My sisters in Christ, I’m very excited about this week’s topic for The Loft. I look forward to reading what each of you have to say about your walk with the Lord.
I know in my own life, I get easily distracted. I struggle with consistency and self-discipline so often.
And I used to believe that the sweetest times with the Lord were on the mountaintops, when I chose to abide closely in Him. I spent large chunks of time reading the Word and praying. But lately I’m learning there is a sweetness to be found in the valleys as well because what I’m hearing from Him in the valleys would have been impossible to hear on the mountaintops.
The last few difficult years have challenged my view of God like never before. His grace is much greater, His love much deeper than I ever could have imagined. He faithfully loves me even when I cannot love myself. Even when I loathe myself.
Perhaps it’s maturity at work in me or just life circumstances, but I find it easier to abide in Him, especially in the dark times, when I’m really honest with Him. I realize now that much of my “young” Christian life was spent trying to please a God who was already pleased with me. I held myself, and others, to high standards, and although I thought I understood grace, I think I was probably a little legalistic, maybe even self-righteous. I’m sure I still make that mistake sometimes even today, we all do at times. 🙂
And then came the valley of the shadow of death, or at least it felt like it, that filled these last couple of years. At times I didn’t even want to leave my bed. At times I begged the Lord to come quickly – everyday life felt like too much to bear. I questioned the Lord like never before. I wrestled with him like Jacob as one blow after another fell upon my life. I quit trying to act the part of perfect Christian and begged for understanding. I got real with Jesus.
It was (and still is in some sense) a most difficult struggle.
Yet my faith has been strengthened! Out of my honest conversations, out of my most desperate cries, came an understanding that I am perfectly loved, perfectly wanted, perfectly accepted. I knew a brand new Grace, and it blew my mind – still does!
Because when I was my ugliest self, He loved me still.
He loves me still.
He loves you, too, my sisters, even at your ugliest, your most unlovely, your most unworthy.
And when we come to Him honestly, then He can begin the real work of “creating a clean heart” within us. He gives us “grace-colored” glasses and teaches us that progress is what really matters, not perfection!
I’ve come out of that valley with a closer walk, not a perfect walk, but a closer one. Not because I do my devotions without fail, not because I am sweet to my family, not because I serve Him at church, not because of the words I type out here.
But because I know Him more deeply.
I trust Him more deeply.
You can trust Him, too, sisters. Whatever your valley may look like, He promises to carry you through.
…For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?” Heb.13:5-6
Also sharing this with Tell His Story.
The Loft is open, come on up!
Graphic by Kerry Messer
The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.
PLEASE NOTE: We want to foster community and transparent conversation with one another, just like we’d do if we were meeting in real life. So we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic and that you mention The Loft in your post. Thank you so much!
We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.
This Week’s Topic: “Intimacy with Jesus” (What does that look like for you? How do you abide in the vine? What barriers do you face or victories you’ve discovered in maintaining intimacy with Jesus? Let’s encourage each other!)
Get a running start on Next Week’s Topic:”Fall Recipes” (Please do share your favorite fall recipes so we can enjoy too!)
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