The Valley

 

mountains near trees

Written by Michelle Price

Have you ever found yourself standing in one of the proverbial valleys of life? Perhaps your health is failing and you got the dreaded cancer diagnosis. It could be you’re facing financial ruin or your lifelong marriage is coming to an end. Or maybe, like me, you’re caught in the throws of infertility. Whatever that valley looks like for us, it is most often a time of immense loneliness. We can be surrounded by love and yet still feel alone in our struggle. We may begin to think we’re the only one that’s ever been in that valley.
God guaranteed there would be trouble in this life (John 16:33) but the more we isolate ourselves, the harder our struggle becomes. We must realize that isolation is one of Satan’s many strategies, and it makes us vulnerable to his attack. Separation from others allows him a full 360 degrees to prowl around us like a lion seeking to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). Drs. Cloud and Townsend write, “Isolation keeps what is broken in the soul sequestered in the darkness- out of the light of relationship with God and others, where there can be neither help nor resolution” (Boundaries, 221).

We all need an Aaron and Hur to hold up our arms when we grow tired while fighting our battle (Exodus 17:12).

And there is no greater comfort in the middle of our valley than that provided by God’s presence! King David wrote in Psalm 23, “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” God speaks life into our valleys- even during times of isolation. I had not shared my struggle with infertility with my closest friends. But God spoke to me through a very dear friend of mine, Denie Girardeau, as she was routinely praying for the desires of my heart. He instructed her that we should “praise and speak as though it has already happened.” Philippians 4:4 says that we should “Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” God is always faithful, and we should choose to praise him even when life doesn’t seem to be going the way we thought it should. The Bible says in Nehemiah that the joy of the LORD is our strength. So when we’re weak, sister, we must choose joy! A friend of mine, Carrie Wilson, once said that it’s our very small step of faith that motivates God to work in the supernatural to make our mountains move. And when we’re in the middle of that valley, friend, our next mountain can’t come soon enough!
Even though we can’t see the end of our struggle, God can. Until then, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). He has abundance and hope waiting for us. So, while it’s painful right now just to take that very next step in our walk of faith remember that He has Something More for us on the other side!

Hashtags: #SomethingMore #struggles #valleysoflife

IMG_4287Michelle Price is the founder of GRACE Ministries, a faith-based ministry dedicated to nurturing women who have been sexually abused. She obtained her Certificate in Ministry and Leadership from Highlands College in 2015. She currently volunteers at The WellHouse, a Christ-centered agency dedicated to rescuing women from sexual exploitation/human trafficking. Michelle is a devoted wife and faithful member of Church of the Highlands. She is employed full time as an acute care nurse practitioner at a local hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

It’s Always Something

Written by Jackie Tinkler

hand pen writing plant

It’s always something right?
Bills to pay, tight schedules, a racing mind, unmet expectations, overwhelmed plans, anxiety attacks and sleepless nights. Instead of living our dreams, we’re waiting for the next ball to drop.  How many of us feel like we’re just surviving, coping and not really living?  How can we overcome the worry that’s worrying us?adult alone anxious black and white

 

Jesus said we wouldn’t have to worry when He will help us feel okay because God’s peace is very near…

 

This is Jesus speaking to his disciples

“Now you finally believe in me.  And the time has come when you will all be scattered and each of you will go your own way, leaving me alone!” Yet, I am never alone, for the Father is always with me. And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world, you will have trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world.” John 16:31-33 (The Passion Translation)

 

There is no peace to find in this world.  None!  And if you do, it will not comfort but only prove to be a false sense of security and be short lived. Worrying is unproductive, a waste of time and is a joy stealer.  On the flip side, the peace we need comes from God himself; a supernatural peace which shields and covers like a blanket of love that makes everything okay inside.    It’s a knowing that He loves us and will see us through.

 

I remember a time when I went through a long and lengthy trial.  I had God’s assurance that everything in the end would turn out fine, but did I stay calm and rest in that assurance?  No, I did not, and as a result my mind was not at peace, I gained weight from overeating to comfort myself, my blood pressure was up, I was exhausted as well as anxiety ridden, and I couldn’t sleep.  It was like being on a roller coaster.  One day I would  feel confident and the next I was hiding under the covers and eating cookies!  The end result was it was more than okay and I could see how God sustained me through it all but it was my choice to worry, even when He said not to.  What did I gain from worrying?

 

Here are the three ways I found to calm my worried mind and have peace

sunflower

  • Find Peace
In John 15:27 Jesus tell us Not to look for peace from the world.  He will leave us the gift of a peaceful mind and heart only through the Holy Spirit.  “And I will send you the Divine Encourager from the very presence of my Father, He will come to you, the Spirit of Truth, emanating from the Father, and he will speak to you about me.”
  • Follow after Peace
Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit; He is our counselor and teacher.  He leads us away from trouble and into the safety of our Father’s arms.  He shows us the right path for our unique journey and gives us wisdom to get there.
  • Fight for peace
What you feed will grow so resist the enemy and he will flee from you!  Don’t allow negative thoughts and concerns in that overwhelm, cause confusion or torment.  Replace them with God thoughts by reading and meditating on His word.  God’s Word is life and health to our mind. You have the mind of Christ which is a sound mind, free from worry and operating in power.

IMG_3892Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

 

 

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