embrace: mountains

She looked into the distance- mountains. They loomed over the horizon.

This had to be it, the moment her desert was over. If she could just make it to the mountaintop, her problems would fade.

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Onward she pressed. Feeling the first bit of excitement start to grow. The mountains had always been her sanctuary. She felt safe there. Carefree. As she approached the mountain she saw a pack waiting for her. It was filled with all the hiking essentials she would need. Before she zipped it up she placed inside a burden she was carrying. It was heavy. She knew it was going to weigh her down….but it was her right to carry it. If she let it go she would never get any justice. They would never know about her hurt. No one cared about it like her. 

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“Let it go.”

It was His voice again. The voice that had been so close just miles before…..but as she chose to hold onto her burden- He suddenly seemed further away. A sudden longing for the close relationship they had shared started to unfurl deep within her soul. She quickly squashed it down. Later. I won’t let it go. Not yet at least. Once He gives me my mountaintop experience. Thats when I’ll let it go.

With each step towards the top of the mountain her pack became heavier and His voice further away. Because she was so focused on what was in her pack and reaching the top of the mountain, she started to miss out on the beauty around her. There was a rushing river to her left ahead it spilled over a cliff into a pounding waterfall. There were trees that seemed to reach up and dust the tips of the clouds to her right. Her pack got heavier and heavier. Still she pressed on. Stubbornly holding onto her pack.

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“Let it go my beloved.”

His voice pierced through again….No. She wouldn’t. It was her right! Until she got to the top she was going to continue to hold on. She wasn’t going to think about it anymore. Nothing was going to come between her and her mountaintop experience.

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What she wasn’t banking on, was snow. Lot’s of it. It was a warm sunny day. She didn’t even need a coat. She would be fine. She saw it starting to cover the path a ways up the mountain. She didn’t care. She was so focused on her goal. So focused on what she could get from it, she was missing out on the present. As she came to the snow she continued to forge through. She wasn’t prepared for snow, but she didn’t care. Her shoes were getting wet, still she didn’t care. Reaching the halfway point the snow was now to her knees.

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If she could just make it around this lake-maybe the snow wouldn’t be so bad….the further around the lake she went, instead of less snow, she found more of it. She continued to sink further into the snow. She was going to have to admit defeat. There was no way she could get through the pass to the top. Reluctantly she turned around. Her head hanging she slowly made her way down. What good was a mountain if she didn’t get to the top? She felt her anger burn. Used it as fuel to keep her going. She was tired, worn and hurting.

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Suddenly, she remembered her burden. Since she didn’t reach the top, maybe that meant she could keep it. Yes. She could hold onto it. Seek justice for herself. It was His fault she didn’t make it to the top where she told Him she would let it go. If He wouldn’t let her follow through with the plan-then she didn’t have to give it up.

“my beloved….stop. you’re only hurting yourself. Let it go.”

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her step faltered, righting herself she felt her resolve start to slip.

“Let me fight this for you.”

She was so tired…the idea of someone else fighting her battles, suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

Could it be that simple? Was the release she needed as simple as letting Him fight her battle for her? She was worn, bone weary tired. She couldn’t continue to carry the weight. Even if she wanted to fight for justice herself, it was taking too much life out of her. She decided she would leave it at the waterfall. That would be somewhere memorable to leave it. If she couldn’t reach the summit maybe she’d still get that “mountaintop experience”. Rounding the corner she could no longer see the waterfall that had been pounding the rocks below just hours before-the once rushing river was reduced to a trickling stream. She felt her anger surge again- Did He not want her to leave her burden behind? She would give it up, but only if He gave something first. Before she could stop to hear His voice again she took off again. Somehow her pack seemed to gain weight with every step. She was so tired. 

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“My beloved, give it to me. My yoke is easy, my burden is light.”

She stopped. She was too tired to go any further. Knowing what she needed to do. So there, at the base of the mountain she has so desperately wanted to be “her moment” at a still quiet stream she fell to her knees once again. She opened her pack found the burden that had grown in size and set it down into the stream. As the tears began to fall she called out to her Heavenly father. “You can have it Father-it’s yours. I can’t fight the battle I was never created to fight. I don’t want it anymore.”

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she slowly stood up….the weight finally gone. She felt her energy return. Lifting her pack it was once again light. Where the weight had been, was now filled with peace. A gentle smile started to return to her face. She felt the joy of her childhood return and build into a full spark that sent her on a run down the rest of the mountain. Her hurt was still there, but it was no longer a hurt she carried alone. 

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The last time I wrote it was a season of desert. In the back of my mind I was waiting for that next mountain top feeling. One that would pull me up out of that desert. Over the summer I knew that I was going to spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park and I was hoping that would be my turning point of sorts. I feel at home in the mountains. I love and crave the raw beauty that is found there. The challenge, the feeling of wonder and sense of worship that is found in the sanctuary of the wild. I never feel so alive as when I am hiking through the rugged terrain. I cherish my moments there. I hoped that my trip into those mountains would mean the end of my desert.

My mountain top experience  was not as I expected. There was no high- no flashing lights or a loud revelation. No, my mountain top experience came at the foot of a mountain, it came when I stopped holding onto justice for myself. It came in surrender, in obedience. It came softly. It came with trusting the One who knew what was around the next corner. It came with embracing the situation for what it was, not for what I wanted it to be. Our muscle is not built in the beauty of the mountain top, no, rather it is built the struggle of the climb. When I look back throughout my life the moments that I thought I wasn’t going to make it another step- those are the moments that have shaped and defined me more than any mountaintop. There is beauty in our struggle. He wants to carry our burdens for us. To let them go into the hands of the only one who loves us perfectly. Over and over throughout the bible He tells His people to cast all of our cares onto Him- yet for some reason we like to stubbornly hold onto them ourself. Sweet friend, if there is a burden that is weighing on you so heavy you feel you can’t take one more step- Let it go.

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 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you 1 Peter 5:7

There is something humbling about admitting you can no longer do it on your own- but peace comes when we do. He cares for you sweet one. He want’s to carry it. He loves you.

Really.

Fully.

Perfectly.

Loves. You.

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In Him,

Tressa

These photos were taken in Rocky Mountain National Park & Yosemite National Park. Please do not use without permission.

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