Mountains and Valleys

Where there are mountains, there are valleys.
This is as true in nature as it is in life.  Our recent trip out West showed me this in dramatic fashion in both ways and if I don’t blog this today I may burst!  So bear with me and I’ll try to deliver as edited of a version as I can muster.

While to many it may have seemed that the last year of dealing with my mom’s diagnosis, illness and then passing was a valley it was in fact a mountain.  A “mountain top experience” as it is often referred to, as when Moses went up on the mountain and met God, when Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and they heard the voice of God, etc.  My circumstances during that time brought me face to face with God in ways so real I can’t use words to describe it.  It’s what brought joy and peace when otherwise it would seem there should be none.  But like every mountain, there is a valley waiting around the corner, and I have also found myself there.  It isn’t like God isn’t HERE anymore — He is ever present and that never changes — but why don’t I SEE Him like I used to?  FEEL Him like I did?  HEAR Him daily?

No one asks for tragedy in their life and I am certainly not about to start, but it is apparent to me how much EASIER it is to focus on the God who is always there when I need Him desperately.  The only analogy I can think of is the pure joy we get out of food when we are starving and have none vs. the feeling of looking in a pantry full of food and not seeing anything that sounds good to us at the moment.   Outside of difficult circumstances He is still there, but I am more easily distracted by the mundane parading as essentials in my life and am more prone to miss Him.  It makes me sad – and it makes me wonder where else/how else I can focus on Him to get back to ‘what we had’.

Mountains and valleys.  The truth is, we need both.  Sometimes as a change in scenery and sometimes for one to make us appreciate the other.  And this God I am honored to serve showed up to me this week in a valley to remind me of the mountain and I need to tell you the story:

As you may know our family just returned from an 11 day driving trip out west visiting National Parks.  A once in a lifetime trip!  Our agenda was loosey-goosey but one plan we had in our minds was to swing through Estes Park, CO to visit family who were vacationing there at the same time.  Day 8 had us in Spearfish, SD with a full day the next day of National Parks and monuments to see, more driving and a decision:  do we cut back west to get to Estes and visit or remain east and get home 2 days early.  Several factors came into play (we were exhausted and fearing that too much more time trapped in the van would do damage to the family unit!) and we decided to let fate (read: God) determine our plans.  If friends in west Texas were home to visit we would hit Estes, then west Texas, then home.  If not we would go east instead via Wichita, KS and then home.  Our friends ended up being on vacation and not available so at that point we were leaning toward just heading home.  Then, when we arrived at our hotel on day 9 at 8:30pm in Scottsbluff, NE we realized that their ONLY room available for us was way to smokey to sleep in and there were NO other rooms in the whole town for that night.  The only thing we could find:  a room in a town 1.5 hours east.  That sealed the deal — we would head east not west and skip the stop in Estes Park.  Sad to miss seeing family, but the choice was made for us.

On day 10 we headed toward Wichita and joked how after so many days of white knuckle driving up and down the mountains with not even so much as a guardrail most of the time we were thankful for this flat land of Kansas!  Around 12:30pm we decided to pull off to a small town in the middle of nowhere to find lunch.  As we did, it became quickly apparent that our brakes were not working correctly and coasting into the Pizza Hut revealed that they were hardly working at all.  It was not lost on us that had we stayed in our original hotel the night before and headed to Estes Park that day, by 12:30pm we would have been coming back down the Rocky Mountains.  I shudder to think.

It so happened that 2 police officers were in the Pizza Hut and when we asked where we could go for help we were told that there was ONE dealership in town and it happened to be a Chrysler/Dodge dealership.  We headed there (slowly!) to find that our problem was a broken brake fluid line, a part that they don’t stock.  It would be a day before they could get one in.

Phillipsburg, KS was such a small town I am not even sure if there was a motel there, and based on our experience the night before would there be an open room anyway?  We sat in this tiny waiting room and had a mechanic finally show up with an idea.  It just so happened that the ONLY car they had in for service at the time was a van nearly identical to ours.  It also happened that the owner wouldn’t be picking it up for a couple days, so they could trade out their good brake line and put it in our car, replacing theirs with the new one arriving the next day.   2 hours later we bid ado to Phillipsburg, KS feeling like we had just had an encounter with our God.  In a valley.

  • the hotel room mix up pushing us east vs west
  • the area we were in when we lost brakes  (no brakes on a mtn = bad)
  • the one dealership in town being a Dodge dealer
  • an out of the box thinking mechanic
  • the one car available for a part for us was a van

Though these things just so happened it was no accident.

The icing on the cake?  We realized that Ritchie’s parents were coming through Wichita at the same time from another direction and we questioned if we could possibly meet up or not.  After our 2 hours spent at the dealership we texted them that our GPS had us arriving at our Wichita hotel at 7:39pm.  I’ll give you one guess what time their GPS had them arriving at the same hotel….

So we ended up getting to see some family after all.

I love my God.  I love how He held me tight and spoke straight to me on that mountain several months ago and how He showed Himself SO mightily to me now in my valley.  In case I ever thought for a minute that He was gone it was like He sweetly whispered, “Amy – I’ve never moved a muscle.  You just need to LOOK for me in order to see me.”  Oh….I will.  I will.

Published in: on July 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm  Comments (1)