I LOVE to hike, I love climbing things and I truly enjoy the peace and quiet of the trail.
The other day when my husband and I set out to watch the Easter morning sunrise from the top of North mountain, we knew that we were going to miss it because we got a late start. By the time we parked, we didn't even see a reason to try and hurry up the mountain to make it, so we started off at an enjoyable leisurely pace.
That was, until..... a man running up the mountain behind us screaming profanities, yelling about 9/11 conspiracy theories scared the crap out of me! I don't scare easily, but this man got my heart pumping and I actually verbalized to my husband that I was sacred. Bob, who normally takes the lead, followed behind me sacrificially in case this man caught up to us.
This fear, unbeknownst to me, caused me to hike up the mountain at a pace I had never done before, a pace that had my husband working hard to keep up to me.
Fear of what Easter might look like with a crazy man on our tail caused my body to go into flight mode while my mind was creating scenarios (several of them) in case we had to go into fight mode.
Let me invite you into my crazy with just a few of the scenarios.
Scenario 1 - Crazy man catches my husband at gun point and asks him if he believes in Jesus. Bob answers yes and crazy man shoots him. I then take a knee ready to profess my faith in Christ willingly accepting death to uphold the Name of my King...and I willing die.
Scenario 2 - Same beginning. Bob goes down, but this time it pushes me into fight mode where I bash the crazy man in the head, knock him out where I get a hold of his gun...... I won't go on, but you get the gist.
There were a few more scenarios that played out in my mind, But I don't want you to know how truly nuts I am (in case you haven't figured it out already)
As I was reading my daily "The One Year Bible "passages, I was struck by Luke 21: 13-15 where it says:
"But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!
That hit me! While I know the scenarios in my head were getting out of control (and yes everything turned out ok) what I needed the Word to remind me of, is this.... I don't need to rehearse how things are going to play out or what I am going to say, God will give me the words and powerful ones too. I am equipped and His Word is buried in my heart.
No matter the situation, we are given opportunities to tell people about Jesus. The reality is that the platform for those opportunities looks different for all of us and the deeper reality is that sometimes, as devastating as it is, that opportunity looks like a believer on his knees with his last breath declaring the truth of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation.
That is heavy stuff for me, brothers and sisters.
On a lighter note, we made it to the top (safely) with a few moments to spare in time to see the Easter morning sun rise over the mountain, which we thought would be impossible. I guess when your in flight mode you are able to go faster than you knew your body could move.
Stay strong in Him, bury His Word in your heart and be ready at all times to give an answer for the faith you have in Christ Jesus.
I love you in the Lord.
If you have read my writings in the past or followed my adventures for any length of time, you may have noticed that I love to hike, I love to push my limits. Pretty much, every time time that I get out on the trail, God has a word for me. Today, was no exception. I hit the trailhead early this morning to beat the 100+ degree heat and powered up the first incline.
I planned my trip. I would go up the mountain down and follow the long trail around the mountain before heading back. Immediately, I heard God say, "No, you are not to go on the long trail today." For me, hearing His voice takes form in those words that jump into my mind, invade my Spirit and move my heart and gut. It is a voice that He has trained me well to hear, to know and to discern that it is Him and knowing this voice has taught me to obey.
Upon hearing my new directive, I said ok, I will just go up the mountain and down to my prayer spot before I make the decent back down to my car. Again, I heard Him say, "No, you may only go to the top, sit there and then head right back down" To this, I simply said ok, makes no sense to me, but I will do what you say, you must have your reasons.
In my life, I have found a few different reasons why God gives me specific directions. A few of them being:
1. For my good and wellbeing (Jeremiah 29:11)
2. Gives me opportunities to obey (Deuteronomy 5:27; Psalm 119:34;
3. Trains me to recognize and know His voice, so the next time He speaks for my safety and well being, I will know His voice and not hesitate to obey. (John 10:4; John 10:27)
To give you a little background info, that I neglected to take into account at the time, my hike today was only the 3rd hike in the past 2 weeks. Typically, I am on the trail at least 5 times a week. I had taken time off from exercise because I was battling illness and my body was simply worn and fatigued. During those times, I do not like to push it, so I rest.
While I was feeling great today, ready to take on the world, what I didn't know is that about half way in, my body would remind me that I am not where I was two weeks ago. I became very tired, very quickly and by the time I nearly reached the top my lungs were crying for rest. Had I pushed myself to go on, I would have been much worse for the wear.
Those words that God gave me as I began the accent and made my plans, were not only words for me to obey, and discern His voice, but they were for my well being. God knew I would tucker out. God knew that on my own, I probably would have kept going and been out several miles without the ability to turn back. Would I have survived?... sure, but the joy of knowing and being reminded that God has my back in the littlest of things, strengthened my faith to know that He has my back in the difficult things as well, those times when I feel like my world is caving in.
He knows the plans He has for me and they are good. And it's not just me...It's for you too, you who are called according to His purposes!! He knows the plans He has for YOU, and friend, they are oh, so good!
Press in to listen. Press in to obey. Press in to learn the sound of His voice in your life. Be quick to listen friends and don't delay. Each moment we delay our obedience, the closer we are to stepping the other way, finding an excuse or simply forgetting what He said in the first place.. Let's keep our footing sure, stand firm in the promises of God, trust Him for our good and share the truth of the Gospel with those who so desperately need it and need to see us living it.
Let us be faithful to listen to the small stuff, SO THAT we may be fit to be faithful when the BIG directives come. (Luke 16:10)
I love you in the Lord, Mia
I am in the middle of texting my sweet friend in Nashville dates and times for me to just get away, rest, retreat and re-energize at her home. It's going to be a trip with no gigs and no expectations. There will be time alone and time together filled with girl talk, laughter and encouragement.
My husband has given me his full blessing and I have an accumulation of miles to cover my flight so I am ready to go!! Then it hit me... as I talked to my husband, I asked him if he was sure that it was ok for me to leave. He teased me a bit and then reminded me what his schedule will be like that week of finals and graduation at the high school where he is the Executive Director and Principal. Then, I felt a little more at ease leaving.
I think I found myself baulking because I actually felt a little guilty and anxious. Anxious because it is not a work trip, because there is no agenda, because I might actually be still for a solid length of time and that can be scary.
As my husband and I discussed this anxiety, we realized how hard it is to be still when life goes 100 miles an hour for so long, which is why we both love hiking together so often as it sometimes seems to be the one place we can go to get away from it all, even if it's for a moment. Sometimes, being still, in actuality, can put us in shock mode and we don't even know how to act and we sometimes forget how to listen.
So, I have put away the guilt, I embrace what is to come and I look forward to a week in Nashville away from the laundry, dishes, and daily chores and I am ready to receive the gift of stillness, the gift of fellowship and the gift of friendship.
We may not always be able to fly across the country, but pressing into stillness in vital. So whatever you need to do to find that place of quiet, that place of stillness, that place where you can be re-vived, JUST DO IT, even if it's for a moment!
"...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
I love you in the Lord, Mia
PS. Ticket is booked, no turning back!!
There are a few rules of etiquette that I have learned for hiking. For instance, hikers going uphill have the right of way, if you hear someone on your tail, step to the side and let them by, keep your music confined to your headphones and it's always a good thing to acknowledge those you pass.
Not everyone follows these unwritten rules, but when they do, it makes for a great experience.
I was making my way up the Piestewa Peak Summit trail in Phoenix yesterday morning. For those of you that are not familiar with this area, it is a nice 1.2 mile, 1,200 ft climb to the top. As I hiked, I was reminded that not everyone is aware of hiker etiquette, as evidenced by the fact that I found myself giving the right away to hikers that had already made the climb and were on there way down with no intention of stopping for those of us making our way up, panting and dripping with sweat.
Others, though, kindly stepped to the side as I made great strides and stretches over the uphill rocks. For that, I was grateful and squeezed out a smile in the midst of my exhaustion.
There were moments when I thought, "I have gone far enough, I should just turn back now" but, the fighter in me doesn't like to quit until I make it to the top (which last week almost got me into some trouble). After making the 1,200 ft ascent, I was able to rest and take in the view.
There is that exhilarating feeling when you make it to the top, when you reach your goal and have survived to conquer your mountain. For me, I think about the fact that 1.5 years ago, I could barely make it to the top and if I did, it took me twice as long with many stops along the way. This day, though, being in better shape and living a healthier lifestyle, I pushed through without stopping. I made it and I made it well.
After a nice break on top of the summit, I made my way, with the grace of gravity pulling me back down to where I started. I smiled at those making there way up and I stepped to the side to give them the right away as they struggled upward. I allowed those who were descending faster than me the opportunity to go on by and at times I was afforded the same courtesy, as those who were going a bit slower than me, let me pass.
And then it got me thinking (as hiking always does) about the difficulties in life that we have, the mountains that we climb and the "etiquette of struggling" that we so easily forget.
There are times when I, one who has been through the fire, see others going through the same battles I once went through and wonder why they are not conquering it as quickly as I did. There are times when I know people are struggling and I fail to give them the "right of way" in their pain and I expect them to move out of my way and "get over it" so that I can continue living my life. There are times when people are making uphill strides in their situations and I forget to acknowledge them.
There are times when I, because I already made it to the top of a certain mountain, forget what the struggle was like to get to a place where you have a birds eye view and greater perspective.
There are so many times that I am simply the worst hiker in the world.
It is good to be reminded that we all hike (through life) at different paces, we all have mountains to climb and battles to win. When I am more conscious of those around me, it makes this hike of life a little more doable, a little less difficult and a lot more encouraging for everyone.
I can't climb someone else's mountain for them, but I can step out of the way and not be a stumbling block in their journey. I can reach out a hand and give encouragement. I can allow them to feel their pain so they can move to a position where they can see the view of the joy to come.
I pray that we all will be a bit of the grace that gravity brings in someone else's life as they are struggling uphill.
Let's go hiking! I love you in the Lord!
Because the daily temps are well into the 100's here in Phoenix, AZ where I live, my hiking schedule in the summer has my alarm going off at 4:30 am so that I can be on the trail by 5am. Three days during the week, I meet a friend at the trail head so I have to be on time, but then there are days like today....
Today, the alarm went off, no one was waiting for me and I hit the snooze button about four times before I mustered enough energy to get out of bed. Finally, around 5:30am, I got up, got moving and was on the trail at 6am.
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.