Most people who know or hear my story used to tell me I should write a book about it or it should be a movie. No one seemed to notice I didn't tell the details of difficulty about my childhood in discontent or melancholy. By all accounts I shouldn't even be alive. (Click here to read the Streamingfaith.com devotional about my suicide attempt in high school.)
Life hasn't been the elusive crystal stair for me in adulthood either. There have been a few highs, but in all honesty I've also had a lot of lows. My preferred place is in God's presence. Not because I'm a religious nut but because I treasure and savor our relationship.
When I sowed the first seeds of obedience, gratitude and sacrifice I wanted something in return but I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't know what I wanted God to restore but I knew due to some of my responses to life's circumstances in addition to my previous figure, fatter bank account, house, a few friends and smile I'd lost something along the way.
It wasn't until my pastor preached about fasting for results instead of God's glory I realized what I'd been missing.
My prayer a long time ago was for God to never allow me to become complacent or commonplace with Him. My heart yearned to never lose my awe of Him. I didn't think that at times the "awe" would be part of "awful" in my naivete and rekindled relationship with Christ ... I imagined euphoric worship filled bliss.
Once God showed me how important the different heights in life are to our walk I accepted them. It has taken me quite some time to remember to embrace all the parts of this walk but I believe I'm learning to do it again. I've found an appreciation in the valley for the beautiful colors and fragrances of the flowers, on the plains God has built endurance to stick it out and on mountain tops He allows me the privilege of a higher point of view.
The journey up the hill to the top of the mountain is grueling. You pay with blood, sweat, bruises, and for those honest about it a lot of tears. On the plains you develop focus, creativity, self reflection and determination. You pay with long suffering, isolation, fighting weariness/impatience and for some boredom. Valleys are the entryways and exits to many mountains. The lower they sit the higher the potential reward if you keep climbing. Going through the valley requires faith, hope and love.
All of these heights are important in the Christian journey. The word says this race isn't given to the swift or to the strong but to the one who endures. I'm thankful for the days I've walked, sprinted, skipped, skated, jogged and ran. But I'm better and stronger for the days I've inched, limped, been pulled, prayed my way forward blinded by tears, rolled, crawled and been carried.
This summer of sowing obedience, gratitude, and sacrifice have landed me closer to the God I love. The most important thing I've regained at this moment is gratefulness. Gratefulness replaced my gratitude because God deserves so much more than a little bit of thanks. In the midst of all the things He's brought me through despite myself He continues to be there for me, for that I am now and eternally hope to stay aware of His mercy, favor and grace in a perpetual state of being grateful.
This is one of my longer posts and I implore you if you're still reading to take a moment to think about the ways God has been there for you time and time again in your life. If you're honest with Him and yourself you'll find a multitude of reasons to be grateful, too.