mountains and valleys

Nora stood at the front of our church last month, her husband smiling beside her.  It was a communion Sunday, and she was giving the introduction.  Only her extremely short hair gave any hint to her battle with cancer.  And she began to talk, and she continued to smile, and she explained that this would be her last corporate communion…

because they were done fighting,

and her minutes remaining were few.

You could see the shock wave roll through the church as bodies immediately straightened and eyes began to water.  But Nora continued to smile.  She talked about regrets… that she had none.  She talked about family… that she loved and was loved immensely.  She talked about confession… that it was essential.  And then they passed the wine and the bread, and we gave thanks for a sacrifice made on our behalf that we might know a better life than the one we were living.  That we might love more than we thought possible.  That we might forgive the unforgivable, beginning with ourselves.

What beauty.

What unexpected beauty in the face of unimaginable tension.

I  imagine Christ felt the same way

sitting at that table so many nights ago

as He broke bread with his closest friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr., became the voice of hope and determination at a time when people were desperate for change and leadership.  The night before he was assassinated, he spoke these words:

‎”Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

full text HERE

NPR story HERE

What beauty.

What unexpected beauty in such an ugly, ugly time.

Patty singing the song inspired by MLK’s last speech

Sometimes I feel like
I’ve never been nothing but tired
And I’ll be working
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you asked me to

Glory, Glory.


I am so tired.

My Rylie and her battle

and my position in that battle

and her weapons for that battle

and especially her heart in that battle…

the mountain is so very high.

It’s messy, spilling into every part of our lives.

And it is exhausting.

But I think…

I think I’ll keep walking.

A bit slower here;

a bit faster there.

Bravely singing on Wednesday

to drown out Tuesday’s cries.

What more can I do?

I am nothing if not inspired by those-

so much greater than I-

who have walked the road before me.

May you continue on,

whatever mountain you are climbing, Friend.

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

8 responses to “mountains and valleys

  • Miss Laura

    So very timely, my friend. Punched me in the gut in a good, hopeful way this morning.

    A childhood friend/neighbor/classmate/teammate lost her fight with breast cancer yesterday morning, and there is a large graduating class of 1998 who will be comforted by these words today as we mourn a spitfire of a girl loved by all…and so I will share. Thank you, dear friend.

  • Andi

    Needed this so much. Did I need the tears in my coffee…not really. But words to my soul feel much better than coffee in my belly. Thanks friend.

  • Michael Yoder

    Why, oh why, did you feel it necessary to make me cry on a Monday morning! 🙂 Thanks for your post. Know that you are loved by the Yoder clan, and we plan to invade your personal space sometime soon.

  • Kim Aguilar

    One of the girls at our local high school lost her fight with cancer last week. All of our friends’ kids have been mourning her. Really, I’m inspired by the beauty of their love for her. And by His love for us. Thanks for touching my heart, Katie. As always.

  • Natalie Mulder

    Thank you for the encouragement on such a difficult day for me. Feeling a major spiritual fight for our kids this day and Godly wisdom seems dry and very far from me. Know that we are in this fight together my friend, despite the distance.

  • ebuckley

    The power of words…from an old book, a revered leader, or a bi-weekly blog.

    And…the power of love…from an old book, a revered leader, or a bi-weekly blog.

    Love to you Katie.

  • Julie Graham

    My daughter has sensory processing disorder. Your words said perfectly what I have not been able to find the words to say myself. Thank you for the words of healing and feeling of not being in this alone.

    I’m praying for you and your sweet girl today.

  • Julie

    I read this devotion today and it reminded me of this post on your blog. I wanted you to have it as extra armor for the battles in your life.

    Julie Graham
    I’m Beyond Hurt
    Melissa Taylor
    Proverbs 31 Ministries

    “All your words are true…” Psalm 119:160a (NIV)

    I’m beyond hurt.

    I’m beyond confused.

    I’m beyond stressed.

    I’m beyond tired…physically, emotionally and mentally.

    I could go on and on. But then I would be beyond depressed.

    When feeling like this, I realize I have to get my mind out of the gutter and anchor myself on God’s promises.

    I have to be intentional to focus on a different set of “beyond” statements or I quickly find myself in a pit. I know this from experience. Even if the “beyond” statements above are true, there are others that are also true.

    I am beyond blessed: From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16*

    I am beyond strong: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

    I am beyond secure: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

    I am beyond safe: Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. Psalm 138:7

    I am beyond hopeful: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

    I am beyond loved: But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. Psalm 13:5

    I am beyond valued: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

    I am beyond forgiven: Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48

    I am beyond found: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” Luke 15:4-6

    I am beyond complete: So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:10 (NLT)

    I can’t trust my feelings, or even circumstances, to tell me how I am. They change like the wind. Up one moment and easily shot down the next. His Word however, never changes. Its ceaseless truths go beyond emotions and whatever my day holds to anchor me to hope.

    Some days, weeks or even seasons of life are discouraging and we can’t see beyond the pain, hurt and stress. Searching God’s Word for His view of our circumstances and us lifts our eyes off the problems and onto Him. He’s our ultimate source of truth and encouragement!

    Dear Lord, thank You for recording Your Word for me to reflect on and find truth in. Thank You for giving hope and peace beyond my feelings and circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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