Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Advent 2015

"Walking with God"


             Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.  Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.  The Lord has spoken! (Isaiah 40:4-5 nlt).


             I love being outdoors!  This past summer John and I vacationed in Alaska because my bucket list includes seeing the aurora borealis.   While it was the wrong season to see the lights, the majestic scenery of mountains and valleys continually awed me.  I felt like a speck in the universe.  With that said, I was especially drawn to the reference in Isaiah.  My paraphrase:  making the ground level so that we can walk safely and give God the glory.  As I began to reflect I gained a new perspective on these verses.

             Sometimes when I listen to others talk of the Christian journey it sounds like being a believer makes us immune from the challenges of life.  That has not been my experience.  Depression has been and can be one of my valleys.  After John's father died unexpectedly in January of 1992, I found myself experiencing health issues that eventually led me into therapy.  The first session was on a Good Friday, and in the weeks that followed I began to unravel some of the emotional threads that had caused me to be in my "valley."  Tears that had been bottled up were released as I talked with Dorinda and realized I was doing all the "feeling" for the family, both at home and at church.  There was no room for me.  With the focus on caring for everyone else, I failed to take care of my own mental health.  The emotional had caused   physical ailments. 

           As the valley was filled up, the mountains emerged.  I like the mountains.  I feel close to God there.  My journey continues.  But it is on the level ground that I "walk safely."  Therapy required a willingness on my part to be honest with myself.  As I have gotten older, I can look back and realize that my level ground appears when some simple steps are followed.  First, by asking for the help of the Holy Spirit, I acknowledge that I am not in control of just about anything.  In those moments I realize I am not alone.  Also, by seeking community with others where I can listen and learn without feeling judged I have been able to level the ground so I "walk safely."   May our walk with God during this Advent season be one where "all shall see" the glory of God in our lives.

- Norma Finley


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