There Be Mountains

There be mountains out there which I find lovely unless I’m flying over them in a small airplane.

Instead of embracing the spectacular birds-eye view, and trusting the person who’s flying, I squeeze my eyes shut. Cowering beneath my jacket, I hold my breath waiting till we get to the other side.

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Even now, when my husband suggests flying somewhere, I ask him, “Will there be mountains?” Living on the west coast, it’s hard to avoid them.

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I prefer flying over the Sacramento Valley where the flat land is an earthen tapestry of rice fields and almond orchards. Cattle graze on carpets of green grass, and Interstate 5 stretches for miles like a runway. If need be, we could land the plane without too many bumps.

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Given the choice, I’d rather stay in the peaceful valley, but even in life…there be mountains.

Sweet moments in life might be called a Mountain-Top Experience like the breath-taking, ethereal beauty that comes after an uphill hike when we’re standing on top of the world.

But there are also treacherous mountains where the trees don’t grow and the steep elevation seems insurmountable. Only, our circumstances leave us no choice but to go up and over. Not knowing if we’ll survive the experience of….

  • Debts
  • Disease
  • Disabilities
  • Divorce
  • Disasters
  • Death of a Dear One.

Whether the mountainous problem looming before us is 5,000 feet high or a 14,000 peak….how should we respond?

  • Cower in denial like an ostrich hiding his head in a hole?
  • Pull back into our shells like a frightened turtle?
  • Forge ahead faithfully, one step at a time?

Fear—and a lack of trust—is my first response whether I’m flying in the mountains or facing life. I wonder if I’ll ever change. However, I did something on my last flight that changed my perspective.

As we took off towards the hills, I closed my eyes to avoid looking down and listened to Christian music on my iPod. Only this time, I meditated on the Biblical Truths behind the lyrics.

  • Does Jesus love me?
  • Is His grace sufficient?
  • Will He forsake me?
  • Is God sovereign?
  • Can I trust Him?

I thought about the geography of my life: Sunny beaches and lush meadows interspersed with barren deserts, hazardous mountains, and the vally of the shadow of death.

20160902_105006The ONE constant navigator and comforter in my life is Jesus. He never disappoints.

When I embraced that truth, and everthing I know to be true about God’s character and my relationship with Him, the fear vanished. My body relaxed knowing His Spirit is present within me. I opened my eyes and beheld the wonder of His creation.

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Knowing even in this…no matter what “this issue” happens to be in my life….

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1,2).

 

When’s the Last Time You Did It?

file0001944463518“Look, Mommy, I did it!”

I couldn’t see the school playground from my front porch, but I heard the girl’s high-ptiched voice. Her audible excitement made me smile; wonder…

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Did the girl cross the monkey bar’s without falling? Swing without Mommy’s help? Do a cartwheel?

My three children are grown, but I remember their triumphant shouts whenever they accomplished a new feat.

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Victory tasted sweet; called for applause.

Even before they could vocalize their thoughts, my children’s grinning faces said “look at me” as they each learned to walk. Like a new-born colt, they’d wobble, collapse to the floor, then rise again as I cheered them onward.

One step. Two. Then four hurried steps into my outreached arms. “You did it!”

However, those baby steps enabled my children to eventually walk away from me. Off they went to school, slumber parties, summer camp, part-time jobs, college, and life. While I stood by—watching, cheering, praying—as they did it!

The hardest challenge was balancing my realistic concerns for their personal safety with their need to become independent.

For example, I had to know when to stop holding my son’s hand when we crossed the street. Then I had to stop telling him (and trust him) to look both ways before he crossed the street. Because now that my son’s away at college, I don’t even know when he crosses the street.

This summer, my son wanted to drive to San Francisco for the day. Dread swept through my stomach like shards of glass. I tried to dissuade him. Suggested public transportation as an alternative.

Why? Because the thought of navigating any huge city with heavy traffic intimidates me. I warned my son, “You can’t do it. You’re inexperienced!”

Implication: you’re incapable. Nice vote of confidence, right?

However, my fear of driving wasn’t my son’s fear. He relished the challenge. And, he did it!San-Francisco-Free-CNA-Classes3-720x325

I wonder how often parents prevent their children from trying something new or accepting a challenge due to our own fears and limitations.

When the Israelites were afaid to enter the Promised Land, Caleb responded, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30)

Imagine the reaction of Astronaut Armstrong’s family when he said, “I’m going to walk on the moon.” Did they encourage him? Or say, “You’re crazy? It’s never been done!”

My friend, Angie—who became a quadriplegic—refused to think of herself as disabled; hated the word, “CAN’T.” She earned a scuba diver’s licence and swam (with assistance) in the Pacific Ocean.

I pray my children will have the same confidence, courage, and conviction of people like Caleb, Armstrong, and Angie.

In fact, when’s the last time you did something you’ve always wanted to do? Were afraid to do?

I can still hear the thrill in that little girl’s voice. “Look, Mommy, I did it!”

And you know what?

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It makes we want to taste victory too.