Mountaintops and Sea Level Valleys
March 21, 2010, the day after I got married, my new husband of only about 12 hours swept me away to Fort Collins, Colorado. One would think Colorado would be one of the coolest places to live. I once had someone comment that I must have felt like I was on my honeymoon all the time because we lived in the mountains. Uh, not exactly (as if life doesn’t still happen in the mountains). However, I should have enjoyed it much more than I did. Fort Collins is consistently ranked as one of the top places in the country to live. I will be the first to admit my attitude was the majority of the problem. When our time there had finished I truly thought I would never want to visit the state again. Ever.
Moving from Florida was a completely different story. It is no secret that one of the hardest pieces for me to leave behind was the beach. I love the ocean! The serenity and power experienced while running along the surf nourishes my soul. I was an emotional basket case when we moved and thought I would never find anything again in nature that would touch me the way the ocean does (drama, drama, drama). While life in Florida wasn’t necessarily easier than Colorado, I had a resolve to take advantage of the opportunities more than what I had the preceding 2 years. I have found throughout our moves that you often exchange one challenge for another and one victory for another as well. I just applied one of the many lessons learned in Colorado: wherever you are, be there.
Hold on to these opposite ends of the spectrum for just a moment.
This past weekend we were excited to go skiing in Colorado with several friends and families. Despite a long bus ride on Friday, a late start skiing on Saturday due to the electricity being out at the resort (Yeah, we had never heard of that happening before either.), a negative 1 degree wind chill factor on Sunday, and a should-be 7 hour trip home taking about 12 hours because of snow and ice the entire way, we had an awesome weekend. No really, it was a blast!
So, what does a “good riddance” attitude when leaving Colorado and an “I will never find happiness in nature again” attitude from Florida have to do with skiing last weekend?
God brings healing from situations you never thought you could be healed from, the situations that were hard to leave because you didn’t like them and the situations that were hard to leave because you did, and all the situations in between. And He sometimes reminds you of this in surprising ways.
I usually feel the need to give a disclaimer with many of my thoughts. As I write this I realize how blown out of proportion this sounds: “Poor me. I didn’t like the mountains and then I had to say goodbye to the ocean. My life must be so hard.” But here is the deal: it’s not about mountains verses oceans, cold verses warm, pine trees verses waves. It’s about what these things represented in my life. Sometimes trying to convey lessons I’ve learned without airing dirty laundry can be challenging and really may come across as shallow. Sometimes I just want to spell everything out so there is no confusion or speculation as to what I am referring to. But then I come to my senses and remember that is not the point. It’s like when Paul talks about his “thorn in the flesh”. We would all like to know what he is referring to, but the bottom line is it doesn’t matter. We all have something. We all have a battle. We all have challenges that no one knows about, some brought on by our own sins, some by the sins of others, and some just because life happens. On some level we appear to most, if not all, as if we have it all together. Suffice it to say I don’t have it all together. But neither do you.
Back to skiing…
What God reminded me of this weekend (other than how majestic yet serene the snowy mountains are) is that He is active in our lives. He is active in our mountaintop experiences, the sea level valleys, and everything in between.
I LOVE my God. I love the way He cares for His children. I love the way He makes all things work together for good. I love the way His Spirit intercedes on our behalf. I love the way He works in ways we cannot understand or may not even see this side of heaven. I love that His mercies are new every morning. I love that the blood of Jesus purifies me from all unrighteousness.
Being in the mountains in Colorado for just 2 short days reminded me of all of this. God is bigger than all our sins and all of our victories. We all can take good and bad from every situation, every moment of every day. I was able to go to the mountains and see God. I looked back on our time in Colorado with fondness, remembering all the ways that God worked and provided. As I was riding the ski lift in well below freezing temperatures, I also thought about the ocean and remembered the ways that God worked and provided in Florida.
So, what is the point from these once again references to my past life in Colorado and Florida? God works. He provides. And He can take you back to a once painful place, give you fresh eyes, and show you that He brought healing in ways you had forgotten or never acknowledged.
Think now about your mountaintops and valleys. Do you see God? Do you see Him more now than you did then? What is going on in your life right now, today, that you will one day look back and say, “Yeah, God was there. He was working and He provided.”?
We serve a BIG God. He is ever present, and He is always working. The times we are unsure of this truth may be the times He is working the most. And when He reminds you in unexpected ways that He brought healing, tell someone. You may even want to write a blog about it.