to‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌above‌ ‌everything‌ ‌else,‌ ‌you‌ ‌will‌ ‌begin‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌storms‌ ‌you‌ ‌face‌ ‌are‌ ‌not‌ ‌nearly‌ ‌as‌ ‌powerful‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌Savior‌ ‌choosing‌ ‌to‌ ‌walk‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌storm‌ alongside‌ ‌you.‌ Suffering‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌catalyst‌ ‌that‌ ‌forces‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌move‌ ‌in‌ ‌one‌ ‌direction‌ ‌or‌ ‌another.‌ ‌No‌ ‌one‌ ‌comes‌ ‌through‌ ‌suffering‌ ‌unchanged.‌ ‌Rejoice‌ ‌in‌ ‌your‌ ‌sufferings,‌ ‌knowing‌ ‌God‌ ‌is‌ ‌using‌ ‌it‌ ‌to‌ ‌produce‌ ‌in‌ ‌you‌ ‌what‌ ‌you‌ ‌could‌ ‌not‌ ‌produce‌ ‌in‌ ‌yourself.‌ Suffering‌ ‌softens‌ ‌our‌ ‌rough‌ ‌edges,‌ ‌it‌ ‌makes‌ ‌us‌ ‌less‌ ‌judgmental‌ ‌and‌ ‌helps‌ ‌us‌ ‌value‌ ‌people‌ ‌over‌ ‌things.‌ ‌It‌ ‌forces‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌focus‌ ‌on‌ ‌what’s‌ ‌important‌ ‌in‌ ‌life.‌ ‌God‌ ‌is‌ ‌using‌ ‌this‌ ‌season‌ ‌to‌ ‌show‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌stop‌ ‌expecting‌ ‌a‌ ‌testimony‌ ‌without‌ ‌the‌ ‌test.‌

After‌ ‌the‌ ‌valley,‌ ‌is‌ ‌when‌ ‌you‌ ‌come‌ ‌out‌ ‌stronger‌ ‌than‌ ‌before.‌ ‌Full‌ ‌of‌ ‌purpose,‌ ‌wisdom,‌ ‌full‌ ‌of‌ ‌lessons.‌ ‌Sometimes,‌ ‌we‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌skip‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌part‌ ‌where‌ ‌it‌ ‌“gets‌ ‌better”‌ ‌but‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ remember‌ ‌God‌ ‌has‌ ‌perfect‌ ‌timing.‌ ‌Never‌ ‌early,‌ ‌never‌ ‌late.‌ ‌It‌ ‌takes‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌patience‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌whole‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌faith...But‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌worth‌ ‌the‌ ‌wait.‌ Verse‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Post:‌ "Consider‌ ‌it‌ ‌pure‌ ‌joy,‌ ‌my‌ ‌brothers‌ ‌and‌ ‌sisters,[‌a‌]‌ ‌whenever‌ ‌you‌ ‌face‌ ‌trials‌ ‌of‌ ‌many‌ ‌kinds‌ ‌because‌ ‌you‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌testing‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌faith‌ ‌produces‌ ‌perseverance.‌ ‌Let‌ ‌perseverance‌ ‌finish‌ ‌its‌ ‌work‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌mature‌ ‌and‌ ‌complete,‌ ‌not‌ ‌lacking‌ ‌anything.‌" James 1:2-4