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!
He teaches us confidence that only comes from fully understanding our Daughter-of-the-King status.
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.
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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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Kathie Whitestone Thompson says
Thank you Jen. I can relate. It’s been a long time coming and I still have lapses but HE NEVER DOES. He keeps on loving me even when I don’t love me. I get it, Girl! Blessings!
Nope, He never does! Glad you get it, Kathie. Thank you for stopping by here this evening.
Leah Adams (@PointMinistries) says
Jen, what a post! You have tasted and seen that He is good…at every stage in your life. Praise Him! What a testimony you have offered here! It is powerful and compelling. Thank you for sharing it. Peace!!
Leah, He’s been so faithful to us, even when I was afraid. Whenever we have a tough day here, I have to look back and remember His faithfulness. Thank you for stopping by here with encouraging words!
I love the line: ‘What I’m hearing from Him in the valleys would have been impossible to hear on the mountaintops.’ This is so true and I am deeply moved by your words and the honesty of your posts. Thank you so much for sharing – I can relate to this so well. God bless you 🙂
I’m happy to hear that you can relate, Ruth. 🙂 The valleys sure do make us squirm, don’t they? But even they contain rewards!
Hi – visiting from the Loft, Thank you for sharing! I couldnt agree more – in 2012 I got really sick and spent months in bed and had two ops. My life was upside down and I developed all sorts of anxieties to the trauma. It was a deep valley but I walked out of it changed, today I am healthy and happy and absolutely deeper in my walk with God. It also developed a sense of strength in me, things just changed. It is so true! may you be super blessed… Aliyah (setapartwarrior.blogspot.com)
Thank you for visiting here, Aliyah! Yes, much of my recent valley was due to physical illness, as well. When I finally realize I can do literally nothing on my own, then I am forced to draw near to Him.
Karrilee Aggett says
Oh Amen! We are neighbors today over at Jennifer’s place for #TellHisStory and I am so glad that I stopped by! Oh to know Him deeply, and to know that we are deeply known! Love this!
Thank you for stopping by, Karrilee! “To know that we are deeply known” – yes, I love this.
I am also a fan of the love and experience of God in the valley. I really loved this thought here: “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.” Beautifully worded!
Thank you, Ren. I greatly enjoyed your contribution this past week, as well!
Kimberly Nyborg says
That was so good Jen! I love what you said about “trying to please a God who is already pleased with you! That is just sweet. Thank you for sharing your good words!
The Father is re-teaching me so many things I thought I already understood. The fact that He is already pleased with me is one of them. I’m learning that Grace cannot be contained!
Dave 'n' Becky Kersey says
I always enjoy your posts Jen but especially like this one. When we realize God is truly trustworthy, that is growth that leads to more growth. Hebrews 13:5 is one of my very favorite verses. 🙂 and more than that, a proven promise. Thanks for the reminder!
Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Mom. 🙂 I enjoyed Heb. 13:5 and verse 6, too. We can say that “with confidence.”
I really needed this. Thank you.
I’m so thankful to hear that it spoke to you. One of the greatest side benefits of growing through this season is the opportunity to encourage others with what I’m learning. There’s a verse about that somewhere in 1st or 2nd Corinithians…