3.29.2010

The Ebbs and Flows in the Walk of Faith

I've been thinking about my faith lately. Looking back over the last 6 years I've noticed that there are a lot of ups and downs in my walk with the Lord. There were times when I was on the top of the mountain - conquering all - and joyfully giving the glory to God. Then there were the seasons when I was trudging through the valley - discouraged by life - crawling my way back to hope. I guess that's just part of life here on earth. We're not there yet. We haven't made it to heaven where there are no tears. We're still struggling through the day to day grind.

I remember my first year as a Christian. I was on cloud nine. I felt like nothing could get me down - I was a child of the King afterall! I have saved all the emails that John and I exchanged while he was at VMI and I was still in school at ODU. We dated for 3 months before I came to faith and the change in those emails astonishes me. Suddenly they were filled with joyful exclamations of how beautiful the day was, or a new verse I had discovered that was just amazing to me, or a new worship song I learned and had been humming all day. John's emails read very much the same way. We both felt this supernatural joy over that first year.

I'll never forget a phone call with him, though. He had been sharing all this with a buddy of his at VMI. Andy had been walking with the Lord for a long time. He told John that he was so happy about our new faith, and he knew how awesome it was to us. But, he wanted to tell John that it wouldn't always feel this way. He told him that right now we're on top of the mountain, but there will come a day when we'll be in the valley and God is just as much in the valley as on top of the mountain. I remember feeling like Andy was crazy when I heard that. I thought - nothing will alter this feeling of abundant joy! I truly thought that now that I was a Christian I would always feel so good ... every.single.day. I have new respect for Andy ... he was right.

Maybe God protected me my first year. Maybe He put a hedge up and didn't allow Satan near me. Maybe He wanted to just let me enjoy HIM purely for a little bit - to give me time to get to know Him. After that first year the hardships came. John and I got married 15 months after my conversion. We had to trust God like never before. John only had a part time job - we had no home, no insurance, no substantial income... and we were getting married in 3 weeks. But the Lord had spoken to John that he would get the full time job at VMI and we sensed a need to stand firm in that. People thought we were crazy. We had no backup plan - we just stood on faith. We signed a lease on an apartment we couldn't afford without full time work. 3 days later John was offered the full time position. God is good - but boy did I spend a lot of time in tears over that stretch of faith! A year later as I lay in the hospital trying to process that my child had died in my belly, I knew in a moment that my life and faith was forever changed. I was in the valley like I'd never been before. This was a long season of despair, discouragement and doubt. Yet, the crazy thing is - I felt God the most then. I was aware of His presence almost constantly. It was just different. I didn't feel the happiness I did before, but I still felt my Savior.

This is how life has been. Up and down. I still have seasons where I'm just not sure where God is. I know in my mind and heart that He's always with me, but I just can't feel Him sometimes. I only feel a disconnect that I don't understand. But, that's what faith is. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 If we are in the valley, and cannot feel or see God to save our lives, but we still know that He's with us... that's the definition of faith.

21 comments:

Pilar said...

This post really touched me. Sure I don't like to be in the valley, but you are right, it is then a lot of times that we feel God the strongest.

May you have a blessed day

3 Blessings said...

Beautiful post Lauren. I believe that is what faith is all about, having the hope while you are in the valley.
Blessings,
Amy

Kristin said...

This is so, so true Lauren!! I have been a believer my whole life, but when I asked the Lord to show me who He was about a year ago, my whole life changed. I was just like you, on top of the world. I was getting to know the Lord in a way I never had before. But, then the enemy started to attack and I could recognize it as such. There are ups and downs definitely, but just like you, I trust Him and know with faith that He is always there, always working out the plan for my life in His perfect way. I know this because I can look back and see how He has been there and done that for me my entire life!! I wish that everyone could know the kind of love that can only come from Him!

Hope you have a great week!!!

Lara said...

I really struggle to remember that living a life of faith is not about how I feel. So often feelings get in the way of my relationship with God.

Franchesca Cox said...

When you described your first year as a Christian, it made me think back to when I first got saved. I got saved at 17 years old and it was SUCH a difference, I remember that joy you talked about and that feeling like nothing could go wrong, and that life would just be problem free. I think about that joy sometimes and boy, do I miss it! I think you're right, God is so good to give us that special time to get to know Him. Thanks for this post, it helped me.

xx

Amy said...

Amazing how God is placing "faith" on lots of our hearts right now!

Great post, and I know how the highs and lows go. It is hard to have faith during the hard times but the mountain tops are purely amazing!!!

Faith Imagined said...

This is some wonderful and honest writing! Thank God we can stand firm with what we KNOW even when it doesn't link up with what we FEEL!

I love following your life journey. I will be totally rejoicing when you find have your lil guy with you!

Critty said...

I love this.

I am learning there is an ebb and flow to life...our faith... it's unpredictable of course but as you look back it is so beautiful.

I love journeying with you.

<3

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

such a beautiful post! i think all of our lives are full of ups and downs but praise the Lord for strengthening our faith through them all! you have a beautiful testimony that is bringing much glory to Him!

Jenn said...

Of all the time I have been reading your blog...I am not sure I have ever left a comment. But I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this honesty and openness. I feel like I have been in a valley forever these days. I know God is there. I know HIS plans are great and perfect. The reminder that this is just part of life and that we all feel that way has just brightened my day. Thank you and God Bless!

Darcie said...

What a beautiful post Loren! Isn't it the most wonderful thing to realize that God is with us in EVERY experience? The valley experiences always remind me of a hymn we sing that says, "We thank thee Lord for weary days." Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to be truly able to say from the heart that we thank God for those weary days. Something I need more of in my life for sure. Thanks for your post today!

Kimmie said...

Hmm, you got me thinking. God has been very good to me, I haven't had too many lows really. The low times (like the years of secondary infertility that ate at me) were filled with His Presence. As I submitted all of me to Him, he removed the locust (fears, my wanting a baby *my way* and brought me to surrender to His will)...which opened the door to all my adopted children (soon 7).

I would love more highs, but am happy to just follow Him.

thank you Lauren...(hug)

Kimmie
mama to 8
one homemade and 6 3/4 adopted

Carol Conway-Fleisher said...

what a beautiful post. Thank for the reminder that even in the valley He is there.

He & Me + 3 said...

I believe that that is why God wants us to come as a child...no strings attached just come and believe because that is what we are supposed to do. Kids ask questions but are satisfied with answers. They just believe. I love that. I want to have that child like faith. He wants me to have it too. To believe even when I don't see or feel Him in my life.
Excellent post.

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

What a real post, Lauren. I love it. So very true - I experienced much the same thing. I remember thinking that maybe I had "disappointed" God or let Him down somehow until a loving friend stepped in and said He doesn't work that way. It's so true that we often feel Him more in the valleys.

It IS an ebb and flow - a very apropos title!

SnoWhite {Finding Joy in My Kitchen} said...

Thanks for sharing this -- your heart is beautiful.

Alicia said...

I love how you share your heart, Lauren! You writing just flows!!

And yes, I don't like being in the valley, but it does make me realize how big our God is, and how He we will work out the situation for good.

Joyeful said...

So beautifully honest, Lauren. Your faith is such a testimony to us all. Sometimes our valleys can feel like deserts. I know mine have at times. A verse that really pulled me through a dry time in my life--spiritually and emotionally-- was Hosea 2: 14-16

"Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

"In that day," declares the LORD,
"you will call me 'my husband';
you will no longer call me 'my master. '

Wylie @ Shout A Joyful Noise! said...

Amen. This is honest, beautiful and true! Blessings to you!
Wylie

Jim and April said...

I believe we will all have ups and downs and seasons until we are made fully complete in Him when we go to heaven! :0) Thanks for sharing this!

Katie said...

I hate that it is this way. God is always the same but some how we change at times? Thank God He loves us no matter what. I hate being in the pit as I call it. Nothing seems right or makes sense. Your just mad, I have cried out to God at times, sure enought a year or so later I reflect that time and I have grown stronger. I guess if I did not have these times maybe I would grow pridful. God uses all things for Good. Thanks for your honesty.