Searching for Contentment in the Valleys of Life

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I felt like a fool! I knew I had walked across the house to get something from this room, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember what it was!

How could I have forgotten so quickly what I needed and why I thought it would be located in this part of the house?

 

Have you ever felt lost in your own home, wandering from one room to another, searching for something you know you need but can’t exactly remember why?

 

There was a season in my life, not too long ago, where it seemed as though I was aimlessly wandering from one thing to the next.

I lacked purpose, and even when I felt like I had finally found my path, I somehow managed to lose my way before I ever arrived at the destination.

My heart desperately wanted to return to the  mountaintop, but a cloud bank had settled over the valley I was in, and I could no longer see how to get back to where I once was.

God, in His faithfulness, didn’t answer my fervent prayers to be rescued from the valley.

Instead, He lifted the fog just enough to show me how beautiful life in the valley can be, if I ask Him for the strength to embrace it.
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Today I want to encourage you to stop looking for mountaintop experiences because it is in the valleys of life that we discover what we are made of.

 

We each face our own battles in this life.

Some struggle with career or finances; others with unsatisfying relationships or wayward children.

I’ve known people who seem to collide with misfortune at every turn, and others who, by all outward appearances, live a charmed life.

I have come to the conclusion that it is not what life does to us that matters, but how we respond to our lot that defines us.

 

 

My own personal battle is a physical one.

I may look and seem normal to you.

If we met at a party or you saw me playing at the park with my children, you would never be able to perceive the inner battle I am fighting each and every day.

I have a myriad of health issues that plague me with chronic fatigue, headaches and body pain.

Pain is something I deal with on a daily basis, and it has forced me to embrace a  different kind of lifestyle.

 

Rather than longing for the mountain top experiences of my past, I have learned to be grateful for the grace God has given me in the valley.

 

Valley living has forced me to seek a balance and to look heavenward for strength when my own is faltering.

It has taught me the value of rest, the importance of asking for help, and the necessity of living to please God alone.

 I would not be the person I am apart from the lessons I have learned from embracing life in the valley.

 

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About three years ago, I hit a physical low.

I had been dealing with daily headaches for more than a year, and it was taking an emotional toll.

Even when we discovered the source of my problem {a low-level carbon monoxide leak in our home}, it took me well over a year to fully recover.

Through this process, we learned that my body does not detoxify properly, and I was encouraged to eliminate as many environmental toxins from my life as possible.

As I began taking tentative steps towards a greener way of life, I developed a strong desire to grow my own food.

I began to long for a different kind of lifestyle, one that connected me with the land and required me to get my hands dirty.

I needed a fresh start, and I literally found it in the valley.

 

sarah with produce

 

An opportunity presented itself for my husband and me to build a home in the country, and we embraced the idea of a new beginning.

The little piece of land we chose to develop wasn’t much to look at, that is if you were only to look inward at the property itself.

But when you look up, and out, the view was transformative!

 

I came to this land broken and worn, but I the rich soil and the sweeping views have inspired new growth in me.

 

I am so grateful the Lord allowed me to suffer because it was through that suffering that I discovered my need for a sacred retreat from the busyness of this world.

Today I want to encourage you to stop looking for mountaintop experiences, because it is in the valley of life that we discover what we are made of. | SarahKoontz.com

 

Our little valley is lush and green, surrounded by tall pines and blue skies.

Life in the valley has changed my family in every way.

 

We don’t rush about, nor are we eager to leave for any reason at all.

We spend our days working hard and our evenings enjoying fruits of our labor.

 

Today I want to encourage you to stop looking for mountaintop experiences, because it is in the valley of life that we discover what we are made of. | SarahKoontz.com

 

We grow our own food and we enjoy the company of our small flock of chickens.

We relish the simple things that we were too busy for when we lived in the city.

We found a new way of living in the valley, and we are stronger than ever before.

 

I do not want people to remember me for the fleeting moments I have spent on the mountaintop because I long to be known for the life that I lived in the valley.

 

The rich, fertile valley brought healing to my body and restoration to my soul.

 

Today I want to encourage you to stop looking for mountaintop experiences, because it is in the valley of life that we discover what we are made of. | SarahKoontz.com

 

I believe that we were created to embrace valley living, yet the world has somehow convinced us that the mountain top is where it’s at!

I don’t want to spend the rest of my life looking down on the world from the top of the mountain, I would much dedicate my days to looking upward.

The valleys of this life force us to look up and out at the beauty that surrounds us, and that is the sort of life I want to create for my family.

 

 

I have built a new kind of life here in the valley, and I want to invite you to join me.

It’s a small life, a simple life, but it is full of contentment and purpose.

 

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Encouragement for today. What if we were to stop searching for mountaintop experiences? What if our purpose was to embrace pain and suffering, search for balance and rest, and look up and out at the world from the valley rather than down at it from the mountain top? I am learning that it is the valleys of life where we discover what we are made of. Christian | Woman | Encouragement | Prayer | Hope | Truth |  Women Inspired | Healing | Faith

 

What lessons have you learned in the valleys of life?

I would love to hear from you in the comments, and I am sure other readers would benefit from your perspective as well.

 

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Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

 
Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life.

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Read Sarah’s full Bio Here.

24 thoughts on “Searching for Contentment in the Valleys of Life

  1. What a blessing to hear about your positive life decisions that have boosted you out of your slump. We do have a tendency to be so focused on getting out of our valleys that we fail to look around us for the lessons God wants us to carry out of the valley with us. Blessings to you!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Michele. I hate to use the phrase…the older I get…..but I am also grateful that age and experience brings wisdom. The mountaintops of life are truly spectacular, but they shouldn’t be our daily expectation. The valleys are where the hard work is, but so much fruit! Thank you for stopping by and adding to the conversation!

  2. The valley’s in life do seem to produce the greatest blessings or life changes for us. Yet while we are in the valley we are often wishing it away. Love that you embraced it! I love your garden! Ours was such a flop this year!

    1. Thank you Ana! It is my third year gardening, and this was by far the most challenging season. If you enjoy gardening and want to learn more, I would encourage you to visit my other blog at Grounded & Surrounded where I write a lot more about my love for gardening. Don’t give up, it’s the failures of life that teach us so much!

  3. Sarah,
    Beautifully written! I totally understand about being content in the valley. I believe we are where The Lord wants us at this moment in life; it’s important to embrace that.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts.

  4. Sarah, I couldn’t agree more. And I needed to hear these words at this moment. I wrote often during the write 31 days in October about God needing to push me down the mountain…how I love the mountain top, but He showed me I was made for the valley. There’s no vegetation on the mountain top. So, I will join you in this valley and seek to enjoy my own. Thank you for sharing your journey…it encouraged me this evening to keep going. Sometimes our limitations are invitations to see more of Him.

    1. Julie, your comment made me think about how marriage is sort of like life in the valley. We still remember the feelings that we experienced when we fell in love (life on the mountaintop), but the rich and fruitful love of marriage is different than the mountaintop experience…it’s found in the valley. I love how you said that our limitations are invitations to see more of Him, truly beautiful Julie.

  5. I truly enjoyed this post, Sarah. I have written about life in the valley before and I connected with you right away on that principle. However, I, understand the invisible struggle you are facing. I get that and it is hard, though not impossible, because you are doing the things that are necessary to function and that is what makes us appreciate the good and to learn to give thanks in the difficult. This though,” I am so grateful the Lord allowed me to suffer because it was through that suffering that I discovered my need for a sacred retreat from the busyness of this world.”, this is beautiful. When we choose to embrace the crosses we carry, when we make the passion of pursuing grace in the midst of the living, we become the light bearers shining a way to the Cross and it is a truly life giving hope that radiates.

    Blessed by your words today!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Dawn

    1. Embracing our cross, such worthwhile task! Christ truly does work in the valleys, doesn’t He? I am so glad to have connected with you today, it’s nice to know that I am not alone in my trials. Happy Thanksgiving to you, my fellow Light Bearer!

  6. This post I totally get. The valley of life is often the hardest ones but it makes climbing to the mountain top worth it. Makes the view so worth it! Thank-you for the inspiration today!

  7. I couldn’t love this more. I did not see the farm coming! 🙂 And in a valley! We also grow some of our own stuff but our plot does not look like yours!

    But to get to the heart of the issue, I have had plenty of valley time. The biggest thing I got out of it was a relationship with God. For that, I would take any valley time that needs to come my way.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed this post, Jennnie. Between you and me, I didn’t see the farm coming either! But we have grown accustomed to valley living, and find that it suits us quite nicely. Because valley living forces us to depend on God and strengthen our relationship with Him. You couldn’t be more right about the fact that the benefits of walking with God far outweigh the sacrifices of the valley. Blessings to you, come back for a visit soon!

  8. I have stuggled with having a purpose and realizing my life has meaning. I struggle with self confidence, continuing my faith, being patient with Gods plans and much more. I have hit a low before and it probably won’t be my last but if I never would of hit that low a year ago I would of never realized what was important in my life and what I should be truly concentrating on. We all have our battles like you said and I hope that I continue to gain faith and strength from God to continue this journey because I truly want to know how my story ends!! Thank you for sharing, it has made me feel better about this battle that I’m fighting and makes me want to keep continuing on this journey in life! Much love!

    1. Selena, thank you for your honesty and your dear heart! It is so obvious to me how desperately you long to know the TRUTH and experience the FREEDOM that is in Christ. The valleys of life are difficult and confusing, but they often reveal to us our own strength and our deep need for God’s redeeming work in our life.

      I am doing a bible study on the Armor of God by Priscilla Schrier. I think you would deeply benefit from this study. You need the armor, Girl! This life is a battle, but we have access to so much through what Christ did for us on the cross.

      God has promised that he has a beautiful plan for your life, a plan to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11), He also promises to supply all of our needs (Phil 4:19). It is hard to trust these promises in the valleys of life, but I believe that we are lost without them.

      I pray that the Lord strengthens your faith, fills your heart and mind with His truth, and directs your paths. Blessings to you, sister! Fight on!

  9. Of course it was divine for me to stumble across this article at this precise moment. I have literally walked the same valley for the past 3 months ailed with physical pain, severe muscle weakness and chronic fatigue. It took me awhile to realize that I was in a valley but God has been gracious and given me breakthrough! Today I go to the Dr. to get an official diagnosis but it doesn’t matter. My hope and strength are in the Lord alone. Thank you for your article it has blessed me and encouraged me. Such a great reminder as I tread on.

    1. Gretchen, thank you for taking the time to share a bit of your story with me. I am so sorry to hear about your pain, and I know from experience how devastating it can be (both physically and emotionally) to live with chronic pain.

      I have experienced that the diagnosis process often isn’t as encouraging or enlightening as we hope it to be. If that is your experience, don’t fall into discouragement. God knows exactly what is happening in your body, and He can equip you with the strength and wisdom you need to make healthy choices.

      I share much more of my health journey on my other blog at http://www.groundedandsurrounded.com. I hope you swing by and find some encouragement there when you are feeling down.

  10. Love this post! We just started a new series in our church and it talks about contentment as well – more in relation to finding contentment and getting out of the “want more – buy more” rat race – but I just love how God has placed the series and your article in my path so close together.
    Thank you so much for sharing! This was a blessing to read.
    PS: You have a beautiful valley!

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