Sometimes you go to church & the word preached is exactly what you needed to hear on that day. Exactly. And usually when that happens, it is a time when you were desperately needing to hear it. That's kind of how this morning was for me.
I was feeling yucky & not wanting to be anywhere other than curled up in my bed in my pj's, but I also wanted to be praising my Savior in church. (And it didn't hurt that I had a text awaiting me that my bestie Becca is engaged! So of course i had to see her and the ring! HA!) All that to say, I'm so glad I was there today. Our pastor spoke on "The Valley Gate". It was about going through different valley situations, and can i tell you? It ministered to me so much. I needed it, because I have been on the verge of a breakdown for several weeks now. Well, not on the verge. Thursday night, I broke. I laugh about it & say it was over pizza, but really I was taking all of my anger & frustration & fear & sadness & worry out on our local pizza place. I'm so glad my husband understood that it was so not about the pizza.
I am going through some stuff, y'all. It's not just one thing. It's a few things. And it's hard. Really, really hard. Sometimes unbearably hard.
The Bible says to rejoice when you are faced with trials, and of course that sounds ridiculous to us. Why would I rejoice? No, I'm going to be real & let everyone know that this SUCKS! And it does suck. I hate what I'm going through physically. I hate the amount of stress I am under at work. These feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed out, and even despised have certainly taken their toll. So no, there is no rejoicing going on here! But Pastor Terry reminded me that we are rejoicing because we are being refined. God uses these trials to mature us in our walk with God. And yes, of course that IS something to rejoice over.
I have said before that I am not where I used to be in God. That you're supposed to continue to mature as a Christian, but I have gotten a little bit complacent. Or a lot. I have hated that, and have struggled to get back to where I used to be. I've asked for it, and here it is. A refining.
The Valley Gate is-
- for your maturing
-to refine you
-where you determine your destiny
-where your weaknesses are revealed
That last one really got me. He went on to add, "Who you are when you're under pressure is who you really are!" I made an uh-oh sound when he said that and our friends, Jason & Aimie, laughed. I said to them, "It isn't pretty!" It was a funny moment, but all I could think about was Thursday night. Oh, if you were a fly on the wall at my house! I am under a lot of stress. Pressure. And who i am while it's happening is not nice! And if this valley is revealing my weaknesses?!
2 Corinthians 1:7-10 "We do not want you to be uninformed about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again."
This is the part where I realized I am not going to be able to blog this without crying. That verse means something to me now. I am going through these things to learn that I must rely NOT ON MYSELF, but on GOD. And that He will deliver me again, just as He has before.
I'm going to blog about the three valleys Pastor Terry talked about, but I decided to do it in three parts (The Valley of Elah, The Valley of the Shadow of Death & The Valley of Tears). This post is already too long, and blog readers have short attention spans, I've learned. But I'll leave you with a few little nuggets of truth.
2 Timothy 3:12 "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
John 16:33 "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome this world."
Romans 5:3 "We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance."
The higher the mountaintop, the deeper the valley.
"Whenever I see somebody in a trial, I know they just got in line for a promotion!" -Pastor Terry
Psalm 30:5 "For his anger only lasts a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning!"
*photos from we heart it
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