August 6, 2009

Life in the Valley

We've been back from the Dominican Republic for six days—it's been a tough week. My fellow D.R. missionaries and I have been exchanging emails recalling precious memories and lamenting the jarring landing into our "real" lives. We all want to freeze time to hold captive our experiences. We want to stay on the mountaintop.

When Peter, James and John went onto the mountaintop with Jesus and witnessed the glory of God at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17), they, too, wanted to stay in that experience. But Jesus had other plans and the next morning He led them back down to the valley. The moment they returned, they faced chaos, conflict and crisis. So much for savoring the moment.

It seems that God gives us our mountaintop experiences not so we can remain in them forever, but so we can return to the valley and share God's glory with others. So we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to the hurting, broken, conflicted and lost.

It's been an especially emotional week. My heart if full of joy and sadness. Contentment and longing. Assurance and anticipation.

When my family and I returned home from the DR, the first message we received when we walked in the door was that our dear friend and sister in Christ who's battling cancer had taken a turn for the worse. The sad news dragged us down from the mountaintop, back to reality. OK, Lord, we've seen your glory in the DR. Help us to bring your power and hope to our friend and our church family. In our sadness let us pray with the same assurance of your goodness as we prayed in our joy.

Please pray for our dear friend Kirsten as we storm the gates of heaven with prayers for healing.

After a long time away, I had the chance to go to the prison this week. It felt good to re-connect with the inmates. Imagine my joy when I learned they'd been praying for our trip to the Dominican Republic! Graciously they allowed me to share a bit about our experiences there and I once again was overwhelmed by their enthusiastic support. It's always a question how worship will unfold and this week God blessed us with one of the most powerful services I've experienced.

It seems like divine timing that this week I'm also attending a writers' conference. Last year this conference confirmed my calling as a writer. This year my heart is soft and ready to receive. As a "veteran," I'm branching out in the classes I'm taking, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, but most of all I'm seeing the wonderfully important job we writers have for the Kingdom. (My friends from last year's conference who aren't there...I miss you!)

Right now I feel God's presence in a big way, but it's diffuse and undefined. I pray God clarifies my next steps... and that I have the wisdom (and courage) to follow.

Where is God leading you?

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:21)


Anonymous said...

So true... if only those mountain tops were a little longer lasting... But I suppose that's exactly what makes them so special. Great reading about your trip. Look forward to another Mt top experience at your writers conf!

Laura said...

Welcome home, Kelligirl! I can't wait to hear more of your adventures and see how God uses your experience here in your everyday.

I'll pray for your sweet friend, Kristin.


Terri Tiffany said...

Welcome back. Oh how we need those mountaintop experiences to help when we go through the valley again. I'm so sorry about your friend. I know she is probably glad you are around for her.
enjoy the conference--is it the Philly one?

Carmen said...

It seems God gives us just what we need to carry on and give back out again. It makes me wonder. His ways are so much higher than our ways. How then can a man know the way in which he is to go? It's only by following in faith and knowing His Word, I suppose. I'm kind of thinking aloud here...

Truly, I'm glad to hear things went well in the DR and that you're home safely again. I'm sure your transition back will be adventurous and yet fulfilling. Welcome back!

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, sorry to hear about your friend. What a difficult time -- not only for her, but all those who love her.

So glad you are getting to go to a conference. Hope it's a wonderful, filling time!

Laurie said...

Hi there! I know the mountain top experience and also wish to remain. In fact this is one of them here. So nice to have met you!

Truth4thejourney said...

Hi Kelli,

Praying for God to intervene with your friend.

I enjoyed catching up with you at the conference! I've posted pictures and linked to your blog. Stop by to see them!

Sonya Lee

PS. This is a great post for me to read after returning from the Philly Conference. Reality does hit hard!

Melanie said...

An anointed post here.

Anonymous said...


Having done my own mission work, I know (first hand!) the jumble of emotions that you speak of. I love that you compared it to Matthew 17. I love that you are so well versed in the Bible. You inspire me to learn more so I can grow closer to and stronger in God.

It is important to remember that our mission here on earth is much wider and great than just the trips that we have labeled 'mission trips'. There are people we encounter in our every day life that need us to treat them with kindness, compassion and love, too.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I understand.

I've been "there" countless times before.

There's someone else who understands; in fact one who has planned on your arrival home.

The enemy.

Don't be surprised by his assaults on your heart. Plan for them by absorbing your complete mind, soul, and body in the anchor of God's Word.

The valley is where God shapes us most accurately. Mountains are gifts. Valleys are the places where we spend those gifts.

Spend them well, sweet friend, and know that I am thinking of you this day.