What do you do when life gets tough?


By Debbie Petras

There are times when life seems to be going along well. Maybe you’re in one of those seasons. You know, the kids are behaving and doing well in school. The bills are getting paid and you’re able to take family vacations. Or maybe your children are grown and it’s a good time for you and your husband.

I remember a season in my life when life seemed very good. I was living in my dream home. I was able to retire from my nursing career and spend time on activities I’d postponed for years. I volunteered and taught children in a weekly international Bible study. Vacations in Europe, a new car and beautiful clothes were the order of the day. I loved to be able to help my family and provide the extras for my parents. I was so grateful to Jesus. I thanked Him for the blessings in my life. I appreciated all I’d been given. I didn’t take it for granted.

But life doesn’t always continue on the mountain. Sometimes we go through valleys.

I was reminded of a song I love by Lynda Randle called “God on the Mountain”.

Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
and you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known.
But things change, when you’re down in the valley.
Don’t lose faith, for you’re never alone.

For the God on the mountain, is the God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right.
And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

We talk of faith way up on the mountain.
Talk comes so easy when life’s at its best.
Now down in the valleys, of trials and temptations
that’s where your faith is really put to the test.

There was a day when my life seemed to turn upside down. Gone was the dream home. Gone were the vacations. Gone was leisure time. There were days when I cried myself to sleep. Where would I live? Would I have to go back to work? I’d been retired for so many years that my nursing license wasn’t up to date.

What was I to do in this valley as life became tough?

I turned to the Lord; to my Savior and Protector. He had been with me through the good times. And He is with me through the struggles and tough times. Yes, my faith has been tested through these trials but I know whom I believe.

As Paul wrote to Timothy from prison:

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” 2 Timothy 1:12 ESV

It’s been four years since my life totally changed. And I can say that I still worship Jesus Christ. He has been my Rock and my shelter through the storms.

What does my life look like now? I live in a very small condo. I go to work every day in a different profession. I work in a private school setting with preschool children. I no longer go on trips to Europe. I don’t go shopping very often except maybe Costco. My car has over 100,000 miles. I’m writing a book. I love to photograph children and landed my first paying job last weekend.

God is so good. Through the trials He has comforted me. And He is opening doors that I would never have envisioned for myself.

So let me ask you a question. What do you do when life gets tough? Where do you go for help?

“For the God on the mountain, is the God in the valley.” Don’t ever forget that!

debbieDebbie Petras is originally from Long Island, New York but she and her husband Greg now live in Arizona.  She worked as a cardiovascular nurse for many years but currently works with preschool children.  Debbie was greatly influenced by her Christian grandparents but spent many years living a life that didn’t reflect her belief in Jesus.  At her grandmother’s funeral, Debbie felt the Lord speaking softly to her heart. She returned to church and began reading her Bible.  Life began to change as her love for Jesus grew and began to spill over to others.  Matthew 5:16 became one of her favorite Scriptures “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” She enjoys sharing her faith and writing on her blog Heart Choices as she inspires and encourages others.


21 Responses to What do you do when life gets tough?

  1. That is a great fact to remember, Debbie – The God on the mountain is the God in the valley. The very same God…We can trust Him during the tough times. And, we can know that if He has brought us to the valley, He’ll be sure to bring us through it.

    Blessings, Joan

  2. Debbie, you are an inspiration to me and many others….Yes you are right God is our God all the time not just in the good times and just as He promises He will be with us and take care of us on every leg of the journey He has created for us. Big hugs to you my friend…..

  3. I have the utmost respect for people like you who lose the material things but their true foundation stands. Jesus is our rock and He can never be taken from us. Your life sounds great and I applaud your courage to continue on in all that God has for you. I’m encouraged!

    • You’ve heard my stories in person Mary! So thankful for friends like you. God is so faithful and He is also faithful in bringing good friends alongside of me for encouragement. Thank you.

    • Yes Sheila, we are told in the Bible to expect suffering but it does still hurt! But so thankful that we don’t have to go through it alone as He is always with us. I find I draw closer to Him through difficulties and cling to Him.

  4. Powerful post Debbie! Thank you for sharing your heart/walk with Jesus and how He’s impacted your life even in the rough and tough times. You’re a true example of a woman who is walking with Jesus.

    Love you.

    • Lisa, you have been such a good friend and encourager to me. I thank you for the opportunity to share my story in the hopes that it will encourage others.

      Love you my sister in Christ,

  5. Great encouragement Debbie! God has walked with me through both valley and mountaintop. I fought and ranted through my early valleys, but after a couple deep and very painful times where my dependence on God grew like never before . . . I have learned that the God of highs and lows is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Glory!

  6. Oh, Debbie, I can almost hear the cry of your heart from the hurt of these past “dark days” and even though the Lord has seen you through, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still hurt at times. You are so inspiring and I would hope that I could walk through such a valley and come through as you have. I have definitely walked through some tough valleys and He has seen me through to the other side, but it just seems your “valley walk” was about as tough as it can get. Hugs to you!

  7. Hi Debbie! Your story really touches my heart. I know that you were thankful to the Lord for your good times, and now can say the same about the less-than-good times. You echo St. Paul who said he knew how to live with want and plenty and be happy. You are an inspiration.
    My husband has been unemployed for several years. It’s been a real trial, and I can say that it’s an adjustment to have him home all the time too. But I know that God will sustain and supply our needs. I need to keep working on my goals, just like you have yours. Who can understand the ways of the Lord? I just walk in trust.

    • Ceil, I often think of those Scriptures when Paul talks about being content. Losing material possessions taught me so much about what’s really important. He has been faithful to supply my needs. And I’ve been learning so much about how trustworthy He is.

  8. Great piece Debbie! You know I understand too well. Although our trials are similar they aren’t totally the same, but the one thing that has stand solid in both of our journeys is our trust in the Lord. Thanks for sharing your story. I am so excited about your photography job..that is awesome.

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