Faith to Descend

“The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, something is wrong. It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil obsessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains… We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in.” Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest

So that’s why this feels like the valley….it is!!

I do love those mountain top experiences, though. I even like the climb. It’s exciting, invigorating, courageous and adrenaline pumping.

But I don’t like to climb down. The steep decline hurts my knees. I might slip on the rocks. God must push me on farther.

I complain that I’ve seen all the scenery before. I want to turn around and go back up, but God gently tells me it’s time to go back to “real” life.

I relate with Peter in the transfiguration of Jesus. Peter gets the “mountain top” experience of seeing Jesus clothed in His glory and he says, “Hey Jesus, I know where I can find some tents. We can set up one for each of us!”

Nope. We aren’t made to pitch our tent on the top of the mountain. We’re made to dwell in the valley.           

Well, since we’re on this 31 day journey together, I’m going to share with you what my valley looks like. Your valley may look or smell different, but we all walk through the valley. I pray as I share mine you would see me as friend seeking to take your hand and say, It’s Ok. Let’s walk through this together, even if you’re not facing this exact situation.

You are not alone. Yes, valleys are dark and scary. But so much better with a friend.

***

I did something yesterday I never pictured myself doing. I called the local school and made an appointment with the Superintendent about transferring my children there next year.

Talk about a dark, scary valley. I can’t even see the mountain top from here.

This is my 7th year of homeschooling. It’s been hard. It’s been easy. This year has been mostly hard.

These past few weeks, as you can tell if you’ve followed this 31 day journey, have been extra hard. I’ve not been myself. I’ve felt backed into a corner and the protection mechanisms of “fight or flight” have kicked in.

As a lion personality, I know if I fight, I’ll hurt the people I love the most. So, I just want to fly away and not face this anymore. Kenya, Arkansas, Ohio, I’ll go anywhere!

I don’t feel like a whole person. I’m caged. Locked up. Can’t breathe. This can’t be healthy. And, no, it isn’t – for me or my household.

I’m not being selfish for seeking help. It would be selfish of me not to!

Homeschooling takes commitment and sacrifice and I feel I have nothing left to sacrifice.

Have you ever been there? Maybe it’s not homeschooling. Maybe it’s your marriage, your job, your___, but you feel you have done everything and it’s still not enough. I feel you.

To even be in this place, to recognize my need for help takes faith. Faith to believe God will work when I’ve reached the end of myself and I don’t even know how to pray. Faith that what I erected as a tower of comfort and security may not be the best…will I trust Him to be that, instead of my own creations?

I’ve tried not to cast a negative light on public school, but inwardly I’ve been thankful we didn’t have to navigate those waters. Today I’m eating big bites of humble pie. For I confess to you that I have held proud, narrow-minded thoughts to my fellow moms who do send their children to school.

Please forgive me.

Until you walk in the shoes of someone else, you have no idea how those shoes feel.

I can be passionate about what I love and what I do without condemning the other side. I haven’t always done that well.

There’s freedom here in surrender. I see my seed of faith sprouting in ways I never dreamed of. I see faith uprooting the fear that used to grow.

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  • Fear of change
  • Fear of making decisions that will ruin someone’s life forever (I really don’t have that much power!)
  • Fear of failure
  •  Fear of what people will think

I’ve held on to those fears for too long. It’s time to let those go. Yes, my decisions carry weight and I don’t want to just let whatever happen, but God is in control, not me.

As I walk through this valley, I pray for faith to receive God’s grace today, whether we homeschool or not.

So what are we going to do? Stay tuned, I’m sure there’s more to come!

In the meantime, what valleys are you walking through? Do they seem dark in comparison to the light you felt on the mountain? Will you keep going?

I hope you do! Let’s keep going together. This journey takes a community.

Thanks for travelling with me today. I hope you’ll check back tomorrow.

~Julie


I hope your faith is growing along with mine as we explore this topic of faith every day for 31 days. If you’re just now joining me, you can catch up on all my posts HERE.

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8 thoughts on “Faith to Descend

  1. Michelle Hollenbeck says:

    Asking for help is one of the hardest things for me! Perhaps my mom taught me those lessons of strength a little too well. Though the truth is for me it takes more strength to ask for help then it does to bear it myself. I will pray for God to show you the path that is right for you and your family! Those paths do change from time to time.

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  2. Jen Daugherty says:

    Aw, Julie…you are so brave to admit your struggles here. Your family is going to find the right solution for all of you, and when you do, this time will fade away and you will all be stronger for it! Keep walking through the valley, because the sunrise at the top of the mountain is going to be amazing!

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  3. Jennifer Lane says:

    Well I don’t think it was coincidence that your blog was posted right before mine on that FaceBook 31Dayer prompt. I have been through this. I home school my two youngest right now, but my oldest is in public school. And it was a rocky road of back and forth. The hardest thing about the transition was my hurt pride. How silly is that? It should have been about my daughter’s education, but no. When we first transferred her to public school, I had home schooled her from 4 yr old to half way through 8th grade. And I was on our local home school associations’s board. I was so afraid of what my home school friends were going to say & think. We had collectively “bad mouthed” public school so often that their words were bouncing around in my head. I sat in my bathroom and cried. I knew it was the right choice for my daughter, but boy was it hard. After 1/2 year at a public charter school, I brought her back home and home schooled two years of high school. (I think I thought I was going to redeem myself as a super home school mom.) But when we were still hitting awful ruff patches, and I knew that public school was again the best thing for her. I prayed all summer long, and I just had a peace about the public school. Well, that transition was as smooth as falling off a cliff. The two years of home school high school didn’t count for anything because it wasn’t accredited. They gave her credit for 1 year of Spanish because it was clear she wasn’t a beginner. She had to redo five classes online at night. She had to move her graduation date back a year (something I was pretty ok with because she had done Kindergarten at 4 yr old.) And the transition of having to be around worldly, nonChristian kids was very hard at first. After 1 1/2 in public high school, she just recently had that “aha” moment where she is living her Christian life out in front of her public school friends and standing up for her beliefs. It has been a long time coming. It was so hard to watch her navigate those waters, but her personal relationship with Jesus has never been so strong. Sorry this is so long. I just know that I had a hard time finding anyone in the home school community (of which I still belong) that would even say that putting your kids in public school might be the best thing for them. And I wanted to encourage you. You are a good mom! It’s ok if your pride is hurt, if you learn from it. You’re not the only one who’s felt that fear, and I know God is constantly calling me to more humility and less fear. Thanks for that reminder.

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    • juliesteck says:

      Oh Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story! It is so good to know I am not alone. I thank you for your encouragement. You too are a good mom. We have to do the hard things when we know what is best, no matter what that looks like to us or others.

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  4. Leanne says:

    You are a great mama, you know that? One thing comes to mind when I read this… my therapist once reminded me that while there’s a great view from the mountaintop, there’s sparse vegetation. All the lush growth is down in the valley. Dang if she wasn’t right! Somehow that made me feel better about being in the valley. ❤

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