I find it especially helpful to write when I pray – something about my pencil scratching across the page seems to drown out the distractions, focus my thoughts, and helps me set aside the laundry list of things (like laundry) waiting for me at the other end of my time. I write about scripture, I work through fears and doubts, I thank God for things, I ask Him what the hell is going on with my life (seriously, if I had a pair of shoes for every time that one came up…), I process.
Sometimes, though, I set aside my agenda, I turn off what is left of my filter, and I listen. And I write.
Generally, when my focus in prayer is more on listening than speaking, I find that the words coming out are more important than anything I had to say. Like this entry:
June 19, 2013
Peace. Still. There is nothing for you to figure here. Is it not my hand that guides? The hand that set the boundaries of the ocean, the hand stretched out to calm the sea? See how even in your listening you question? Would you believe that I AM He?
Step forward and trust. Find your rest on this mountain. Remember, I have said I will not allow your foot to slip and I will certainly not be shaken.
Find your foundation in Me. Know the footholds I have set before you are firm and true. I will take you to the top, and we will not stop there. There are more mountains to climb – mountains whose names you do not know, whose bases you have not seen.
Keep climbing with Me. Further up, further in. But keep Me at your side or you will find yourself falling. I have marked this path, how can you search it out on your own? Look only so far as the mark I have set before you. Trust Me to where they lead.
God gave me these words of encouragement two years ago as I began a time of transition and uncertainty. I was trying to establish community in a place that I had been in for almost a year. I was trying to move from “volunteer” to “part-time paid” staff position with The Navigators. And I was trying to figure out how to balance two-part time jobs, a social life, and the new challenge of fundraising (which, anyone in ministry will tell you, is a job in itself). So when I heard these words, I was looking at this mountain that I was just starting to climb and I heard God’s encouragement that He would be walking with me step by step.
I had no idea, y’all.
You see that one line: “There are more mountains to climb – mountains whose names you do not know, whose bases you have not seen.” I didn’t think too much of it at the time. Maybe God was talking about the decision of whether to move to full-time staff. Or learning (the hard way) what my capacity is. Or trusting that He can use what little I have to give. Or raising support. Or moving again. Or figuring out how to serve and minister at my second job.
Two years later and let me tell you what’s been happening with me and God:
We have done climbed some mountains.
And we are still climbing.
At the time, I didn’t understand how important those words were. They were an encouragement, yes. And a reminder that God would be with me. But I look back now and see that God wasn’t just encouraging me as I started to climb the mountain of fundraising; He was looking ahead at the life-changing mountains around the corner. His words were a warning. His words were a promise.
We have been climbing mountains: mountains that brought me close to losing everything, mountains that broke my heart more than I could have known possible, mountains of fear that kept me from breathing, mountains of paralyzing doubt.
I’m not trying to be dramatic, y’all. And I’m not playing for sympathy. I am just trying to give you some picture of where I’m at.
I’m coming down the other side of some of these mountains and I’m starting to see what it God meant when He told me to keep climbing, further up and further in.
Further up and further in. I love the connotation of those words, the implication that there is always more to go, that it isn’t so much about the destination as the journey. It may be the romantic in me, but I have always loved the horizon – and, most especially. the view from a mountaintop: peak after peak rippling off into nothing…It fills me with some beautiful longing. No matter how breathtaking the scene, I always feel like there is more just beyond. Forget whatever hike it took to get to that view, I want to know what it looks like from the next spot.
And that is what I’ve been finding, scrambling up these mountains. The view from the top is remarkable: I have learned more about faith, about trust, than I thought possible. It seems the thinner the air gets, the more I have to trust God. The more I trust Him, the more I can trust Him. (Funny how that works.) But I know there is so much more to go. More depth, more growth, more faith. And that is one of the most beautiful things about God, isn’t it? Like the horizon, He just keeps going.
That’s me, that’s where I am right now. And I think it is important that you know where I am before we go any further together.
I write. For a long time I’ve asked God what He wants me to do with all of these words. And I’ve waited, but now my heart is bursting to share them. So, starting in January, grab a Bible and a cup of your favorite nectar, and join me here Saturday mornings and we’ll drink in the Word together one mugful at a time.