Originally published Friday, 13 November 2015.
he following words from Oswald Chambers have been echoing through the corridors of my mind.
“We are not made for the mountain, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life – those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.”
I often joke while walking through fancy, upscale department stores, declaring I was made for all the gorgeous shoes on the shelves. They seem to beckon me with some type of magnetic pull. When I take a vacation and find myself lying on a beach facing the Caribbean Sea, I question why God chose to place my day-to-day life where freezing temps are the norm and dark clouds are known for hiding the sun.
And then I’m thankful for godly men like Oswald chambers who put righteous inspired thought to paper with the leading of the Holy Spirit because let’s face it… Nordstrom might be able to cover my feet with fancy shoes, but it cannot convey where these feet of mine have been. It cannot tell the story of how step-by-step they walked through the valley of the shadow, bare.
The Caribbean Sea may help to relax the weary soul, but the beauty of that crystal, clear, turquoise Sea doesn’t inspire me to stay there. It fills me up to go, to do. I find rest inside living and remembering the valleys from where I came, and the knowing I’m meant to remind others they can make it, too.
And we don’t have to solicit air travel or walk next to a wall of highfalutin Jimmy Choo’s for inspiration…
We can walk out our front doors to be inspired by the pinky-orange glow of sunset, or find life in the dead tree losing its leaves. We can close our eyes and remember the kind smiles from loved ones no longer with us, or reflect on a tragedy turned triumph.
We are meant for the ordinary, and to learn that everything ordinary turns extraordinary when Christ is part of the equation.
I wasn’t made for fancy shoes and white sand beaches. It’s a nice thought, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.
In 1996, I was made for slowly walking through dark valleys with tear covered bare feet because I lost my baby girl.
Every miscarriage, every loss of a loved one, every hope-filled possibility turned problematic, seemingly impossible situation is not only what I was made for in that moment, but a call to whom I would become.
Every step led me closer to Jesus and gave me power and stamina that bubbled forth inside my soul enabling me to share my story and encourage others to share theirs.
Uncomfortable struggles in the midst of dark valleys shapes who we are. It’s there we find freedom in Christ allowing tears to turn into joy and hope.
I want to encourage you with this today:
If you are in the middle of a dark valley, don’t look at it as a death sentence or punishment. Jesus is there with you and you can and will make it through the depths of despair. What your living through in that place is not meant to keep you there forever, it’s meant to give you strength, endurance, and teach you love in a way you’ve never known before. You can make it!
If you are discouraged because life feels too ordinary, become comfortable with it. Wrap yourself inside the ordinary! Whether you realize it or not, someone else is watching your life and paying close attention to how you deal with everyday, ordinary circumstances. When your faith in Christ shines brightly, you will turn the ordinary into extraordinary because someone else will consider Him because of what they’ve seen in you.
Even in the midst of turmoil, despair, and the boring ordinary of every day, we are meant to point others to Christ!
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with fancy shoes and nice vacations. I’m just saying that we weren’t meant for complete comfort. We were meant to use our difficulties to reach others. We are meant to use our faith through ordinary situations to open somebody’s eyes to the extraordinary of Christ.
We are meant to serve regardless of how much or little we have. And, we are meant to do this ordinary life filled with valley’s and beautiful inspiration the best we can.
This is supposed to be a month of thankfulness. We should start by thanking Christ for placing us where He saw fit, and determine to show His love smack-dab in the center of it.
PS: Next Wednesday, November 18th, I have a special treat for you! Best-selling author Christin Ditchfield will be sharing with us on a topic near and dear to the hearts of many women. Earlier in the year, I conducted a survey for my readers and a large amount of you asked me to write about singleness. Christin has a beautiful, hope-filled perspective. Every woman, single or not, can gain from what she has to say! I’m also going to be hosting a giveaway of some of Christin’s books! You won’t want to miss it!
Also, Sunday, November 29th begins Advent! I will be sharing a short post each day throughout the Advent season. God has been working on my heart about this for quite some time. There will be many giveaways, including Ann Voskamp‘s devotional The Greatest Gift. Together, we will pursue peace and stillness within the days leading to Christmas, rather than the stress which loves to steal our joy. There will be more details on this at the end of next week.