God Is With You In The Valley
I thank God everyday for what I have because honestly, I never thought this would be my reality.
But to be totally upfront, at times it almost just feels like it’s too good to be true.
Do you ever feel like that when things seem to be going smoothly or good for once?
Like, you know that something is about to jump out trying to knock you down again. It’s almost like we start intuitively expecting something bad to happen, and the fear and the feelings that comes along with it just start knocking the joy right out of you.
All because things just seem “too good.”
Without even knowing it, in the middle of the anticipation of what’s to come there becomes a deep rooted belief that we aren’t deserving of anything good, or that it isn’t even possible.
At Least this is what I have discovered about myself through years of therapy.
Maybe for you these feelings resonate because you’ve tried to figure it all out on your own, or
maybe it’s because you have waited so long for something you’ve prayed for to happen that you’ve just lost all hope.
If you haven’t felt these ways before, I applaud you. But if you have, have you thought that this is quite possibly just a redirection, a distraction, or just deception coming straight from the enemy?
Last year at a women’s event, I spoke on stage for the first time to share my testimony. I honestly didn’t even want to do it, but I knew it was something I needed to do to overcome this fear of speaking.
Give me something to write, and I’m good, I can write all day. But speaking…. Oh boy.
Nervous was an understatement, but by the glory of God, I did it.
I was terrified to get up there, but it was crazy how it became such a Holy Spirit moment that I didn’t even feel like I was in my own body.
I knew after that it was truly something I needed to do in order to step into who God was calling me to be.
With the encouragement of my amazing friends, I shared about some of the trauma I had endured as a little girl, the abuse, and a short outline of my journey to where I am now- or where I was last year.
Through sharing my story on the blog I created 5 years ago and from speaking here last year, I have realized more and more just how powerful our testimonies really can be for someone else who may feel alone.
And it truly lit a fire in my soul to do all that I can to help who I can.
This last year I became a Board certified Mental Health Coach and am now able to help others even more than I thought possible. And it’s been one of my best Yes’s to God.
These things all sound positive and great, and they are.
But I don’t want to skip out on telling you the real reason why I wrote this.
Walking with God is the most important, fulfilling, most beautiful, hope-giving, inspiring, encouraging, loveliest thing you will experience while walking through life here on earth.
And yet sometimes it feels like it can be the hardest thing too.
We as christians don’t talk too often about the attacks of the enemy that we face when we are about to do something that glorifies God and points other people to heaven.
The enemy knows that when our lives are in a valley or in a season of waiting that we become vulnerable, isolated, and away from God.
And he’s dang good at deceiving us at any moment that he can.
1 John 3:8 tells us “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
and in Matthew 16:23 it says “we know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
The honest truth that we need to be aware of is that we live in a world that is run by the devil and we are called by God to be set apart from it.
James 4:7 says “and no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of the light.”
He is waiting in every corner of your life trying to take control of your thoughts, your feelings, your actions, your influences, anything he can that will take your eyes off of God.
The challenge and the struggle to keep your eyes focused on the right things is so real.
And this never ending struggle makes me think of the armor of God and how many times it is mentioned throughout scripture.
It’s clear that the battles we face are not by accident, they are unavoidable.
The enemy is invisible and he’s going to involve us in a war with him whether we are engaged or not. And your partaking will make the biggest difference.
What I have learned especially this last year is that when you allow and make room for God to take control of every aspect of your being, that he will fight for you.
And it’s often in these dark valley moments of waiting where we begin to lose focus on where we are going.
The trick is to stay consistent in your relationship with him or the enemy will easily disguise himself as a friend and pull up a seat right at your table.
He will make you feel like he is the friend you need and that he offers the friendship that you think you want. He will tell you all of the things he knows that will sway your mind away from things above.
And he’s good at making you feel like it’s the right thing to do.
Ever since I decided to go to therapy to work on my own personal struggles, I started actively pursuing my relationship with God more than I ever had before.
I began praying all the time, talking to him all the time, and listening to nothing but worship music. Church on Saturdays eventually became a regular habit for me and on the weeks I didn’t go, I had such a harder time getting through my week.
I was also really sick during this time and dealing with a medical mystery so my mental well being was extremely vulnerable…
But my faith became my main priority for the first time ever.
During this time we were living in a house I absolutely despised.
I despised this house not only because it was the house located in my stomping grounds as a child, but it’s just a place I never wanted to live in ever again.
However, with housing being crazy like it has been, it was our only option during that time.
So we did our best to remain grateful for having a roof over our heads, but I remember just feeling SO desperate for more.
Our window cleaning business was still considered a baby so business still wasn’t very consistent, but this blog that I had started to talk about a lot of these hard things took off on Pinterest and I started getting a million views per month.
So, I had it in my heart to turn my website into another way to support my family and I hired a business coach.
At the time I felt like God was really putting on my heart to help other people with the exact same struggles I was dealing with during that time, and I had a vision for creating something online that could help people all over the world.
Looking back I know that my intentions for wanting more were pure, I just know now that i wasn’t giving it 100% to God.
I don’t think I knew how to.
I was so used to taking control over everything in my life, and at that point that that was just another area I didn’t feel comfortable giving completely to him.
To be honest, it was something I had started to become really passionate about; especially because I truly felt called to do it.
The truth is that I wasn’t fully walking that journey with him, I wasn’t praying for the people that I wanted to help like I should have.
I worried about every other detail but what God had to say and what God wanted to do in the middle of it.
Now call me crazy if you want to… but In the midst of creating this course, I had a God encounter.
He came to me in my dream as a bright light shining on me from inside what felt like a glass steeple, I was laying in a bath and I could hear him speaking affirming words to me. It was a voice of comfort and authority. He said that I was safe and that I was in the palm of his hands.
There was a woman who walked towards me with a big fancy wrap on her head and dangly earrings holding a large urn full of water. And then she began pouring that water over me. And then I woke up.
Ironically, that very same week I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer after a huge battle trying to get answers. The diagnosis came out of nowhere and I was not expecting it at all. And it brought me to my knees.
I still felt like I had such a passion to help others but pursuing anything more online during that time just didn’t feel right.
I felt like I was right in the middle of a valley.
So I put that dream on hold.
I pressed on and kept going to church, volunteered when I could, always bringing my kids with me— and even without my husband.
My church had become my second home and I’m so thankful for the love and community it provided me during such a hard time.
Going against the grain of what all the doctors recommended, I decided to only remove the cancer and to keep the rest of my thyroid and the surrounding glands so I wouldn’t have to be on medication for the rest of my life.
Not even a year after having the surgery, we finally moved into a home that felt like an answer to prayer and a dream come true.
All 3 of my kids got their own bedrooms, my husband finally got a garage, we have a back yard and a beautiful neighborhood to enjoy.
I mean, Things were going really well that year in a way I had not expected at all. Our business began to pick up, my body was healing, and then I felt an urgent readiness, like a call from the Lord to start doing something more again.
I was wondering and praying about what I wanted to do with my life —and God automatically gave me an answer to speak.
Well at the end of this same year in 2020, my dear friend asked me to be a part of building an amazing ministry with her and then shortly after that asked me to speak at the first weekend event.
Like, Ok, I hear you God.
So even with so much doubt in my mind, I said yes.
It felt amazing and I felt so filled with the Holy Spirit. Everything felt so right. Things felt so still, so peaceful. His presence was so prevalent in my heart, in my mind, and in my life from that weekend.
And then the weekend was over.
We all went home, continued our lives and our plans we had for the rest of 2021. And slowly after that things in my life slowly began to fall apart. I felt stuck, waiting again for what was next.
I quit going to church. In fact, I had no passion for it anymore. I quit listening to Godly music. Didn’t reconnect with any of my friends. I became isolated.
I didn’t even realize it, but the enemy was sitting right next to me at my table. And i had totally welcomed him in.
Then deception really crept in. The enemy’s most used tool And it worked..
I began to believe that I didn’t belong with the amazing group of women that I call my true friends. That I didn’t need church, or to serve. I believed that I couldn’t help others, and that I wasn’t meant to.
I started listening to a voice in my head that had an awful lot to say about my future and about my purpose. And even though I knew deep down that this voice didn’t sound like it was coming from God, I still listened to it.
The deception was so real that I started to believe we all have the power of God within us, that we just had to find a way to “access” it. But I basically believed that we are all one with the earth.
So opposite of what God’s will is and says.
It didn’t take long until i fell into the trap of tarot cards and seeking my answers from everything else other than God. I started to believe so many lies.
I didn’t realize what i was doing and how dark it all really was until the enemy himself visited me in a dream. Again call me crazy if you want to, but this was so real to me.
He came to me as a big black hole of darkness down my hallway, sucking me out of my very own God given comfort and safety. I felt his evil presence in my home and I could sense that I was close to what felt like hell.
I felt fully exposed, vulnerable and like I had no control.
And as I screamed in my sleep and pulled my comforter over me like it was being ripped away from me, my husband shook me awake saying “babe, it sounded like something was about to snatch your soul from your body, what was even happening?”
I was in tears and my exact words were, that’s exactly what it felt like.
It was terrifying, but i feel like it had to happen for me to see what i was doing.
I didn’t realize I even had an open door for the enemy to reach me. But the more I made sense of where I was at in my relationship with God, it made sense to me.
I was in the pit of a really dark valley.
But I realized that day just how much I needed God and how quickly I felt away from him.
I realized how quickly I booted him out of the seat that the enemy had stolen from him.
And more than anything I realized how much I needed his direction in every single moment—-because I never wanted to experience that again.
I was starting to idolize the things of this world and was losing focus on eternity and things above, and I really had no idea that I was falling away from God.
I became convinced that this was a different way to access him.
However, Now I am seeing the truth and the truth is that these false idols are dishonoring our holy king.
And it has set a fresh fire in me.
I had been led so far away from God that I was becoming blind and I couldn’t see the same. I lost my intuition and my connection that I had always felt with him. And it so easily happened.
And in that moment of realization, God spoke so clearly to me that I needed to start reading his word consistently. But not just to read it, but to study it.
I had attended many church sermons, but I never consistently read my Bible, not once in my lifetime. And I knew deep down that I would never fully understand God until I started to read His word.
I was in the middle of Bible study at church and a friend was using the bible study app on her phone which struck a conversation about study plans and she shared a new chronological study called The Bible Recap that she had just started herself and had been loving.
She also shared how helpful the podcast was that went along with it, which recaps the verses you read for that day.
This was totally up my alley so I went home and started it that night.
I’m now over 100 days in my bible reading plan now and have read the first 11 books of the bible and am now working on the 12th. God has been teaching and revealing so much to me, things I never understood before.
Like why He calls us according to His plan and purpose and not our own.
I understand now more than ever why we face so much turmoil on this earth.
Its easy to see and understand the old and new covenants which I never did before and how the new covenant was created for us to establish a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
I see and understand that we are children of the free woman, not the slave woman. That their are two ways we can choose to live our life and one way leads to death and slavery and the other leads to eternal life.
I see why a community is so helpful and beneficial to our lives and our walk with God.
My good friend who had been following me on social media remembered when i had removed the “passionate about Jesus” part from my bio and she could tell something was off in my spirit. So she faithfully interceded in my life through prayer and that totally could have been what changed things for me.
I needed that redirection, and she knew it. This is what I love so much about God centered friendships.
One more thing I want to mention before I wrap this up: God’s repetition should always catch our attention.
He uses the word fear over 100 times throughout the Bible, being one of the most used words in the Bible.
Do you think that God is trying to say something to us? Maybe that we will, without a doubt, face fear more than we will anything else?
The good news is when you accept Him into your heart and into every corner of your life He automatically stands on the defense for you defeating the enemy every second, of every day.
And sometimes all he calls us to do is to sit back and wait for him to do what it is that he needs to do inside of us and around us, AND with all of our armor put on.
To not try and figure it out on our own but to wait on him and to trust that he’ll make it clear the next move we need to make. He really is such a good shepherd.
There will be seasons that feel like a waiting period where you can’t see anything coming from the seed he planted in your heart, but you have to trust Him that there is work He is doing underneath the surface that we cannot see.
Things that are growing our roots stronger and sturdier so that when we do start to bloom into what he created us to be, we are stronger and we aren’t able to be shaken by the enemy.
We have to trust that our shepherd gives us what we need for every moment of everyday.
To trust what he is doing.
We will fail him over and over and over again. Yet he is still waiting on us, and still calling us to his table to meet him again. To kick off our shoes, to pull in a chair, and to give everything over to him so that we can truly taste and see what he sees in us.
He doesn’t even see our sin. He sees us as washed clean under the new covenant that was made possible through his son Jesus Christ.
After all… It makes sense that the enemy would be after you.
He wants what you have because he knows he’ll never have it. He failed once and got kicked out of heaven. We fail daily and God still chases after us, and he’s never going to stop.
He’ll always be there, just like a good father is.
As his children, we are called to be set apart from the world. so that means that we won’t feel like we are a part of it.
The foundation of our lives is built upon Jesus Christ’s resurrection. He is holy and we are not. He is set apart and he calls us to be set apart with him.
But the truth remains no matter how anyone makes you feel or what anyone else says:
You are loved.
You are chosen.
And You are HIS.
No matter the situation you are in, God hears you and sees you and he’s always going to be actively pursuing you. He receives every single part of you, not just a little bit and not just the parts that are good. All of you.
He’ll always be standing on the other side of the door, the question is, are you going to open the door for him to walk in, to sit down with you and to show you where your future lies in heaven with Him?
Keep trusting in him because even in the waiting, there is so much he is wanting to teach you. Even in the valley, he’s still there.
He is calling you to walk alongside him. To learn about him and his heart. To truly know him in a way you never have before.
I think it’s also important to remember that we cannot cleanse ourselves. We can’t heal ourselves. We have nothing to offer God.
Yet he draws near to us in the places that are the most unclean.