Closures and Detours

 

 

 

It’s funny. I had a completely different post scheduled to go out tomorrow. Maybe not completely different, but, with a different direction, a different outcome, even though the theme was the same. It had a beautiful shot of the mountains, and a message that was uplifting and gratitude centered; maybe I’ll share it sometime! In either case, it clearly wasn’t what it was supposed to be after the events that followed my writing it. That image up top? It’s actually completely fitting.

It’s hard to know where to start sometimes, to figure out who knows what, and what needs to be shared, so now? Now I’m just writing what comes to mind.

In my last post, I wrote a lot about where we’ve found ourselves this year. That the (appealing!) offer to move out west wasn’t where we felt led and that the waiting continues; that is still true. Only lately, I’ve started to wonder if maybe we’re waiting wrong…if we’ve still been waiting “conditionally,” even if that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do. Isn’t life complicated sometimes?

Let me explain.

This year, we have had more “no’s” than “yes’s!” We’ve had health issues as a family and scares that we didn’t expect (see my last Facebook post. Many of you have and left amazing message, both private and public after I shared it! Thank you!). We’ve also been blessed through each of them, we’ve had both literal and figurative “mountain tops,” but, often, they’ve been mixed in with the hard things. With confusion, with fear, with pain and with other things we wouldn’t have exactly planned for ourselves.

Through it all, we have known and still know very clearly that God is a part of this process. That nothing happens that is out of his sight, out of his plan or out of his control. With that knowledge comes a great deal of comfort and acknowledgement of blessings! So, we’ve continued to give it to him. Or, so we thought.

Today, out of the blue, after picking up items purchased during a recent shopping spree, the transmission on our car blew. I’m talking stop you in the middle of the road, what do I do now, all my kids are in the car and I’m on a conference call, blew. My first reaction was frustration (as it would be for most people!).

As I sat there slightly panicked (I was turning in the middle of an intersection), a song that John and I had just been discussing on the way back from NC this weekend, started playing – “Control” by Tenth Avenue North. In case you’re not familiar, a few of the lyrics include:

Here I am
All my intentions
All my obsessions
I want to lay them all down
In Your hands
Only Your love is vital
Though I’m not entitled
Still You call me Your child

I’ve had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You’re behind and before me
Oh, help me believe

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go
God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control

(I know I use song lyrics a lot; but, I have found that they often speak to me more than other things.)

Anyway. As the song played, two guys in a pick up happened to show up in the middle of nowhere intersection to push me off to the side. My parents, who happen to have a spare minivan that fits our family, showed up. We were able to call AAA and we’ll figure out the options later. It worked out perfectly, almost too perfectly.

Which got me thinking.

Have we been praying for closed doors in order to more clearly see the open ones? Yes. Have we been noticing the little things a little more lately, and staying grateful constantly? Absolutely. But…has there been a little more to it? Sure thing.

I think our prayers and desires have still been filled with our own hopes and our own desires for what we consider success. Things that might not align with the hearts we’re supposed to have, or, the plans that we’ve claimed to trust in that are bigger than our own. They’re still ours, even if we don’t want to all them that.

I’m not saying our own hopes and dreams are wrong, or that we aren’t supposed to find success. Maybe we are, who knows! But, when our prayers are twinged with those things, and filled with “buts,” are we really praying for hearts that are bigger than our own could ever be? I don’t think so. Are we really giving God room to work? Or still trusting in our own means of finding success? You be the judge, but, I think through all of it, I’m starting to see where I stand.

So what’s next? I have no clue. But, I am determined to truly give over control, trust and hopes until they better align with the plan that was put in place long before I was ever a thought to anyone in this world, because only then can true blessings become clear…the fact that we don’t have to have it together or have a plan can be freeing…it doesn’t need to be terrifying.

As I was rushing home in the borrowed minivan to beat my oldest’s bus to the bus stop, I came to this sign…on the road that had been open and fine a few hours before that. It came full circle and I laughed/cried/a-little-bit-of-every-emotioned. This is the road we prayed for, and while the road closed signs seem awfully frequent right now, there’s always been a detour. And sometimes, I think that’s where the blessings happen. What a beautiful picture (the hypothetical one…not the one I snapped on my phone before the car behind me started honking!).

What detours have you experienced lately? What blessings have you found through them?

 

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Grateful for My People

Have you ever sat back and just reviewed the things happening in your life and around you, and thought, “Wow. This is wild.”

I have had a lot of those moments lately. The most recent one (and not the first time it’s happened) was this morning.

Let me back up. I’m not a people person. To those who know me well, this is a surprise. But, as every personality test in the history of personality tests has indicated, along with what I know to be true, I’m an introvert. Once I get to know someone my walls come down and I feel comfortable enough to just be. But, until then, I feel awkward and never quite know what to say. I worry that the words I did say came across wrong or I find something else to dwell on. In this, I know I’m far from alone, though I’m pretty sure not enough people talk about it.

ANYWAY.

God has used this trait to show me his goodness, especially lately. Through our family’s moves and various experiences – from corporate careers to freelance lifestyles to wherever I’m at right now that’s a little bit of both, some really amazing people have come into our lives. The best part? Many of them have stuck.

I’m surrounded by people who give me the opportunity to experience things in life that I never would before. To laugh with. To tell stories with. To run to when I am not even sure how to sort out whatever situation I’ve found myself in. To work on big projects with that are so every exciting. To grieve with over life situations that don’t make sense on this side of heaven. To get counsel that I can trust. To live with. To experience with. To grow.

We aren’t meant to be alone.

As much as I’d tell you that I’d rather spend my time with my face in a book sitting on a porch swing or hiding in a remote coffee shop, I’m not sure how true that is any more. Do I need alone time to recharge? Absolutely. Would I rather hang out with a few good friends than run out to a big event the next town over or to a (cringe) “networking” event? Absolutely.

But, this morning, as I reflected, I got to thinking that the people that I’ve (not so randomly) crossed paths with have shown me that there’s more joy when we’re in it together. I feel filled to the brim with blessings right now, and most of those focus on the people I get to do life with. Those who I am stuck sending desperate “I MISS YOU when can we get together” texts to, who understand when life happens and I completely forget that we’re double booked, to those I embark on new business opportunities with and those who can drop in from somewhere within walking distance to catch up over tea. Even those who have become long-distance friends whose Facebook photos make me smile and reminisce.

I’m blessed beyond measure. I’m bettered by those who have been placed in my path and I’m grateful for each of you. Carry on 🙂

When Blessings Become Focus-Central

If you’ve spent any time around me, AT ALL, you know I’m a planner.

When I say that…it’s more than a word. I remember being so excited for syllabus week during each college semester. I’d come home with my new semester plans for each class, hand write them in my big giant planner and schedule library time to start serious research sessions for each paper (I was a writing major) that was due over the following weeks. At home? I can’t do clutter…my mind can’t keep up. I spend a solid chunk of every day making sure there are no piles of “stuff,” that the crumbs are off the floor – there are a LOT of crumbs! ha – and that family events, from meals to events and vacations are organized and written in the calendar. Planning is an integral piece of who I am, organization and order often rank top and center.

In recent years, especially since kids, this has started to change. I think our God has a sense of humor, and that it manifests in the fact that I have four kids fairly close in age. Sometimes, chaos reigns supreme and we’re forced to just go with the flow. I’ve learned to accept it, even seeing it as a welcome break from my standard plan-controlled life.

But in other areas, I’m not so easy going.

Over the past year, Johns and my professional lives have been busy, to say the least. From his international travels, crazy work hours and pursuit of an MBA, it’s been interesting, to say the least. But then, things started changing for me as well. A regular opportunity became more of a full time opportunity. I’ve begun work on my own book. I’m taking part in another writing project that I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of. I have a little passion project that I get to be a part of.

Through all of it, I’ve tried to keep part of my focus on anticipating my kids’ needs, spending one-on-one time with them, building it up and ensuring they get to chase the dreams that they’re starting to develop on their own – which is amazing to watch, by the way!

When life feels “crazy,” it’s easy for me to snap. I think a lot of you can probably relate. While it’s my goal to stay level headed and to keep a sense of order in our home, when I feel like things are “out of control,” I start to spin. I become short tempered. I feel like the water is moving in and it’s a downward spiral from there.

I think, though, that through this season in life, that there’s a specific lesson that I’m supposed to be learning. Once I caught wind of it, things started to change in big ways.

It’s no secret that ever since our move to NC, and the following move back to PA, complete with added children and many unknowns, God has been working in our lives. He’s been working on opening our eyes and making sure that we are open to following his plan…even if it feels “crazy” on this end.

See…these opportunities that I’ve been presented with, they all center on something I LOVE to do, something God has blessed me with: writing…creating. Even better, these opportunities are with good people, people I truly love spending time with, learning from, creating with and growing with. I find that instead of feeling bogged down or tired after a trip for work or a day filled with more work hours than planning, I feel invigorated, I feel proud and I feel ready to keep pushing through.

Maybe this is standard for some of you. But, for me, as a planner who likes anticipating what’s around the corner and maintaining a sense of “peace,” this is new to me.

I think for me, it has a lot to do with this ongoing initiative to look for and appreciate blessings. I think we, as a culture, are trained from a young age to find stress in what surrounds us. We inherently look for and focus on the negative, not because we’re negative people, but because that’s what we are trained to do. After busy workdays on television shows, most of the characters meet at a bar, or pop open a beer with the need to put there feet up and unwind themselves from a day that has wound them tighter than they think they should go.

Are there days, situations and ongoing life events, losses, illnesses and dire situations that warrant this kind of unwinding? Absolutely; I want to be clear that I’m in NO way undercutting this. I don’t think, however, that that’s supposed to be our norm, or that those are the situations that tend to consume most of our thoughts. I don’t think we’re supposed to live in that space.

I think that, when we can focus on what and who we’re designed to be, and the gifts, abilities and other positives that stem from that, and when we purposefully remain open to whatever lies ahead and thankful for all of it, that those “stresses” can instead be re-framed as blessings, things to be grateful for.

I don’t know what that looks like for you. For me, it means that when the whirlwind inside seems to start picking up speed, I stop, I shut my eyes and I  remind myself that I’m surrounded by things I’m passionate about: my family, work that I get to love, beauty outside, the ability to remain active and more. I also remind myself that it’s okay to break the bigger picture down into smaller chunks, and to work slowly toward end goals, that I don’t need to have it all wrapped up tomorrow.

This life is a journey. One filled with highs, lows and lots of in-betweens. But, I think that when we focus on the stress, on the harder parts, that they become our focus. I think we’re made for more than that.

 

Putting Down Roots

(Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/jwhitmanphotography/)

Our family has been blessed by adventure over the past few years. Many of you have followed our journey. But, as quick snapshot…

John and I got married in college. Living between John’s roommates and my still great friend/roommate was an adventure of it’s own (ha!). But, from there, we came home and started exploring next steps. We found an apartment in Hershey…but it was short lived.

The opportunity to purchase a home presented itself! We bought our first home, knowing it wasn’t our forever home. But, we poured our time into it, made it our own and loved it! As we started exploring what was next, we were given the opportunity to move to Asheville, NC. Our house sold quickly and we moved in with my parents over the holidays (with two children in tow) until we left Pennsylvania and headed south!

We knew Asheville wouldn’t be our forever home, but we thought it would be home for longer than it was. We developed amazing friendships, traveled back to PA for as many holidays as we could, doubled our family and tried to enjoy one day at a time.

Almost two years in, the calls we’d waited on came and we learned we’d head back to PA. So we did. We lived in a hotel for three months (this time with four kids and a dog in tow) and waited until our home in NC sold, to move into our new home in PA.

Now…here we are.

It feels strange in some ways. There’s nothing “new” right beyond the horizon. We have no more plans for children (though we are hoping to begin a foster journey in the near future). Our kids have started a school that we see them in for the long term.

We’ve begun to talk about our house as though it might be where we actually stay. We talk about projects, we invested in landscaping, and we talk about what we might want to do (gasp) a few years in the future.

We’ve settled into a church that is starting to feel “home.” Our kids are developing friendships and we’re meeting their families. We are making a targeted effort to get to know our neighbors (which is a little different in the Northeast!).

We are planning for our first holiday season in our own home in five years…no travel required!

This weekend, we took another big step – at least it was for me. I started to literally put down roots. I planted bulbs, laid grass seed, and purchased bushes and trees that have started to go into the ground.

Given our past 9 years, it feels strange to think ahead a few years – let alone to spring – as though we may still be in the same place without any life-changing moves or changes in store. It feels hopeful.

Yet…we remain open. I never want my “roots” to prevent us from following where we are lead. We feel strongly that this life is not meant to be a product of our plans…but instead, that we are supposed to be part of a bigger plan…our lives are not our own.

Even so…roots feel strangely comforting for this stage in life! For that, I will be grateful. One moment at a time! Here’s to the journey!

The Place You Chose for Me…

I love when I can share a little bit about what’s going on in our lives. Sometimes, that level of honesty is terrifying. But, lately, I’ve heard from a lot of you that you can relate. So, I’m going to keep the trend moving.

Moving from NC to PA has been a challenge, but not the challenge that we expected.

See…we never expected Asheville to feel like home. We didn’t expect the longing we’d feel every day for that amazing little haven that we had in the mountains. We didn’t expect to miss the life we built and the independence that was a part of it.

All we saw was the small picture, the homecoming to PA.

And a homecoming it has certainly been. But, again, not the way we thought it’d be. You see, we changed in Asheville; we grew together and (literally) grew our family. We changed the way we looked at the world and at this life.

Here’s the thing; our friends and family back in PA grew too. Whether it was having more kids, changing life views or other – really exciting – things, it’s not quite the place we left. And that’s a GOOD thing. But, it’s a hard thing when you’re trying to make the pieces fit together.

Throughout it all, a song that has meant a lot to us is by Sidewalk Prophets, called “To Live is Christ.”

Here are a few of the lyrics:

If I rise, let me rise on you
Not on all of my successes, my esteem or my pursuits
If I lose, let me lose my life
Cause if I belong to Jesus, the flesh is crucified

If I grow, let me grow in You
Wilt the seeds of wanting more
Rippin’ pride out by the roots
And if I’m still, let me hear You speak
Not the tone of my transgressions,
But the song of the Redeemed

My great desire is to be with You
But this is the place you chose for me
This is the place you chose for me
To lift my cross and give everything
This is the time you gave to me
This is the time you gave to me

Lots of lines from the song stand out to me. But, the one that really hits home is that this is the place he chose for me. This is the time he gave to me.

Think about it. There have been thousands of years of human history. Thousands of time periods to live in. A million places to live…and we are here. In fact, our decision to return was bathed in COUNTLESS hours of prayer. We know that this is where God sent us, just like we knew Asheville was where he sent us back in 2014. These decisions weren’t made lightly or on our own accord, they were grounded in prayer and a whole lot of time in scripture and deep discussion.

So…what do we do with it? Where do we go when our expectations or comfort levels don’t quite match what we thought they’d be?

For me, the answer to that question lies in looking up. In reminding myself that this world? It’s temporary. I have this place, I have this time and I have the blessings that God has poured out on me to make the most of them.

If I sit around questioning everything, or longing for a place that I wasn’t meant to be in forever, I’m wasting the “right now” and the “right here.” I’m throwing away the potential for a lot of great things. A little perspective change goes a long way.

We were blessed to get to travel back to Asheville for the first time since October, last week. It was amazing and that place will always have a little bit of my heart. But, instead of longing for it so greatly that I miss what could happen here, I’m going to keep it tucked in that little place, saving it for when I get to go back. How lucky are we to get to call lots of places home?

Where are you at today? Are you longing for something that “was” or something that “could be” and overlooking the now? Let’s do this life together, and let’s do it well!

Mission: Gratitude

What a ride 2017 has been. Thanks for your patience as I get myself together and get this blog that has seen various shapes and formats over time back on track!

Today, I had the chance to spend the day at Hersheypark with good friends of ours – guys, I’m talking do life together even when it’s gritty friends, the best!

Anyway, we got to talking. I’m not sure if it was before or after our kids (by our kids, I mean mine) lost their minds over the fact that they couldn’t have a soft pretzel because it wasn’t made yet – it was morning. I didn’t say no to the pretzel, it was just a physical impossibility at the minute. And thus it began.

We were talking about how hard it is to accept a lack of gratitude in our kids…that it is absolutely maddening to try to provide extras for them and to have it feel like it’s not enough. About how it’s a frustrating lesson to teach and how the lack of the emotion seems to rear its ugly little head time and time again.

So then…I started thinking.

Are we – as adults – any different? How often do we get frustrated when life doesn’t go the way we think it should, according to our plan? How often are we so focused on what we want, and might not have, that we forget about what we do have?

I’m not coming down on anyone here, not any harder than myself at least. This past year has been a struggle. We’ve tried hard to change and adapt to our lives here, but it has been hard. We get frustrated by long hours at work. We long for the life we left behind. We complain over a lack of sleep. We struggle to make it to dinner, let alone bed times some nights! I’m going to stop there because I think giving more than a few examples goes in EXACTLY the direction I’m attempting to avoid.

Recently, I’ve been trying to change the trend in my own life. When I feel the need to grumble, I replace it with three things to be grateful for: kids to do laundry for. A home that meets the needs of our family. Friends and family that we can do life with every single day. The opportunity to travel and see this amazing world. When I struggle to come up with 3 things, I push myself for 5.

You see, I think a lack of gratitude has serious implications for the rest of our lives. It stops us from living out the calling placed on us, it stops us from sharing our lives with those around us because we’re so stuck in our own circle of selfishness that it’s physically impossible to reach out. It prevents us from noticing blessings that literally surround us at every given moment. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that MANY of our limitations and situations are self-imposed, partially from a lack of doing our best to be grateful.

Once again – I’m not here to condemn anyone. I’m the first to say I have some serious work to do. But, I can tell you, that even when things are hard (which they are…friends…this life is hard sometimes), I’m going to do my best to try to look a little harder at the blessings that abound everywhere. When I feel bogged down by work, by parenting frustrations or by any other thing that gives me a reason to complain, I’m going to slow down. I’m going to breathe in a little deeper and take an intentional look at the sunset, the little ones that give me reason to smile, the fact that I have a home to clean and food to eat and any other number of things I tend to take for granted…care to join?

Relying on Mountaintops

I wrote this piece awhile back, while we were in NC for a publication. Plans changed a bit, so I thought I’d still share here!

 

Where does your faith come from? How do you feel close to the Lord?

These questions rocked my world, brought me to my knees and changed my life for the better not all that long ago. I’m willing to bet they could shape you as well. But first, let me explain.

I grew up in a Christian home. While my relationship with God has been hot and cold, I’ve never doubted him, his power or his might. I’ve always seen evidence of his existence everywhere.

You see, I’ve been to the mountaintops that are so commonly discussed in Christian circles. I was blessed to be a part of an amazing youth group. We had regular retreats and national conferences where I was afforded the chance to worship with thousands of other teens, to listen to amazing speakers and to feel a fire for God in my heart. I felt the same during mission trips to third world countries when I saw his power in action. There’s no denying that feeling, that life-breathing feeling.

It was the time between the mountaintops that became problematic for me. I’d come home and become complacent. I’d even doubt if my salvation was “real” or truly authentic. I failed to grow.

It showed.

My whole life, I’d planned on attending a Christian college in New York. I was accepted during my junior year of high school and never wavered in that decision until one week before the acceptance deadline during my senior year. I panicked, didn’t want to miss out on college “fun,” and didn’t want to lose my boyfriend.

I applied to a state school and accepted their admissions offer without a single visit. Still, I felt I was okay. I went to Campus Crusade weekly, worshipped, felt God’s presence, then, went drinking with my friends. No big deal, right?

During college a lot changed. I could go into thousands of details, but here are the cliff notes. John put his trust in the Lord. We got engaged. We became youth leaders. We got married. We graduated and we started real life. From there, we continued to attend the church I’d grown up in.

I always thought I’d feel closer to God when the “real world” started and the party-happy environment of college ended. But then, I didn’t. I still believed, but there was no forward motion. I’d go to church weekly, have wonderful “mini-mountaintop” worship experiences surrounded by pillars of the Christian faith. But then, nothing would change. I’d get so frustrated with God! “Why do I still feel shaky in this relationship?” “Why don’t you pull me closer?”

My husband, John, and I had two kids with even more news came. His company wanted to move us from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, away from everything we knew, away from the life we were building.

I was terrified. You see, our relationship had been slipping away. Remember how I felt far from God? I felt the same toward my husband. A few months before our move, I distinctly remember sitting in our pastor’s office and explaining that I was indifferent about what happened to our marriage…right in front of John. I just didn’t care anymore.

With the move, I’d be moving away from the familiar life I lived with someone I wasn’t even sure I’d be spending my whole life with. It was terrifying. Still, we prayed. We talked. We felt it was best and that God’s hand was in it, so, we moved forward.

Lots of details were arranged and during one of our first visits, we went to a church plant that fit our denomination. The people were so welcoming and it somehow felt right.

But, it couldn’t be…there were around 20 members. No worship. Just a sermon, serious prayer and a focus on missional living. I remember wondering how I could be “happy” there. See the pattern…how it was all about me?

Then, God’s truth hit me square on the heart.

On what was my faith based? How did I feel close to God? Was it only during the mountaintop moments where the environment led to an emotional feeling of faith? Was my relationship grounded in him or in my surroundings?

Most of all…did he know?

Yes, he did, and Psalm 44:21 made it real, “Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?”

He knew. I knew. Everything changed.

After that visit, we pressed forward with the move. At our lowest point of homesickness after our arrival in North Carolina, we learned we were expecting twins (I know God has a sense of humor, but that is a story of its own!). We were forced to rely on God and on one-another. We continued to attend our bare-bones church plant where we were challenged in our walks with Christ like never before.

During all of this, God stripped away our reliance on other things, on the music, on the surrounding worshippers, on the passionate sermons and the traditional atmosphere. Along with this complete breaking down of what I thought I “needed,” God revealed many scriptural truths that changed my life. If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, if you wonder if your faith is “authentic,” or if you’re relying on mountaintops, they might change yours as well.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts,” (Psalm 139:23).

Let me tell you, I wrestled with God during this turmoil I felt inside. But, I submitted. I asked him to search my thoughts and examine my motivations.

It became clear that I was living from Sunday to Sunday, from mountaintop to mountaintop. My faith was shallow, based on others, not a fire burning in my heart. I was falling short…not God.

Let me step away for a second to make something clear: my home church is a fantastic place filled with lovers of Jesus. It’s where I plan to attend if we move back. It was my own shortcomings that were holding me back and the scriptures made this clear to me.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

If this doesn’t demonstrate the importance of scripture, I don’t know what does. Scripture teaches us. It molds us. It completes us.

I thought I was fine. I listened to scripture each week. I’d participated in Bible quizzing and can literally quote the book of James to you from start to finish. I thought that “knowing” it was enough.

Then, John and I were challenged to read the Bible daily for a year. We decided to jump in. Wow. At first, it was a chore. But then, it became real. I looked forward to it. I learned to grow from tangible expressions of God’s love and power. I grew to need it in my life. I started to feel complete in my relationship with God and grew nearer to him.

Spending time in the word is essential for closeness with the Lord. It removes insecurities, it molds us from the inside out. I saw it happen. I felt it happen.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).

Once I started to feel the closeness I’d been longing for, I needed to ask God, every single day, for a clean heart.

I needed to pray that he would remove bitterness and barriers that had grown between myself and him, myself and my husband, and myself and others.

I needed to ask every day. And you know what? He did it. I asked him to change me, not to change for me. At the same time, my husband was growing in his own faith and behind changed and renewed. We were closer than we’d ever been before. God was working wonders right before our eyes because we started to simply rely on him.

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this,” (Psalm 37:5)
“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them, he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him,” (Psalm 37:39-40).

Here it is. Truth straight from the Word.

Our faith, our reliance on God, doesn’t change because of him. He is steadfast. His biblical promises never waiver. He waits for us and works on our behalf whether we “feel” close to him or not. When we feel as though something is wrong, we need to search our own hearts, our actions and our motivations.

Then, we need to commit what we find, our shortcomings, our failures, our crises of faith, to the one who is waiting with arms wide open.

These truths opened my eyes. I was relying on external people, situations and feelings, rather than my heavenly father. I was relying on mountaintops that could not sustain me through valleys because they were inactive, they were passive; they weren’t alive, living in me.

Are you relying on mountaintops? Do you wonder why God feels far away? Are you frustrated?

God has changed my life. My reliance and my dependence are fully rooted in him. When this focus changes, life changes. My husband and I are now on the same track. We’re growing, we’re moving forward, we’re closer than we’ve ever been…ever. I see a passion in him that I’ve never seen before and he sees that same passion in me. Stripping away everything that we saw as essential made us rely solely on our father in heaven, and that is the greatest gift that we could have received.

He’s waiting for you too. Are you ready to step away from the mountain and into the everyday? I urge you to give it a try. A life that you cannot even fathom is right around the corner.