Faith & Life: Keeping the Faith

Faith and Life at Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Kalen Emsley at

Faith & Life: Keeping the Faith

Through All the Hills and Valleys

by Joanne Troppello

Several months ago, I wrote an article: Keep Making the Ascent Even When You’re Dead Tired. It described the long and arduous hikes we went on during our family vacation in North Carolina last year. As I was thinking about a topic for my column, I came across the following poem I’d written years ago and that reminded me of the hikes—and how we truly didn’t think we’d make it to the summit and then back down again.

Over Rough Terrain

View from the summit

The path circles over rough terrain

up the mountain.

Its width accommodates numerous

hikers making their way.

Sharp rocks, dense brush, and

loose soil mark

the path, a hindrance to travel.

A thirty-minute trek

brings hikers half-way to the top,

almost to the summit.

The path narrows, twisting more,

creating added danger.

Denser woods and rockier terrain

guard the upward path,

challenging hikers—picking out

the strong ones with

stamina to reach the high point.

The view from the summit

was worth the arduous travel along

the circuitous path.

Not all the hikers reach the

house atop the mountain

with the warm light igniting

the darkened sky.

© Joanne Troppello

Life is a Journey

Sometimes life can seem like one long and arduous journey, feeling like you’re constantly climbing—never reaching the summit for a break—and never getting back down to the lush valley.

I can truly relate to that word picture. My husband and I have been dealing with health and financial issues for a long time. We’ve been seeking God through it all. He’s always provided, but at times the journey has seemed so difficult and we’ve felt like giving up.

Yet, God is good. He always provides for our needs. He is never late, or early, but always on time. Whenever I am down, He whispers comforting words through the Holy Spirit or reminds me of a Bible verse that I needed to meditate on in that moment. Sometimes, it’s an encouraging text or Facebook or Twitter message from a friend. It could be a song I hear on the radio while driving and listening to KLOVE or something I read on social media.

No matter what, just when I’m about to give up, God is always right there delivering some encouragement. He is so faithful and true.

Returning the Favor

Throughout the hills and valleys in your life, be open to receive the encouragement God brings your way and be ready to be used by God to encourage others.

1. Stay Open

Listen to the Lord’s leading. You may be called upon to give someone a call or send an encouraging text. When you feel that leading—even the slightest inclination—do it. You never know how much your encouragement can mean to someone in need.

2. Listen More

This world is crazy. We’ve survived the surreal times of 2020. However, maybe it might be a good idea to take a step back and become a better listener. Tune out the noise all around you. Shut off the news. With this “new normal” of social distancing and mask wearing it is more difficult to spend time with people. However, we can’t lose those human connections. We need to find a way to continue to connect with people and cultivate those cherished relationships. Start to listen more so you will know when someone needs your encouragement.

3. Cultivate Your Spirit

These days now more than ever, we need to be open to the Lord’s leading. When you have too much garbage going into your life, garbage will flow out.

We are a three part being—body, soul, and spirit. Feed your body healthy foods and exercise more. Nourish your soul with positive content. Cultivate your spirit with time spent reading and studying God’s Word, worshiping Him, and spending time in prayer. Don’t simply use your prayer time as an opportunity to voice your requests to God. Use it as a time to commune with Him throughout the day, like your Abba Father—signifying your deep connection with God as you connect with Him in a childlike faith.

To redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. – Galatians 4:5-7 (NKJV)

As Christians, we are redeemed by the blood of Christ and sons and daughters of God. We are no longer slaves! We are heirs to God’s Kingdom through Jesus.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. – Romans 8:14-17 (NKJV)

As we cry out to Abba Father, let us remember that we are no longer slaves to sin and fear. We have been adopted by God and are now His children.

We will one day be glorified with Him in Heaven. In the meantime, let us live victoriously in this life, keeping the faith through all the hills and valleys—knowing that the Holy Spirit is our comforter and God is guiding our every step.


About the Author

Joanne Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.

Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel.