When I first met Lily at a local, Salem coffee shop, we were two strangers. Yet, I quickly found she housed a contagious joy within her royal blue eyes and burst of red hair. Life was hers to be conquered and explored. Her blog, Floral Bookshelves, is her outlet, or “passion project,” as she calls it. It was a blog post that initially drew me to hear out a portion of her story. After alluding to other writers and bloggers talking about the mountains and valleys of life, her next thought struck me: “no one really talks about the path from one to another.”
How profound, right?
Here is a brief snapshot of our interview:
You mentioned “the trail from the valley to the mountaintop” in one of your recent blog posts. What does this look like?
“When people are hiking, they have the Instagram photo on the top of the trail and it is gorgeous. You think, ‘this is so great!’ But, no one talks about the trail going up to the beauty and the barriers you overcame along the way.
I think that is such a great analogy for what I have gone through. I have not been on this Earth nearly as long as many other humans, but I have learned that it is seeing what the Lord has done from another perspective. It is not an immediate, like, ‘Wow. I am having a bad day. Then, tomorrow is going to be great.’ Instead, I get to go through the trail.
Sometimes, it can be hard to get off the trail or it is scary or you aren’t prepared.
It isn’t like you make one journey, from lowest low to highest high. It isn’t one consecutive path.”
Lily continued on to share about moving from Salem, Oregon to Brooklyn, New York, and the unforeseen transitions that were ahead of her. This was the moment when my soul started stirring.
How many of us loudly rejoice when we make it to the Instagram/picture-worthy moments in life and only lightly applaud when we are brave enough to leave behind a debilitating valley?
Friends, I believe we have it backwards, upside-down. As Lily pointed out, we are all ready to revel in the beauty of the mountain and mourn in the depths of the valley. But, we live under the assumption that these two places are the only acceptable locations to dwell in or seek help. This lie has made its way into our hearts and minds, so we often struggle to believe God can intercede on our behalf if we don’t have a mountain or valley experience to offer Him. Instead, I would offer this description:
The trail between every mountain and its valley is:
- the place where we spend most of our lives
- the place we need to invite more people to share with us
- the place where God reveals Himself steadily, quietly
Yes, the trail can often feel too long—can I get an amen?—or it can feel lonely or fill in the blank. Whatever thought or feeling we want to put in the equation, God still abides on the trail between the mountains and the valleys of life. He is still leading us up, around, in and out, for a purpose.
And so I say, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2b)
Because at the end of the day, it is His story He is telling through all of us.