By Bryn Rademaker
If you have ever spent time in the mountains, you have most likely had your breath taken away by the vastness and utter beauty of the view around you (or it was taken away by hiking in the altitude, let’s be real). Every time I get the opportunity to explore around hills and valleys, I am reminded that the beautiful views are worth the journey, even if the hike is strenuous or challenging.
In elementary school, my class was assigned the task of looking up the meaning/definition of our first names and writing a reflective paper on how it relates to our lives—pretty exciting, right? I remember doing a Google search of “meaning of the name Bryn” and being disappointed with what I found: “‘Bryn’ means ‘hill or mound’ in Welsh.”
“Are you kidding me?” I said to myself, “How can I work with this?” In a hurry to complete the assignment, 4th grade-Bryn rambled on for 2 pages about how my life was full of ups and downs, scraping to find examples in my personal experiences. Little did I know that my name meaning would become true in my own spiritual life and in the lives of those around me in the coming years…
This month’s song, a beautiful acoustic tune by Tauren Wells, is called “Hills and Valleys.” It paints a rich picture of how life can be full of joys but also doused with sorrows, especially through our humanity.
The mountains, otherwise known as the joyful and consoling times in our lives, can be uplifting and give us a sense of hope and wonder in the Lord. The valleys, challenging times in our lives that may be sorrowful, tend to lead us into doubt or despair more often than not. No matter how difficult or wavering the path, however, the truth of God’s grace remains consistent and firm:
“You’re God of the hills and valleys, and I am not alone,” Wells sings. “Through it all you will remain over it all!”
We all have a choice when it comes to responding to these mountains and valleys that the Lord allows in our lives. “Hills and Valleys” offers hopeful suggestions for each of these:
- “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.”
Looking back at the past few years of my life through big transitions, relationships, and life decisions, I notice those times when my faith wavered in the valleys even though the Lord remained constantly faithful. Being able to recognize where I was on the mountain at certain times in my life helped me see the times I am in most need of trusting Him.
It is in those moments wandering down below when we have a hard time clinging to the mountain peaks we see up above. On the other end, moments of consolation and spiritual highs are easy to trust God’s will in.
Our homeboys and homegirls (the saints) give us incredible examples of this trust throughout their lives, especially amidst climbing up the mountain from down below. St. Mother Teresa was known for encouraging her religious sisters to remain faithful even when times were hard—when they complained about the “long hours” of prayer, she replied by telling them to pray TWICE as much when they didn’t feel like it. Now THAT’S some bold advice!
Take Momma T’s advice, my friends, and don’t look down while hiking through the valley. Let us always remember:
“No matter what I have, Your grace is enough.
No matter where I am, I’m standing in your love.”
~ Tauren Wells is famously recognized as the lead singer in the Christian pop band Royal Tailor that began amidst his Bible college education. After a few years rocking Royal Tailor and transitioning through new seasons of his life (marriage and children), he branched off as a solo artist in 2017 and held the number one spot on the radio for his hit “Love is Action.” According to his website, Wells has a “deep desire to draw people closer to their identity in the Lord” and feels “called to call greatness out of people.” When not on tour, he leads worship at Elevation and Lakewood Churches. Other famous hits to check out by Tauren Wells are “Known” and “God’s Not Done With You,” along with Royal Tailor’s band tunes of “Make a Move,” “Got That Fire,” “Hold Me Together,” and “Remain.”