For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you. 

Isaiah 54:10

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Hi friends,

This weekend was a chaotic rollercoaster of emotions. It was State Finals for Bible Quizzing here in North Carolina. Those of you who know me and my family know that Ben, my 15-year-old is involved in this incredible Bible verse competition. This year the material covered Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 Timothy, and Titus, and Ben memorized all 419 verses. So, it crushed us when on Friday, during the competition, he struggled. The game we lost, he actually scored in the negative. He was so upset and questioned himself, his value, and whether being in quizzing was worth it. The next day, we prayed for peace and encouraged Ben to get in there and do the best he can. He did. The first quiz match, he earned 140 points. The second quiz match, he earned 110 points. He continued into the other quiz matches with that same intensity and ended up earning the top spot on the all-tournament team. He was beaming! He was so proud of himself for giving it his all. Yet, the day before, he was discouraged and thought about quitting.

But it got me thinking about mountains and valleys. We sure do love the mountain-top experiences. We’re soaring in victory! We feel confident and assured! But then, we hit a snag in life, and find ourselves in the valley. In a moment, we forget about our mountain-top experiences. We momentarily forget about our victories, and instead, we focus on the hardship of the current situation.

In life, there will be mountains and valleys. There are highs and lows. How we handle our emotions and our thought-process and actions during these moments are so important. I’m reminded of the story of David. He was on the run for years, and he and his men were actually mercenaries for the enemy because they were unwanted in their land. King Saul sought to kill them, which left them no choice. To make matters worse, they come back to their camp at Ziklag and find everything burned to the ground. Their wives and children gone. Another enemy came in and stole all of what they had. David’s men were furious and grief-stricken…and took it out on David. They talked amongst themselves about killing him. The Bible explains what happened:

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

That’s the answer: David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. When it comes to the valleys of life–low points that bring us down and discourage us–we have a choice to make. Do we let emotions take over and give in? Do we continue in negative self-talk? Or do we remind ourselves of who God is? Because whatever path we’re on or whether we find ourselves on top of the mountain or low in the valley, God is STILL God. He is in control, and His mercies fail not.

Be encouraged, friends. Don’t let life’s struggles get you down.