Monday, March 8, 2010

In the valley

There's so much on my heart and mind right now, and yet as I sit down to type out some thoughts, the words are coming slowly . . .

We all know life is a journey, and along the way are high points and low points--mountains and valleys. And lately, friends, I've been in a valley. Tired, drained, lacking joy and peace.

This past Saturday morning I was planning to make a trek to a nearby town to browse their consignment shop. But as the time to leave approached, I felt unsettled in my spirit. I knew that what I really needed was to have a retreat--to get away and process some things I've been struggling with, to pour out my heart to my Father. And so instead of taking a couple hours to run an errand, I took a couple hours to sit with my journal and Bible. Taking a retreat was definitely the right decision, but it wasn't an easy one. As someone who prizes productivity and efficiency, getting things done can too often become my main focus. But I don't want to be driven by tasks--I want to have a gentle and quiet spirit, to be growing more like Christ each day.

If my spirit is unsettled, as it was on Saturday, I have to be willing to take the time and effort to dig into that, instead of trying to cover it up with busyness or anything else. I definitely identify with this quote from St. Augustine: "God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you." My heart has been restless lately, and I am convicted to continue drawing closer to God, as He is the only One who can bring me the peace I've been lacking.

During my retreat on Saturday, I came across Psalm 116:7, "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." This verse is really calming to me. I wrote it down and posted it in my kitchen because I want to keep reminding myself of God's faithfulness, of all that He has done for me, and I want to find rest in that. Another favorite verse of mine comes from Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." May my soul find rest in You alone, God. (Psalm 62:1) Help me seek after You at all the points in my life, whether they are mountains or valleys.

If you could use some encouragement today, here are a few songs that have been meaningful to me lately: By His Wounds (wow--so powerful!), If You Want Me To, and Breathe. The lyrics to these songs help me speak the words that are on my heart: "By Your grace we are saved," "I'm clinging to the promise You're not done with me yet," and "I'm desperate for You."

10 comments:

Wendi said...

I have my moments when I am restless and have a hard time being content. Luckily those times don't last for long. Hoping your retreat lifed your spirits and you are out of the valley soon!

Anonymous said...

Dear Carrie,

I'm reminded of the story of Mary and Martha -- even though Martha was busy with legitimate tasks that needed to be done, when Mary sat at Jesus' feet instead of helping, He said she had chosen the better thing. I loved this line in your post -- "But I don't want to be driven by tasks--I want to have a gentle and quiet spirit, to be growing more like Christ each day." Amen! Love and prayers, Mom

thehomespunheart said...

Hi Carrie,

So sorry you're going through this time - but also so glad that God meets us where we are when we need Him. i love the verses you shared, each has been meaningful to me as well in the past/present. And, so glad He provided the time for a retreat to comfort your weary soul.

Love you,
Monica

Cora said...

Thanks for your honesty, Carrie. God's Words are a balm for our souls, aren't they? Glad He spoke to you. Thanks for sharing with us!

Carrie said...

Carrie,

What a beautiful and honest post. Valleys are so unpleasant but what truths we learn in them, hmm? If I may, and you haven't heard it yet, I'd recommend a song adaptation of Psalm 62 that speaks to my heart in the valleys. (Look past the guy's amazing hair though.) =D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmx9p6vAL1g

Bevy said...

Whispering a prayer for you - right now.

Remember this...knowing that whether you're on a mountian top or in the lowest valley. You -simply- cannot walk... without holding his hand. Sometimes there is really a lot of beauty in the deepest of valley's, as well as many pools of refreshing water. Drink deeply.

So, take his hand, he's reaching out, and let him lead you through hill or vale... one step at a time.

You're not alone. I've been here (too) many, many times.

Kara K said...

Thanks for your post Carrie. I'm right there with you in the valley. It's hard, but God builds faith in the valleys of our lives. I've copied your quotes and posted them up on my work computer for encouragment.
Kara K

Anonymous said...

Carrie:
I agree that this is a beautiful and honest post. So glad you were able to "Retreat" on Sat. & be refreshed. I wish I had learned at your age to have a "gentle and quiet spirit". You and Monica are so wise for your ages.
God is so good to provide just what we need at the time we need it. I'm thankful He spoke to your heart with scriptures and songs.

Isa. 26:3 is one of my favorites, also.

Looking forward to seeing you next week.

Love, Grandma

Katie said...

Dear Carrie,

Thanks so much for sharing your heart. You have been a continual source of inspiration and encouragement to me since I *met* you in this bloggy world, and I just want you to know that I'm praying for you in this 'valley'. I find myself in valleys more often than I'd like to admit, and, in hindsight, I think those are some of the times I drew closest to God (or probably more accurately ~ He was drawing me!). I just want to thank you, though, for your courage and honesty in sharing these times on your blog. It is refreshing to know I'm not alone!

Today I came across 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. I thought these might encourage you as they have for me.

Be strong in the Lord! =)

Bless you Carrie,
Katie

Kristin said...

Thanks for sharing, Carrie. I'm proud of you for taking the higher (and harder in many ways) road of sitting and reflecting rather than running errands and being busy. I'm so guilty of often choosing the other. I appreciate hearing your heart and can certainly relate on so many levels. Know that I'm praying for you, and I'm so thankful for you!

Press on, sister!
Kristin