I just came home from a retreat with the women of my church - it was a wonderful time with dear friends, in worship and teaching and lots and lots of girl talk. I came home physically worn out but spiritually strengthened and encouraged. I've gone through the days since the retreat with a renewed awareness of God at work in my life.
It's hard to process an entire weekend of God at work full-throttle. He was really merciful to me and I feel like he gave me exactly as much as I could handle but still, that is a lot to process. On the way home I was praying about the practical day by day application of the weekend to my life, I wanted to come home and hit the ground running but I felt like God reminded me to rest.
After you give birth to a baby there is a season of rest and often when God has birthed something in our hearts we need to just rest and let God lead us in the working-stuff-out part. So here I am resting in God's goodness to me, celebrating everything he has done in me. Sunday was great, Monday was really good but today I woke up feeling different. Exhausted, again.
Eli was up last night, as usual. Josiah woke up and I let him climb in bed with us (huge mistake) Katie-Abigail had a bad dream and came into our room screaming around five in the morning. I felt like I was a time bomb ticking down the seconds, desperately wanting to go back to how I felt earlier in the week or even just the day before, scrambling to see if there was a way to get back to that feeling of closeness with God. But the baby wouldn't nap. My quiet time was not-so-quiet in Eli's room, by his bed. Remembering that these trials are momentary. Remembering that when my body is tired it's hard to feel anything but the tiredness.
To be honest, I often live my life mountaintop to mountaintop, kind of languishing in the valleys in between. I was given a quote last weekend that speaks to this:
"Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys." - Billy Graham
Mountaintops are for perspective. Sometimes that moment is in worship at church, sometimes it's in those quiet moments with God in the shower, sometimes it's at a retreat. Mountaintops are amazing, but then you have to keep going. Living by faith, not by sight. Remembering what God revealed up on that mountaintop.
This weekend in my moment of perspective God showed me how much He has been at work in me when I wasn't even aware of it, shaping me in ways I didn't even realize at the time. But going back into the valley to walk it out, live by faith and trust that He is still working is not fun and it doesn't feel spiritual.
So today I got in my van, turned the worship music up (today it was this) and went to my favorite natural grocery store for some huge Honey Crisp apples, I feel like I walk out with a bag full of treasure. I listen to the words of my music and my spirit responds in worship and I realize something important:
God has not changed
What I feel in this day has changed, dramatically so, but God does not love me any less today than yesterday, God is not any closer or any farther away. It's only my feelings that have changed. Those feelings are probably very closely related to my body and a result of my lack of sleep.
Mountaintop experiences are awesome and God did a huge work in my heart over the weekend but valleys are awesome too and God is still moving and working in huge ways here too. I'm just not as aware of it.
So today I get to choose what I'm going to believe...
and take a nap.