It’s a known fact. We hear it often these days. Times are tough. For many of God’s children, times are hard. We look around and see difficulties everywhere. Job loss, financial strain, family struggles, debt, burdens of all kinds…you name it. Times are just, well, tough.
We’re in the same boat. We’re walking through one of the hardest times we have ever endured in our thirteen-year marriage. It’s been a season of stretching us more than we have ever been stretched. A season of forcing us to rely on our Savior. That’s a good thing. When everything else feels so fragile and vulnerable, we know with absolute certainty that Christ IS the solid rock on which we stand. We know that He and He alone is our firm foundation–the ONE who can never be shaken.
One thing we have learned is that our faith in Jesus Christ does NOT give us a ticket to the easy ride. Jesus never came to promise us a life of smooth sailing, one where the storms would never come. On the contrary, He warned us that the trials would come. Christians are not immune. The difference is that we have such hope, where others give in to hopelessness.
In the midst of trying times, God has been so good to pour out His blessings and His provision in our lives. The blessings have come in the form of friendships old and new, food, gifts, notes of encouragement, words of wisdom…and vacations.
When incredible friends offered their vacation home for a little getaway, we had no idea what to expect. “Vacation home” where I grew up was a tiny little shack along the rugged South African coast with no inside toilet, furniture from the Boer War era, a tiny gas stove, generated electricity and nothing but the absolute essentials. Sounds like a whole lot of fun, huh?
So we packed up the kids, took along enough food for the duration of our stay, and headed out on our little mini-vacation. The kids were so very excited.
Oh my! Were we in for a treat. We had no idea this part of Virginia even existed. Our drive took us up into the gorgeous Blue Ridge mountains–a little piece of heaven. There we found the most stunning home with a spectacular view.
We rested. And I mean rested. For the first time in months, Anthony and I put up our feet and did as little as possible. It was simply glorious. Just what we needed.
We did take beautiful hikes along trails that led us to stunning little spots.
Our views were simply breathtaking. Who can deny the existence of a Creator who did this just for our pleasure? Oh how He loves us.
We got to spend precious moments with the blessings the Lord has so graciously given us.
Just being together in His creation. How we have missed times like this. Moments that give us the opportunity to get out of the crazy inner city and just be where life is quieter.
The house was so much more than we could ever have asked for. Harper gained the confidence to climb stairs that were carpeted. She is doing so well at it now.
How do the leaves know that they HAVE to change their colors around this time? Never too early, never too late.
We enjoyed sunsets that took our breath away.
And nature so magnificent, so captivating.
Where sweet little sisters had the best time exploring together…and loving each other.
It was a time to rejuvenate and allow God to fill us back up again–ready to, once again, run this race with perseverance.
Little lovies went on their first hike in the woods.
And bigger lovies went in search of colorful leaves for mommy.
In three days we saw the color of the leaves change before our very eyes. From green to glorious shades of orange, yellow and red…just like that. It was there that the Father whispered to my heart that change comes quickly. No season ever stays the same for very long. The hard times pass and new beginnings come before we know it. It’s just life.
And so we’re learning to embrace the seasons–good or uncomfortable. We know that the hard seasons do not last forever. God is always faithful to rescue us out of them. He is always good to get us back onto the mountain top. The valleys are such an amazing opportunity to learn deep truths and incredible lessons He wants us to learn. I long to learn the lessons the first time, for I know that if I fail, I will only have to learn them again down the road.
Embracing the season and the things God allows us to go through.
As Charles Swindoll once said…
“Nothing comes to us without it first passing through the hands of a loving Father.”
Isn’t that the truth?