Mountain High or Valley Low I sing out and remind my soul.
"Oh, this is bitter work for Him and us -- bitter for us to go, but equally bitter for Him to cause us pain; yet it must be done. It would not be conducive to our true welfare to stay always in one happy and comfortable lot. He, therefore, puts us forth. The fold is deserted, that the sheep may wander over the bracing mountain slope. The laborers must be thrust out into the harvest, else the golden grain would spoil.
Take heart! it could not be better to stay when He determines otherwise; and if the loving hand of our Lord puts us forth, it must be well. On, in His name, to green pastures and still waters and mountain heights! He goeth before thee. Whatever awaits us is encountered first by Him. Faith's eye can always discern His majestic presence in front; and when that cannot be seen, it is dangerous to move forward. Bind this comfort to your heart, that the Savior has tried for Himself all the experiences through which He asks you to pass; and He would not ask you to pass through them unless He was sure that they were not too difficult for your feet, or too trying for your strength.
This is the Blessed Life -- not anxious to see far in front, nor careful about the next step, not eager to choose the path, nor weighted with the heavy responsibilities of the future, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time."
Tears filled my eyes as I sat in the booth in the Brickhaus cafe reading this on January 14th, 2017. For a month I avoided speaking to the Lord regarding this topic because I was afraid that he might actually be calling me to TX. That morning, however, I woke up with such a readiness in my spirit to hear very clearly from Him and to have an intentional conversation about this. Struggling, fighting everything in me to hold back the tears from falling, I knew what this meant. I knew that my season in Wisconsin was coming to an end and that He was going to start preparing my heart for this transition. It's interesting reading that last part of the quote, "This is the blessed life..." I think so many people assume that the blessed life means daisies and roses and everything in between. Or... could that be the world's standard of what the blessed life is? Even more- does the world have a standard that the Christian life is supposed to look something like this?
Fast forward to now... It's March of 2018 and I am JUST understanding what this season means. Talk about preparation; I'm learning so much. I'm failing so much. I'm in NEED of Him so much. I'm realizing more and more as every day passes, how real Psalm 139 is becoming in my heart.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
I lay here listening to "Oh, God" by Citizens & Saints as I write this. Call me emotional or whatever you want to call it, but this my friends, THIS is my jam right now. I never agreed that the blessed life was an easy life. In this specific season, I am learning that the blessed life means dying to my self-life. It means conforming to His character life. It means standing on His word as my standard, life. We all know that feelings and emotions can get in the way... but more than anything... I'm learning that the blessed life is a renewed mind kind of life. This season may not be daisies and roses, but I know that there is purpose and beauty in the struggle. Because I'm just gonna keep it real people! Sometimes, I just don't feel it! You know what I mean? And, I'm sure I can speak for many people reading this, but when you find yourself in that place, it is SO IMPORTANT you do not stay there. It gets hard, and it gets harder, and it gets lonely. Next thing you know, you have the perfect recipe for isolation that the enemy just LOVES to trap us in.
There's always hope in Jesus. The blessed life is that resolve. I can wake up in the assurance... KNOWING that His mercies are new for me every morning. Yesterday doesn't tell me who I am- Today I am His. Today I am loved. Today I am righteous and I am found and I am called by name.
I want to encourage those of you who might find themselves in this place or season right now. I have always been drawn to music and the Lord speaks to me a lot through it. So before I wrap this up, I want to share a couple songs I have been soaking in.
And if that wasn't enough for you- here is the COOLEST song written from Psalm 139 by Rivers & Robots.
I knew that I wanted to write about this desert season that I am in currently, well, because writing has always been a form of outlet for me. I just wasn't really sure how to express that to you guys because honestly- I struggled with the lie that what I have to say and what I am going through is NOTHING compared to those who are dealing with real pain and real heartache like death, heart break, and illness. But it is so the Father to lovingly remind me that what I am going through is REAL and He cares that much about it and there are people that feel just the same and are waiting for that encouragement. I have never experienced depression in my life. I know there are people that fight it on a daily basis, but If I could relate to an ounce of that deep, dark heaviness, I would say that this would be it. And that's just it guys- there's no cause or reason FOR IT. I will say this though-this isn't for the faint of heart. This is the real grit and grind. The persevering... and the ones that DESIRE to live in His fullness. When you wake up one day and ask yourself, "how did I get here?" Remember to hold on to whatever is left. Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 “...I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." God can do anything with "whatever is left." He will do whatever He has to do with that and turn it to overflowing. I promise there is joy even in the dark desert seasons that we face. We have a responsibility to the truth we have heard. Now, on the practical side of things, we have to own up to our own responsibility, humble ourselves, and grab a hold of the word of God. That is NUMBER ONE. The very next thing is to grab a hold of a sister or brother in Christ and just pour your heart out. Be transparent, be vulnerable, be RAW with what you're going through. We were never meant to carry this by ourselves. This is what the body of Christ was designed for. We are all running the race together.
Gone are the days where we need milk. Be encouraged and EAT of His word. Take a hold of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and every morning when you rise, speak out loud in your verbal voice, "The REALITY and Kingdom of Heaven are in me, and I am loved by my Creator who goes before me and fights for me.He will never leave me or forsake me. He is FOR ME."