I've walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I've felt the pain of heartbreak
And I've seen the brighter days
And I've prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held the blessings
God, you give and take away
No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I'm standing in Your love
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I'm standing on the mountain, I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley end, I I know I’m not alone!
You're God of the hills and valleys
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone
I've watched my dreams get broken
In you, I hope again
No matter what I know
I know I'm safe inside Your hand
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley end, I know I’m not alone!
You're God of the hills and valleys!

Hills and Valleys - Tauren Wells

Isn’t that just absolutely beautiful?

This past week my lovely roommate read these words for me when I needed them the most. They truly speak to me.

As this school year comes to a close, I’ve been trying to find time to reflect on what God and man have taught me this year—it has been a series of hills and valleys.

This school year, it feels as though God has stripped so much of my safety nets from me...forcing me to my knees where I can only find comfort in Him.

And it hurts—man does it hurt.

I’ve had to say goodbye to people, accept failure, sit in discomfort, and lack closure.

And now looking back on it, honestly it's one of the first times I have ever doubted whether or not growth is worth it.

I don’t know that I have felt as empty handed as I have this year, and God has so graciously cared for me through the emptiness.

I think we forget sometimes that God takes away. Or at least I know I did.

Full disclosure: One of my faults is that I assume that things will come easily to me and this is 100% pride. My pride has too much power over me. It is like a poison that spreads into every blood cell until my brain fools me into believing that I more than I am.

God has been graciously revealing to me pieces of this brokenness inside of me until I cannot deny that it is there. Because of this, He has taught me to pray that He might humble me.

I’ve heard before that this is the most difficult thing you can pray and every time I hear someone say this, I roll my eyes at how much I’ve heard it.

But it is honestly so painful. So painful that I can’t fathom why He would take certain things from me. It hurts so much that I wonder why it is necessary.

But guys, in order to understand who God truly is, you need to understand your need for Him. And in order to understand your need for Him, you need to be absolutely humiliated. You need to be stripped naked before your savior, who will gently cover you with His love. A kind of love that you would have never understood before you still wore those false safety nets…

Those grades

Those titles

Those gifts

Those relationships

Whatever it is that you use to falsely identify yourself. God wants to take those things from us that we might realize there are much better things waiting.

Yes, He takes away. Of course, He takes away.

And how kind of Him. How absolutely gracious of Him that He would gently care for us as little children who know not what we do.

I am a child. He has opened my eyes, to see that I am nothing without Him. My life means nothing— has no purpose— without Him.

It saddens me that He had to take so much from me in order for me to realize this, yet is it not our human nature to create idols? This is why I need a savior.

And this is why I adore this song.

Yes, He gives and takes away, but He takes away my pain as well as my false joys.

When we say prayers from our lowest place, we have truly been humiliated into a deeper relationship with Him.

And whether I am living in discomfort, or living in complete joy, I am never where His love is not—and I will truly understand Him when His love is all I have.

It is so hard, but we are called to pray this prayer in our lowest place. When it feels as though life is throwing nothing but bad news at you, trust that it is God entrusting you with a chance at growth. He is calling you to higher places and He knows you can make it.

And with a heart that has been humbled anew, He will graciously lift us from our darkest valleys and place us on the mountain tops that we may see where we have been. And from the top, with our humbled hearts, we will know that we could never have gotten there on our own.

He set us there.

And though we still have much to learn, pray for this heart of humility and remember that He is the God of both hills and valleys.

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1).