Climbing Mountains

Trials

My grandfather has a saying: Life is made of mountains and valleys. When you climb your mountains, you will feel on top of the world. You will have worked hard to achieve something. You will marvel at your blessings and feel unstoppable. But eventually, you will have to come down from the mountain to climb an even bigger one. And to do that, most of the time you will encounter a valley. Sometimes, life will give you a small valley that you won’t even have to try very hard to climb out of, but then other times your valley will be so low it’ll seem as though you’ll never reach the top of another mountain ever again. The secret is not that life is made up of highs and lows, but it’s how long you decide to stay in a valley AND most importantly, knowing Who is walking with you to guide you no matter where you are on your journey.

The Bible clearly says that we will go through trials in life. It even gives advice on how to face trials. For example, James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Saying no matter what we go through in life, count it as joy because it was a test of faith and it will draw you nearer to Jesus as you come out of the trial.

The Bible also gives reassurance that our trials are simply a reflection of being human in a world of sin and to not fear because Jesus has conquered sin for us saying; John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I share those verses with you, because sometimes in the midst of a valley or a low point in life, it can be extremely difficult to find joy. It can be difficult to be steadfast in faith when you cannot see light at the end of the tunnel. But through sharing my own experience with you, I can assure you that God will ALWAYS deliver on his promises and reward you when you stay faithful to Him.

The Valley: What the World Said About Me

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble fitting in with my peers and finding acceptance. I have been told I’m too loud, too talkative, too blunt, too “much”. I’ve been described with adjectives that I never understood why my name and said adjective would even be in the same sentence, because it was so far from what I knew in my heart as the truth. It’s hard when the world sees you as something that you don’t believe you are, and it’s even harder when how it sees you isn’t accepting to others, when we, as humans, crave connection. 

This is not to say that I’ve never had any friends. As a matter of fact, I have a friend who is very near and dear to my heart who I met my very first day of kindergarten. We’ve been best friends for 25 years now, and have experienced every stage of life together thus far. She has seen me at best and worst, and loved me through it all. I treasure our friendship, truly.

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

I am more so talking about my experience with the world, especially my peers, as a whole. In the bigger picture, I have never fit in with the world. A particular time that stands out to me in my life as a really low valley, can be taken all the way back to my junior year of high school at cheerleading camp.

Every year at camp, the different classes (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) chose a theme for dress up day to match according to class. I had asked the six other girls in the junior class, three of them whom I believed to be my best friends at the time, countless times what we were going to do for dress up day. They told me that we were just going to do school spirit theme and dress up in school colors. At camp, the night before dress up day, I found out that I had been deliberately left out of their plan to dress as 70s theme hippies for the next day. The realization of this meant that on a squad of 20 girls, I was going to be the only one who didn’t match a class.

The experience was painful, and I can honestly say that when I was fifteen I did not find one ounce of joy in that situation. Instead my head filled with negative self talk and doubt. Why did they feel the need to do this to me? What is so wrong with me that I deserved this treatment not only from my fellow juniors, but especially from the three girls who I trusted and thought were my best friends? It broke my heart. It broke my spirit.

That wasn’t the only time my soul was crushed. The lies that had formed from the trauma of being told over and over again by the world that it would never accept me, were now written on my heart. I accepted it as part of who I was and that it would never go away, so I might as well embrace it. It was always going to be hard for me to fit in; there would be no seat for me at a table unless I made my own, and even then I believed I would only need two seats. I believed I would struggle my whole life to find people who liked the me I was trying so hard to love, the me exactly the way God made me.

Finding My Seat at the Table

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Thankfully, God never leaves us where he finds us and He works harder for us than we can ever work for ourselves. No one wants to see us filled with joy more than our Father. Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 37:3-4

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” 

In college, God sent me three more best girl friends, who just like my friend from kindergarten, practice the values that the Bible says a good friend should possess; loving, respectful, positive influence, forgiving, reliable, willing to make sacrifices, loyal, inspirational, exercise self-control, vigilant, supportive, nonjudgmental, trustworthy, cooperative, and exercise wisdom.

And then again, in my adult life, God saw fit to bless me again, but this time in a much bigger way! In January 2020, my husband, my toddler son, and myself moved to Texas for my husband’s job. We moved as an act of faith. I had no sense of community here in our new town, not knowing anyone prior to moving, and the pandemic definitely hadn’t helped matters. Of course I had my four best friends back in my home state, but texting and calling is not the same as getting to meet with them in person. I needed friends here in our new town. I needed face-to-face connection. But how Lord? How was this going to be accomplished when I don’t fit in well? I prayed to God, “Lord. I need friendship. You know you made me an extrovert. You know I love people. Please help me.”

My son turned four in May 2021, so in March 2021, I started looking for private, Christian schools to enroll him in for fall. Not only did God make it very easy for me to know which school to enroll him, but his school is also a church. We went to service for the first time on Easter Sunday. During service I heard The Lord speak to me very clearly saying, “Hello daughter. It’s been awhile. It’s good to have you back home. Rededicate your life to me. Follow me. Give me your heart completely. Walk with me. Trust me.” And with tears streaming down my face, I agreed. 

Sidebar: While I grew up in church, and I was baptized at 12, I strayed from my Christian path at 14. I was so focused on fitting in and gaining acceptance from the world, I lost my way as a child of God. I always believed, but there was no true relationship. I wasn’t reading the Bible, wasn’t always attending church. I wasn’t talking to Him consistently, instead mainly just using Him as a crutch in times of need. And while I have always believed with my whole heart Jesus was my Lord and Savior, I didn’t live my life in a walk with Him completely. That all changed this year! I was baptized again in August. I have been all in committed to Jesus, and it has produced amazing fruit from my commitment to Him. (Which is a whole other blog entirely!)

I just had to shed some light on the situation, because my table was found through joining a connect group in my new church. You see, after that Easter service, after shifting my perspective solely to Jesus and ways I could grow closer to Him, I received a text from the nursery director asking if I would be interested in attending MOTTS (Moms of Tiny Tots). Every Thursday a group of Godly women, who are all mothers, meet to worship, do Bible study, or other studies that bring them closer to Jesus while building community and friendship.

I happily (and eagerly if I’m being honest) agreed. Through being faithful, I have shown up every Thursday since my first invitation to come, and God showed up so big on answering my prayer for friendship here in Texas!! Not only did I feel welcome by each and every woman at MOTTS from day one of attending, which is something I have never felt before in my entire life, but I feel at home there too, even though I’m miles away from family and friends.I have made friendships and connections with everyone in the group and I’m overwhelmed by the blessing they are to me in my life. For the very first time, I have a seat at the table.

Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

The Mountain: Who God Says I Am

I turned 30 on September 25th. On September 23rd, I walked into MOTTS to a birthday party surprise. The girls had decorated the room with Kentucky (my home state) and Disney (a true love of mine) in celebration of my birthday. They had brought food and it was a full blown birthday party. This is a group of women who have only known me since April, but treat me like they’ve been my sisters my entire life. Again, overwhelmed by the favor of God!!!

During our time together, one of the members of our group had brought us all a word that God had spoken to her concerning all of us individually. We sat and listened to each other’s messages, marveling at how personal each message was and how every woman in the group received the message that God needed them to receive.

My message was the last to be read.

These were the words: God gave you a natural enthusiasm for life and gave you the drive to want to communicate that passion. The lie that you are loud or over talkative was a seed of doubt to silence you because God reveals himself through this avenue with you.

I cried. I cried, hard. The tears were a release of joy. Every trial, every valley, every moment of being cast out by the world, led me to that Thursday, where I climbed the biggest mountain of victory I’ve climbed so far in my life. I was free. I AM FREE. Finally free of the lie that I had held on to for so long. I had confirmation from the only one who I truly needed it from, God.

Because I took that step of faith on Easter, and because I had become so steadfast in my faith – attending church every Sunday, MOTTS every Thursday, becoming a member of the church, serving, reading my Bible, spending time talking to Jesus, praying, worshipping, putting my full focus on God – He brought me out on the other side to joy after years of the same trial. 

For the first time, I know who I truly am and who He called me to be. I received that message with the most open heart. Because it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of me. It never did!!

The Bible makes it very clear through multiple chapters in multiple ways:

John 15:19 “If you were of the world,  , the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

We are not of this world. We belong to Him. And when we align ourselves with Him and His word and we HAVE FAITH; mountains are climbed.

Verses

James 1:2-4 • John 16:33 • Proverbs 27:17 • Proverbs 17:17 • Psalm 34:18 • Psalm 28:7 • Psalm 37:3-4 • Jeremiah 29:11 • John 15:19 • Colossians 3:2 • Romans 12:2

Questions to Ponder

What lie has the world given you that you need to let go of? Do you care more about who you are in God’s perfect sight or the world? Are you willing to throw away the vision the world has for you so you can live in the vision that God has for your life? Can you lean on God to find the joy in every valley or trial life brings you? Do you have faith God will always be with you on your journey and use him as your guide so you can climb mountains? What are you not giving to God that he’s asking you to give to Him?

Written by: Alex Myers

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