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Geography 101 (today we cover valleys and streams)

*stuck on a lesson plan theme with my titles, hopefully I don't sound like the Charlie Brown teacher

So I am was not in a not in a good place lately. (I am using the strike out feature because as I was writing this out, God spoke to me, turned it around as I wrote and brought me somewhere beautiful.....)

Some call it a rut.
Some call it a funk.
Some call it a dark place.

I call it a valley.

I guess I call it a valley because I have the image of a topographical map in my head. You remember those maps we had to study in school....they were maps that either had those curvy lines or was color coded to represent the elevations in the land. To me, this map represents the elevations or the "highs and lows" of our lives.

Throughout our lives we travel and experience different terrains along the way. Without a doubt, we will hit some rough territories. Sometimes we make poor decisions and we get stuck going through that mucky swamp for a while. Sometimes we have unexpected construction on our scenic route and we have to take a detour through a less pleasant road. Sometimes there is no other way to get to where we are going. We just have to be as prepared as we can, toss it into four wheel drive (living in New England, this is a must) and get through it.

OK, back to the image in my head. I am picturing a couple of mountains some valleys in between. There are a few areas where it plateaus for a while with some dips and hills.

Mountains: arms raised high, glorifying God to the fullest. We are on fire for Him!
Higher elevations: still praising God, life is great!
Plateaus with dips and hills: going on in our daily lives, keeping God at arm's reach, reaching out when we need Him....maybe getting a little lukewarm.
Canyons, gorges and ravines: dark depressing times, trials and struggles. We feel alone, without hope....we are in cold darkness.

For the most part, I feel my topographical map is filled with mountains and higher elevations. I also have found myself in some stagnant times on those plateaus. I did have some pretty deep canyons out west (that would be my past, to the left.......yikes, I am using all my extensive geographical terminology on you now). In fact, looking back to my unsaved days.....those were some huge canyons.

I think most of the time we get to these valleys by a slow slip down off the mountain.....we are going full force with God at the forefront, everything is going wonderful. I believe that when the enemy has that clear shot of us on the mountain, he fixes his scope on us and and is determined to knock us down. He does not want us to be effective with our testimony and praise. In fact, he hates it. He has a way of bringing strife our way, if we do not have our feet planted firmly on that mountain (picture a mountain climbers wearing crampons, those boots with spikes).....these trials will shake us and we start to slip down.....and then continues to kick us our way down. Along the tumble down, he tosses in some of his extra "forces" to add to the momentum. I've talked about a few of them lately...... envy, worry, toxic people and most recently gossip. These forces do a great job of weighing us down and keeping us from rising up again.

So I thought I would go with this valley image and decided to give the definition.

*this is where God jumps in*

So a valley is described as " an elongated depression between uplands, hills, or mountains...." Another definition is "a low point or interval in any process, representation, or situation."

It didn't surprise me that the word depression is used.

But what I found interesting was when I realized that I didn't finish the first part of that definition

"an elongated depression between uplands, hills, or mountains, esp. one following the course of a stream"

**Now I need to stop here and shed more light on this**.......these past couple of weeks, I have been putting the final touches on my new tattoo design. It is a tree planted by a stream. The tree not only represents me, it also is a symbol for my family. The tattoo will be an expression of a couple of Scriptures that mean alot to me:

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do ~Psalm 1:3

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.~Jeremiah 17:7,8

Throughout the Bible....the stream represents God. He is the Living Water.

So this got me even more curious as I felt God prodding me to do more research. I also looked up canyon..... in the notes accompanying the entry canyon was this:

a canyon is a narrow chasm with steep cliff walls formed by running water; a gorge is a deep narrow passage with steep rocky sides formed by running water; a ravine is a deep narrow steep-sided valley formed by running water

As I sit here and type.....I am experiencing this revelation. It is blowing my mind so forgive my more than normal run-on sentences and grammar errors.

When I am/was in the valleys, canyons and gorges it is/was then that God is/was even closer than I thought. The stream (Living Water) was running right along side of me.

Being in the valley does not have to be what the Devil wants me to believe. It does not have to be filled with darkness and despair. We may be experiencing trials, but that doesn't mean that God has left us, forgotten about us, or is not listening to us. Quite the opposite. He is closer than ever.

Valleys can be beautiful.......valleys can be lush......it's all how we envision it. And think about it, we need these different elevations so that we can have awesome snow capped mountains and rolling hills.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. ~Deuteronomy 8:7

I am still in awe on what God just did. He didn't want me to focus on what the enemy was trying to do with me....why give him any attention/credit? God wanted to show me that He is still here with me even when I didn't think to look for Him. He is so faithful. So kind. So forgiving.

So ......no time for spell check, no time to proof read. I just want to publish and share. Again forgive my more than normal bouncing around.

Have a beautiful weekend......I am now declaring I will too!



E @ Scottsville said...

Hi Michelle!

I just wanted to stop by and visit you and say "Thank you" for visiting my blog. =0)


Heart2Heart said...


What a beautiful study this was. I know a lot of people will benefit from this post because sometimes we are down in those valleys was too long with no hope of ever coming out.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Andrea said...

Beautiful post written straight from your heart!
Blessings and prayers,

chili pepper said...

You are artful at taking something so simple and showing the Lord in it. I very much like this description of our walk with the Lord, "A Topical Map"

christy rose said...

Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil, for He is with you. His rod protects you and His staff will comfort you. He has prepared a table before you, for your nourishment, in the presence of your enemies( the lies that speak against God's promises,) He anoints your head with oil so you can experience the power of His Spirit within you, Your cup runs over with blessings of His provision. For sure, goodness and mercy and unfailing love will follow you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the presence of the Lord forever. He refreshes and restores everything that has been stolen from you. He leads you in the paths of righteousness to make you lie down and rest in the provision that He has prepared for you. The valley is just the pathway to to the other side of the mountain. Your shepherd is guiding you there and providing for you all along the way.
Can't wait to hear the epiphany that He reveals to you each day as you rest in His protection until the valley comes to its end.

Zhenya and Nika Aksutin said...

Hello! My name is Nika! I so like your blog! We are from Russia. My husband and I to work with students. We organize many clubs to construct attitudes friendship and to speak them about the Christ. I have ladys club, we to do hand made cards, scrapbook, quilt and crosstitch. It is good opportunity to testify about our God and His love! Every Saturday I have craft club for ladyes. We do cards, quilt, crochet, cross stitch too. It very not usual and new to Russian culture. I to study from different blogs how to make cards, made quilt and to use different technics. We are missionary to the Far East Russia. We are russian. We live in city Birobidzhan, it is the Jewish region in Russia. A lot of Jews live here. They have synagogues and to celebrate religious holidays. But many of them do not know the Christ. We have 2 daughters. Polina is 8 years and Liliya is 2 years.And if you are interesting about us I shall be glad give answer to you. I will glad if you can write me.Sorry my English.
You can vizit to my blog http://christforchristglory.blogspot.com
and our family ministry blog

Billy Coffey said...

Beautiful, Michelle! Loved this.

Anonymous said...

right on....

wife.mom.nurse said...

WOW! I spend way too much time in valleys! Love this imagry.

Thankful to HIM for showing this to you (and me)!



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