Lying there in the darkest valley I recall ever being in, I searched my mind to uncover a previous time that I had felt this low. I replayed my past in the hopes that I could comfort myself in the knowing that the same God who pulled me out of those dark places would pull me out of this dark place.
I had been through some really hard times and everything always worked out, so I found some comfort in that.
But this time was different. This time felt really low. I had never experienced anything like this before in my life.
I didn’t want to doubt that God would bring me out and while a part of me believed that everything would be okay the other part of me was afraid of just how bad things would have to get before things would get better.
I didn’t want to keep walking down the dark path that I had conjured up in my mind as my future.
I tried to keep the faith, I prayed, I tried to stay hopeful, but the truth is I was doubtful and my faith was weak.
So like contestants on the American game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire I phoned a friend.
As a matter of fact I phoned a friend, my mother and an aunt. I was hurting and my eyes were filled with tears, I was emotionally in a dark place and I wanted some sense of comfort.
I explained to my loved ones that I couldn’t figure out how to pick myself up.
I felt like I must be doing something wrong.
It must be my fault that nothing seems to be working out.
Surely, if I was a better person then things would be going better in my life.
Silently, I was replaying all of my sins that I could think of since the time of my birth and I figured that is why nothing was working out.
The times I was mean to my sister, the times I wasn’t a perfect mother, the times when I lazy, the times I was selfish, the times I was arrogant, the times when I disrespected my vessel, I even wondered if it was because I had went five miles over the speed limit.
I thought maybe it was all of those things.
Then I realized it was none of those things.
God’s mercies are new every day.
I sin daily but I purpose to do what is pleasing to God.
Yes, in my humanness I make mistakes, I give into the temptation of the flesh, I sin.
But it is not my heart’s desire to do so.
It is my desire to do right and to treat people right.
It is my desire to love God, to love me, to love and help others and to serve God.
I was under the misguided notion that if only I could become a better person than perhaps God would allow me to exit this lowly place.
Surely it was all my fault that I was repeatedly being delivered bad news.
If I was a good person then good things would come.
I had tried being thankful for the things I had and that worked for some time but the bad news just kept piling up.
And I tried finding the good side of my negative situations, but the bad news just kept coming.
I tried to stop doing things that I felt weren’t pleasing to God, sometimes I was able to break the negative habits, other times I failed miserably in my humanness and in the end I just felt worse about myself
I tried be positive and while that worked for a while I realized all I was positive about was that I was negative.
All I kept thinking was I need to change who I am and become a better person and then all of the bad things will stop happening. If I did more and I tried harder, if I maximized my time, studied scripture more, treated people kinder, treated me kinder, became and all around better person then I could move from this shadow land.
But my thoughts didn’t match my knowing.
I know that God looks at my heart and that He sees me loving Him and He is delights in that.
I know that God doesn’t wait for me to become perfect before He can bless me.
I know that He is faithful and just and will forgive me my sins and cleans me from all unrighteousness.
I know that sometimes the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer afflictions.
I know that all things work for the good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.
You see, I was having a hard time believing what I had a knowing of.
I was having a hard time because my truth is I was doubtful.
I was doubtful because I was looking at what I could see, I was listening to the noise that was surrounding me.
I know that God’s mercies are new everyday and I know if I seek the forgiveness from the Father that He casts my sins into the sea of forgetfullness. So why is it that I had allowed myself to entertain the notion that my sin was causing me to have so much adversity in my life.
God knew my faults before He formed me in my mother’s womb. He saw this day before I lived it, my valley was no surprise to Him.
My friend and I discussed how God had brought us through so much and that while we cannot see how it is going to workout we will continue to believe that God will bring us through and take comfort in that.
We will not worry what we will eat or drink and trust that the Father has prepared our meal.
My mother and aunt encouraged me that God was doing a work in me and that everything would be okay.
And my aunt also gave me further insight that struck a chord in me that was strong enough to bring me back to my place of knowing.
She said, “Renata, stop trying to do so much, you are trying to do things in your power and not letting God do what He needs to do…”, I finished her sentence with, “I need to just be”
She replied “yes”
I further explained “If I have my hands on it then I am not leaving room for God to put His hands on it. It is sort of like He is saying if you want to do it your way okay, but when you are ready to let me be in control I am here”
She said “yes”
You see, I was trying so hard to get out of the valley I forgot that God would take me through it in His perfect timing and in His perfect way.
I was trying so hard to find out what was wrong with me that I forgot that God delights in the heart of me.
I was using what I perceived to be good or bad news as a gauge of whether or not God was pleased with me.
I wanted to get out of my valley so fast that I forgot to take the time to learn from my valley.
I forgot that it is during my valleys that I learn the most.
It is during the hard times that I grow the most.
It is the valleys where I spend my most time with the Father and He longs for me to spend time with Him
Perhaps in my eagerness to get out of this dark place, I forgot how good time with the Father really is.
I am sad to say that while I cry out thanks to God when I first reach the mountain top, as time goes by I am guilty of not seeking Him the way I do when I in the valley. When I am walking the flat lands I tend to become prideful and think I am doing things by my own strength. But a funny thing happens when I am in the valley. In the valley I learn obedience, in the valley I am humbled, in the valley I seek my Master’s voice, in the valley I long for Him.
So this valley my darkest valley as of yet I will lie here with my Father and I will spend time with Him as He spends time with me.
He wants time with me, He wants to sup with me, He wants to love on me.
In my haste I focused on how I did not like this dark place, I wanted things to be the way I wanted them to be.
I forgot that it is better to have things the way God would have them to be.
This life isn’t about what I was upset about. I was so focused on things that will pass away that I forgot about Him who will forever stay.
I was afraid that things were just going to keep getting worse.
I forgot that no matter how bad things may be that God is with me.
I wanted to know the answer to my problems, I forgot God was the Answer.
So I have decided to just be.
He wants time with me, how could I have forgotten Him who created me?
I have decided to embrace this dry place and rejoice in this day, because it is in this dry place that my Master shows Himself strong and it is this day that He has made.
I marvel in how He daily meets my needs and how He has laid out all of my provisions.
He saw this hour before it arrived and He has prepared me for it.
This moment in time I am destined to live.
This moment in time I am destined to be.
I will draw nearer to God and He will draw nearer to me.
I forgot that He hears me.
I forgot that He sees me.
I forgot that He has me tattooed on the palm of His hand.
I forgot, but now I remember
I remember to love myself enough not to beat myself up. I remember that God looks at the heart. I remember that God never leaves us or forsakes us. I remember that this too shall pass. I remember that everything will be okay and that I don’t have to be perfect to be blessed.
So while I forgot who my God was, He always remembered me.
Always love yourself enough to know that even though times get rough it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. When hard times come and you enter the land of shadows stay encouraged. Keep the faith that as your days are so shall your strength be. God is with you and God is with me. Remember sometimes He just wants to be alone with you, and I will remember that sometimes He just wants to be alone with me.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.