I’m sitting at my kitchen table. It’s covered with chalkboard paint and little doodles from my roommate and I. Flowers and a cute ceramic owl to one side of me and a steaming mug of frothy coffee to the other. I love my mug, it’s big and red and has a ‘K’ on it…Winners. That store is awesome. The window is open slightly, the wind blowing the curtain and my fluffy dog is begging to be pet at my feet.

I have a cute life. It’s adorable! Quiet, peaceful, busy when it needs to be. Family, friends, a good job. I’m so blessed!

I realized as I sat here yesterday, having my daily reading time, that I’ve been through a valley lately. In the last few months I’ve been fighting what I knew was a huge lie, that I was undeserving to be in God’s presence. I would sit down (or maybe not even sit down, but just think about) and try to have quality time with God and this overpowering feeling of guilt, displeasure…I’m not sure how to describe it…would overcome me and I couldn’t present myself to Him. I didn’t feel adequate to pray or to read the bible. A voice, a lie, was whispered into my ear that He wasn’t hearing me, that I was faking my relationship with Him. And, as I had my morning coffee yesterday, I realized that I hadn’t felt that, or heard those lies, one single bit in the last week. I don’t know what changed, but those thoughts, Satan’s lies, just disappeared. I had unknowingly climbed from the dark, dry valley and reached the summit. Thank God!

Isn’t interesting that sometimes you fight a spiritual battle knowingly – you pray, you cry, you claim verses over the situation – and sometimes, all you have the energy or brain-space for is a simple prayer and suddenly you realize its over.

I love the feeling of when the cloud lifts. You’ve been feeling a burden for a while, you can’t seem to shake it, but then one day you wake up feeling awake. Feeling like you can breathe. Feeling like a battle has been won. It’s so amazing knowing that God and His warriors are fighting for us when we aren’t even aware. I believe that we still need to be sensitive to what He is asking us to do, how He is asking us to take part in the battle, but there are times when all we can do is say His name and trust that He is taking care of the rest.

As I’m learning lately, there are wins and there are losses, but they’re all used in God’s plan for your life. To form you into the person He needs you to be.

I’ve failed, I’ve fallen, I’ve turned my back purposely. And even if those choices aren’t what God would want for me ideally, they’re still parts of my story He saw coming and will use for His Glory. There is a reason for everything and as long as we remind ourselves in the desert and valley, that He should be our focus and our destination, we will come out the other side with more experiences to help us, or even others, through the next stage that He has planned.

I was thinking yesterday about my experiences trying to run away from my marriage.

One of the memories that came to mind was the weekends I spent with my boyfriend. I was very invested in the relationship and had told him I was in love with him. We were talking about moving in together, how we would raise kids together and he had mentioned buying me a ring. My heart was more involved with him than it had been with any other man. But still…still there was something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. There was a wall between us, a level that I just couldn’t get to. It didn’t matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t allow myself to fully relax with him. I enjoyed his company, I had fun, but I knew that my heart wasn’t as invested as it needed to be…there was something missing.

I always looked forward to the weekends we spent together. When I had time off of work it was spent with my boyfriend and every time I had this image of the weekends being relaxing. I wanted to feel rejuvenated, refreshed and content. And I’m sure that’s what people saw me enjoying with him. But that’s not entirely what my heart felt. Every weekend ended with the feeling that I needed something more, that we had rushed around too much and that the goal hadn’t been achieved. I felt more restless than before. And that feeling almost left me panicky. What was wrong that I couldn’t reach that goal? What was wrong with me that I couldn’t break that invisible wall down?

Being that my husband is involved with someone else right now, I tend, as most people would, to believe what my eyes are telling me. They look happy in pictures, his family thinks he’s happy, life seems to be going pretty smoothly…But if I remember how my life seemed to others when I was rebelling against God and how I still appeared happy and content to those around me, I should know that you can’t always believe what you are seeing.

Chances are, if you can see trouble, there’s even more going on under the surface. Like rapids on the river. If there’s movement on the top, there’s even more current underneath.

If you are in a situation where you are judging the book by the cover and not trusting that God is working even when you can’t see it, stop. If God has given you specific instructions and you are following his commands, keep going regardless of what your eyes are telling you. Trust that God knows what he is doing, because he really does and he really is. Be obedient, take the steps that he is instructing you to take, and trust that he is working on the other side of the mountain. There’s a point to God’s instructions. He isn’t just asking to you to walk a certain way for fun. He’s doing it for a reason.

When I was dating my boyfriend, everyone around thought we were the cutest thing. We looked good together, we were happy together, we had fun together, we made an effort for each other and we told people how happy we were. We were everything we were supposed to be as a couple and when you looked at us, you would have thought that everything was going smoothly.

Don’t make assumptions from what you see. There is so much more happening under the surface.

God is working even when it doesn’t seem like he is even looking in your direction.

When I was sleeping with my boyfriend I was thinking of my husband (two years later!). But I wasn’t telling my closest friends that. When we would go on dates I would wish he would do things my husband used to do. But I wasn’t telling my friends that. During sex I would wish he would do things or say things my husband used to do. But I wouldn’t dream of telling my friends that.

If your spouse is running away from your marriage, don’t trust what your eyes are seeing or what your ears are hearing of their circumstances. They are searching for God and until they find him, they will never be content.

Satan’s lies are temporary thrills so why would we stay in them permanently?

Every single time I would say ‘never’ about my marriage, my heart squeezed inside me. “I will never move back to my home town”: my heart told me I would. “I would never try things again with my husband”: My heart told me I would. Whatever a ‘never’ was attached to what I was saying, I knew in my heart it wasn’t true.

Don’t trust what your rebellious spouse is saying or what their lifestyle looks like because chances are high that the exact opposite is happening in their heart and they know it.

This is where being prayer warrior is critical. Bend those knees, get on your face before God and know that even when you don’t see him working, he is! Allow God the space to work in your spouses life because he can do a much better job than you could even attempt.