When going through hard seasons it’s common to be wishing you were on the other side. It’s normal to pray for God to pluck you right out and never look back. Afterall, who really wants to be in the middle of a rough road or remember it? As a gentle reminder, nothing bad comes from Christ, your valleys are not God’s doing, they’re simply there because we live in an imperfect world full of imperfect people and sin.
But, you shouldn’t discount your valleys.
Why? Because during these valleys God is at work in you. He can take anything that’s bad in your life and turn it into good. The hardest, most painful, loneliest times of your life can be transformed and used to bring God glory if you allow Him to take a hold of it.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I’ve shared before about the difficult time I had while working under someone who was extremely negative. I was highly criticized, belittled, and constantly laughed at. It was a hard time where I questioned my self-worth, giftings, and future in my career.
That valley lasted two years, but allowing God to move through me during that season has made an impact that is still a part of my life today. Through that valley, I learned the power of words. Scripture tells us that words can crush a spirit (Proverbs 15:4) but that they can also be healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24). I walked away from that experience determined to speak words that heal and not words that crush.
When experiencing broken friendships, I learned the value of developing deep relationships. I saw how life-giving friendships can be when they’re godly. Even though I was hurt, I asked God to show me how to become a better friend and He did.
Through the death of my brother, I learned the power of prayer and developed a heart and passion for it. I personally experienced how present Christ is to those who are mourning and heartbroken. My faith in Christ never wavered and only became stronger.
While moving to different cities, my heart desired to live somewhere else so I had to learn to accept wherever God had me- to spend time getting to know people and investing in their lives. No city is perfect and if we choose to only see bad then it prohibits us from sharing Christ within our community. I also, learned how no matter where you live everyone’s the same; we all want to be accepted and loved.
During the hard seasons of fostering and adoption, I learned how to love someone even when they don’t love you back. Through rough seasons in my marriage, I learned how to love an imperfect person while also being imperfect. Together, James and I saw how going to Christ together in prayer was the sure way to see our marriage be abundant in health.
From your valley you can choose two roads to take; press into Christ while you wait on Him or complain your entire way through while begging Him to remove you.
The children of Israel were the ultimate complainers in their valley. They were so focused on their difficulties they missed Christ’s presence within their lives. He performed miracle after miracle; parting the red sea, giving them food from the sky and water from a rock, and they completely overlooked the goodness of God. They missed out on learning, growing, and maturing. In fact, they whined so much they wandered around for a lifetime.
It’s important to pray for God’s guidance through your valley, it’s vital to expect Him to not only show up put to provide a way through. He will guide your path out all you have to do is train your eyes and heart to see it. Keeping your eyes focused on Christ will allow Him to mold you in the valley.
In each difficulty you walk through, God can show up in an instant and take it all away. He will provide, heal, and make a way when no way is seen. In one moment He can take what is broken, lacking, or hurting and heal it.
While there will be a day you won’t be walking the rough road you’re currently on you should remember one thing; what you learn in this valley will remain with you.
Romans 5:3-4 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help up develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
I’m not saying to be happy about being in a difficult season or desire to stay there like the children of Israel did. What I am saying is pray through the valley, keep your eyes in the Word, and you will develop the endurance, character, and hope scripture tells you about.
It will create purpose out of those seasons and strengthen your faith. You will walk out of your valley stronger and bolder proclaiming God is good, God is faithful, and that He uses all things to work together for His good.
Don’t discount the difficulties because one day the difficulties will be gone but what God has developed within you will remain.
*This post was inspired by a short snippet of a sermon by DawnChere Wilkerson. Her message was clear and powerful. If you don’t follow her, please do. Her sermons are incredible.
Owning your hard valleys can be the hardest thing a person does but often the most beautiful things come out of it. This post was a great reminder.
Heather Hart says
There is so much truth here. God has taught me so much during my valleys.
P.S. I’ve never heard of DawnChere Wilkerson – I’m going to look her up.
Rachel Mayew says
This is so right on! A wise mentor told me that she used to pray for God to rescue her children from their hardships. Overtime, though, she began switching up that prayer. She started asking him to use the “valley” to bring them closer to him. That really struck me; how much more we learn and grow in Jesus when he brings us through difficulty rather than removes it. Does that mean I want hard things for me or my loved ones? Nope. Not a bit. But do I know that our God is there every step of the way drawing me and my loved ones in closer? Yep! No shadow of doubt. Thanks so much for sharing your valley stories and the hope you found. Really beautiful testament and story telling!
That’s a great point. I think everything in life can be used to bring us closer to God. I’m never thankful for the valley’s but I’m grateful for the wisdom and maturity gained through them.
Good read. Hardships are a part of growth. Thanks
Yes they are =)
Kris Gnuse says
Great encouragement to keep our eyes focused on the truth of God’s purpose and his great love for us. Thank you.
Thank you, Kris!
It is easier to see from the other side of a difficult time. It is so important that we do look back and see what we have learned.
I think that you might enjoy my blog. I have recently written about looking for the rainbow in the storm. The blessings in the hard days.
Thank you for leaving this link! I’m going to read it now =)
This is such a great post, Heather! When I reflect back on the valleys and hardships that I have endured in my life I am able to recognize the growth in character that they have provided and the closeness I have gained in my faith during those times. We generally can’t say the same about our easy/good times in life.
Thank you for reading Melissa!
Amy Hagerup says
You are so right that God does teach us through the hard times too. I am eager to read some of your posts that you linked to.
Amy Christensen says
Difficulty is the weight lifting of our Christian life. We can let it build us and draw us closer to Christ, or we can let it tire us our and tear us down. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. – Amy
Alexis H says
Great encouragement and wise words, I’m sorry to hear about your brother!
So many times God teaches us more in the valley’s than on the Mountain Tops… yet I shy away from them because they are hard. Thanks for the encouragement today to embrace God’s will and plan regardless of the hard!
I absolutely love this! You have confirmed so much truth that has happened and is still happening. I’ve recently come out of a valley, it was a hard time but the reward was the most amazing experience and fellowship with God. People always see a valley as negative – but it’s the most refreshing time as you spend it with the LORD!
Stephanie Knipper says
So true! I find that God’s light shines brightest through us in the valleys.
Thanks for posting. I can completely relate to this. I tend to want to get out of the wilderness as soon as possible, and it can even lead me to despair instead of trying to learn what God is teaching me through those periods. We can learn a lot during these times and become more dependent on God.
I agree 100%. Every valley has me coming out stronger on the other side. It can be so hard to see things this way, but accepting it can make for a more peaceful life.