Over the past 16+ years of married life, we have lived in 10 houses, 3 states, and both Casey and my "jobs" (aka that ministry life) have changed time and time again. Sometimes that change was brought about by a move and a change in our physical location. Other times that change was brought about in our roles and responsibilities where we were already planted. But no matter the reason one thing is for sure - the past 16 years have been full of a LOT of change!
Change is a funny thing. Sometimes we are longing for it and other times we are digging in our heels and dreading it. Sometimes we are ready for it and other times it catches us completely off guard. There have been seasons in our life and ministry when I knew the transition was coming and my heart and mind were prepared...well, as prepared as you can be for any big change, move, or transition when you are a control freak trying desperately to live a life surrendered to the Lord's leading. (I'm pretty sure I just heard a resounding AMEN from all of my Type A peeps out there!) But then there were the changes and transitions that seemed to come out of nowhere! Those moments when life is good and then all of a sudden you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you, you fall flat on your back, and you are left lying there, staring at the sky, trying to muddle through the "why God's?" and the "hows?" that are clouding your thoughts and even your prayers. These are the moments that seem almost impossible to navigate. These are the moments that I am calling "when our mountain top meets the valley."
I'm sure we have all had those moments. Those times of transition and change that are not planned and are 100% unexpected. I think we can all agree that the question does not lie in "do they exist?" but rather in how do we survive them!! Now, let me start with this...I'm no expert. I'm not a theologian. I don't have my master's degree or my doctorate. I'm just a mom, a wife, and a daughter of the King that has had her fair share of walking with the Lord through the moments when my mountain top met the valley. So I invite you to join me as we journey together through the God lessons I have learned from the good, the bad, and the ugly (but mostly good ;) ) that is this life lead by the Lord.
LESSON #1 - "The Lord was not in the noise and confusion, but in the the still, small voice."
(1 Kings 19:11&12)
Have you ever been in a season of life when everything seems to be spinning out of control? From your physical health to your family health and everything in between, EVERYTHING is out of balance and you feel like a top, spinning on a table, about to topple over the edge! That was me several years ago. Life was 100% controlling me and I had far surpassed the place of "losing control" and had simply given up! I had felt like transition was coming for some time but there was no sign of transition around me - or at least not in the ways I was "expecting" to see it. But then God...
What we thought was going to be a transition in the roles were we serving in turned into God opening a new door of opportunity that we excitedly stepped through. The transtion was hard and fast but God opens the door and gives the green light it's GO TIME! And so, with our minds still whirling a bit from all the changes that transpired, we celebrated the Lord's goodness as we walked confidently into this new season, knowing that the Lord had faithfully provided and had clearly been working behind the scenes in ways we never saw coming! We were 100% on a mountain top with the Lord. But then, only a few short weeks into our mountain top celebrations, change came again and this one absolutely pulled the rug out from under us. The stability of this new season was gone. The expectations of our roles changed literally over night. And the dreams of grandure we were excitedly sharing with one another no longer held their weight in words. Our mountain top had 100% met the valley and we were reeling. But it was in this season of chaos and confusion that the Lord walked us through the valley in a way only He can.
The day all of the things came crashing down I wrote in my journal "My brain truly cannot even begin to wrap around the why's and how's of all that has transpired. Maybe I'll never be able to. But one thing I do know is that for some reason, the Lord brought us here..." And then the Lord lead me to His Word where I read 1 Kings 19:11&12 which state, "..the Lord was not in the noise and confusions, but in the still small voice." Those words resonated deeply in my spirit. I encourage you to go back and read them again and allow it to sink deep into your heart and spirit...God is not in the confusion. He is not in the worrying or anxious thoughts. He's not in your anxiety or your fears. Nope. He is in the quiet places. The places of rest in HIM.
It was in this time when chaos and confusion were LOUD AND CLEAR in my heart and mind that I had a decision to make. Would I chose to get caught up in the chaos or would I allow myself to be wrapped up in the calm only He can bring? I don't know about you but settled deep in His presence is 100% where I want to be and that's where I chose to sit in this season of unexpected storms. And it was in this season of sitting in His presence that this go go go, do all the things, lead all the groups, host all the parties girl learned the peace that had been waiting for me all along, sitting calmly and quietly right there in His presence.
Now here we are, several years later, and who would have known that this ground shaking, earth shattering storm in our lives would pail in comparison to the storms that lay ahead. But I can't discount the reality that it was in this season of brokenness that the Lord taught me an incredible lesson in leaning into the quiet, trusting His plan for our lives, and learning to rest in Him, even amidst the noise, confusion, and chaos of life.
I closed that journey entry all of those years ago with this prayer and I'd like to close this post with it as well. Would you pray it with me?
"Lord, help me to not find comfort in answers, but in Your peace. Help me to not lean into the "rationalizing" of my thoughts but into the peace that only comes from the presence of my King. Lord, show me your peace. Show me your grace. Show me your face. Amen."