Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Mountain and the Valley

When I was pregnant with Poppy I realized my need for God. It had always been there, but for the first time I understood what it meant. I didn’t want to go one day without His help—or maybe more accurately, I knew I couldn’t make it one day on my own without disaster. I had spent so much of my life up to that point putting God on the back-burner, forgetting about Him in my busyness, and going in my own strength for days at a time before stopping to realize that I was doing it. I loved God, but the realization of my need wasn’t there. And without an awareness of my need, my growth was stunted and my relationship with Jesus was stale—comfortable, but stale.

Once I tasted the richness that comes from a desperate need for God, I knew I didn’t want to go back. Living each day with the conscious understanding that I was going on His power, not my own, was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. I can’t tell you the comfort that comes with giving the control I never really had in the first place completely over to God. Even with the weight of the situation pushing in all around me, in many ways I felt lighter than I ever had before. That was something I didn’t want to lose, but something I feared I might when I was out of the valley, firmly planted on flat, level ground again.

Finally, nearly 9 months after Poppy’s birth, I am here: the place where life is easy and good without any imminent crisis or tragedy on the foreseeable future. In other words, I’ve entered into the potential breeding grounds for complacency; the land where autopilot can be activated without even realizing it! Because of this, I felt a little self-evaluation was in order, and this is what I found.

Yes, it is easier to fall into a cruise control mentality when disaster isn’t looming, and yes, it’s easy to forget my need for Him when so many of my needs have been provided. But being in this place of ease does not dictate a blasé relationship with God! Sure it’s different, but it’s not impossible. Here’s the difference: before, I didn’t have to work to be reminded of how much I needed Him—the reality I was faced with did that for me—whereas now I make a conscious choice to keep Jesus first and ask Him for His strength for each day, even those when I feel like I can do it on my own. In many ways it’s harder than before, as crazy as that sounds, but it’s the truth. The stormy seasons of life have a way of helping us to grow faster than the sunny ones ever will. But that doesn’t mean that God can’t use me, that I can’t love Him more, or that I can’t walk closely with Him like I did when grief was right there beside me.

One of the things I realized I needed to do to keep myself from getting fat and happy, was to get involved in something where I was serving and being actively reminded of my need for God. And just as soon as I started looking for what that was, God plopped it right in my lap. He provided me with the chance to volunteer with Life Choices, the crisis pregnancy center that we adopted Adrienne through. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this, and how much I needed this in my life. I guess what I learned is that God never intended me to just sit and soak, reveling in the easy times of life, being content with little or no growth in my life. Instead, He wants me to be doing what He intended every one of His children to do: be His hands and feet to the hurting and needy all around us. So whether I’m in the valley or on the mountain, God is there. He is just waiting on me to recognize my need.


Cristi said...

I agree with you about the ease of getting into the cruise control mentality. I dont ever want that for myself. Crisis is a great motivation to Seek God like never before. Congrats to you for being able to go for what he has for you while no longer in a crisis. I pray that I will Seek Him and Find Him daily all the time. God Bless you and your family. In His Name

happy gram said...

"we make a living by what we get. we make a life by what we give." (anonymous). bless you for being a giver.

Laurie said...

Hi Angie,

Thank you for this message today, it really speaks to me as I realize and am so grateful that I have no crisis going on in my life right now too. I have had the blessing of watching and getting to know you for almost a year now and the growth in your life has been amazing through the hardest of times. Working with the Life Choices center is going to be such a blessing to others as well as yourself. You have been prepared through the fire for such a time as this. I have read up and love everything this center stands for and will be praying for all who step through those doors to find peace and hope there. I love you Angie and hope your weekend is wonderful and full of joy!!

Love and Hugs, Laurie in Ca.

Lindsey said...

hello there. i'm a new reader and just have been reading over your story the past few days. God bless you and your family. I've been touched by your Poppy and your story. You are in my prayers....another great blog if you have never read it is... Very touching story as well and Angie is a great Christian inspriation. I also wanted to say God bless you for choosing adoption. I am an adoptee! Your family has been added to my prayer list....God bless and take care.

Jennifer said...

This really spoke strongly to me today. Thank you so much for sharing. I think it is time for an evaluation in my own life

Kim ( said...

Thank you for this post Angie. You continue to be a blessing to me.
With love,

Kenzie said...


I know EXACTLY what you are talking about here! Most days life is good and it's more of the daily struggle of being a mom to a almost 3 year old and pregnant... not the mom of a baby in Heaven. Some days I succeed and some days I fail... putting God first is ALWAYS something that I need to make a priority. But man, how right you are about it being so evident in the major tragedy and crisis times... I know I have learned so much, I just need to utilize what I have learned from personal experience!

I love you girl!
Miss ya,

Elizabeth said...

Dear Angie,
You have a gift for communicating Truth. The people who meet you through Life Choices will be blessed by what they see and hear.

Two years ago, Life Choices cheerfully accepted my 3yo's gift to them, along with this little note:
"Today is my birthday, and I am so BIG
I don’t need a pacifier any more!
Please pass these along,
and God’s comfort share
With each Mommy who walks in your door!"

(They "took care of" the old pacifier, and shared the new pacifiers we also contributed!)

No gift is too small to be shared, and Life Choices is a great choice for your ministry. I'll be praying for you!

<><, Elizabeth

Joe, Jami, and Joey said...

Thank you for sharing this post. What an awesome encouragement it was to me! Jami