Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Mountain of Fear, an interlude

My tent is pitched and I wander, not abandoning where I’ve been set, but curious about the land. The grass is light, aged by the sun. I feel its sleeves and pieces break away in dust. Orange clouds follow my steps as I turn up the dirt with my scuffed steps. I don’t have the energy I feel I need to make it through this day. Let alone these months…my mind trails.

My eyes set toward the hills of higher altitude, I’m reminded that I have been asked to climb the distance and follow my father’s trail there. Relentless fear captivates my thoughts. This course is impossible. How could I possibly get there? How can I possibly stay here much longer, alone? Defeated, I hang my head and lower my body.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair*

Gently sung, promises renewed, my hair waves in the wind and I find a small white petalled flower near my tear-wet hand. I take it up and look at its meek face. I pin it to my hair, to remember.
If all I can do is gather flowers…I set out to find more.
*Song: Mumford & Sons, After the Storm
My flower findings this week:
-The simple thought and the faith I felt when I heard: maybe you have better
-He has directly clearly to this clearing in a field
-Sending me songs as I sleep, I can’t stop writing them for you God.
-God has answered prayer, to see his love and affection for me. He has shown that he knows my lies as he speaks truth to their face. He has sent irony, to show me his humor and how much I love his humor.
-He answered a prayer to delight in my Kindergarteners this week. So much laughter.
-Fearlessness to make my desire known to him
-Desire to be pure of heart: to see God
-Conversation with a dear friend, that was honest, filling, and renewing

These will I bind in my hair.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mountain of Fear, pt. 2

Inside I heard the mockery.

Father knew you couldn’t do it. You can’t even make it without training wheels. You’re sure to get lost up that mountain. Better to just turn around.

HopeBury your thoughts into me, the voice of my Father sweetened the air.
Hope in me.

I am the one who knows you best. I am near. I am your light. I am your stronghold. I am rock. I am your strength. I am your joy. I am your shield. I am your salvation. I am your peace.
“Do not give way to fear!” (1 Peter 3:6)

The wave of wind blew over the grassland, setting my eyes to follow its trail. Over right and then up to break my gaze.

With questions on the horizon, I started to peddle again. There was nothing else to do. The exercise felt unusual, muscles stiff from being still. The trail leading straight into the Mountain of Fear. Wheels turned creating my rhythm.

The loneliness didn’t bother me at first. It seemed to have its reason for some time. I kept the pace remembered the words of my Father. They called me back into my longing for Him. One thing I do ask of the Father, and this will I seek after, that I would dwell with him in his house all the days of my life, to gaze upon his beauty and inquire of him.

The trail being squeezed small, larger rocks taking up the edges. A boulder twice my size in front of my path, I slowed. Picking up Ol’ Trusty, I balanced with a hand on the boulder and walked around it.

As I looked ahead I saw the terrain worsening as it neared the mountain, I have to leave the bike behind and take the trail on foot.

Closer to the mountain the light changed, casting deep shadows. It tricked my eyes and I tipped, thinking I had better footing. The trail ended.

Or changed directions, it went up. Very directly.
It ran right into a wall of rock. The rock skirted the edge of the mountain, 20 feet in height. I would have to climb.

Taking a look at the wall figuring the puzzle, I thought I could at least try. Right leg, left arm and the climb began. Yellow-brown rock had tilted slabs, made for large ledges and sure footing. Left arm up, right foot searching, slip. Jolted, I hung with my weak left arm.

But it clung to a stronghold. Father had given me one. The type that curves with your hand, lots of room for fingers. I screamed out to him and my feet found their help. I pulled, arms burning. Two steps, three, and crawled over the top less than gracefully.

My body was shaking with new muscle growth and uneasiness to heights, looking down at the recent plight, I experienced joy. Thank you.

With the rest complete with water and nourishment, I was eager to continue, motivated by the need to complete. I stood and replaced the pack. My legs moved slow and steady as the incline grew, wrapping itself around the base of the mountain. Spotted clefts had my mind thinking about making camp. The sun still a few hours away from setting, I wanted the rest and time to prepare for a cold evening.

My mind wandered as I set to the tasks.
The hope was still fresh, like a newly planted seed. The upturned soil wrenched my soul and only tears would come-if only soul had its own way of weeping. It longed for the companion. If only you were right here. I feel only alone.

She came unnoticed. Amber waves in her hair and a peaceful gaze, pointing forward. Her voice, a song: “Wait for the Father, be strong and let your heart take courage. Wait for him.” Only later did I come to know her name, Faith. She left so quick, I wasn’t sure she had been there at all. But I had felt the change, the renewed feeling.

I spread my tent curtains wide, nailed in the stakes. Here I will rest.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Mountain of Fear, pt. 1

I set out on my bike, Ol’ Trusty, not caring to notice the training wheels Father had put on it for me. Clear vision, I set out on the path. Puffy white clouds and warm sun welcomed my journey. I felt strong and sure and believed what my Father said was true. I could do this!

The trail ascended and rocks scattered the path, making a bit of a challenge. I was new to this, untoned calves and immature thoughts gave me away. But I remembered what my Father said, in fact, I chanted it to myself as I made way up the hill. To my joy, the slope leveled and air seemed to come with ease to my breathing.

Within moments I met a stranger on the path, he sailed up the hill and cruised alongside me for a moment. The chrome on his bike sparkled, the design read: New Trusty. I couldn’t help but look down at my old bike, but quickly pretended I hadn’t. He asked my name, returned with his own, Wade. He joked with me about the hill, shared a friendly smile, and asked if I wanted to take a break.

We stopped.

We drank some cool water and ate sandwiches filled with turkey and avocado. Wade told of his adventures and dreams, he asked me mine. I shared openly, feeling comfortable. But it scared me when our dreams seemed written by the same author. I cast the thought off and laughed at his jokes. Cheeks tingling with multitudes of giggles, I had forgotten where we were at all.

Wade offered to take the head wind as we climbed back on the bikes, giving me a break to coast. The trail lead on and I coasted.

I kept coasting, feeling comfortable in this ease.

My head was slammed by the wind, hair flew up almost blinding me. My body shook, forgetting what I was supposed to do. I looked for Wade. Where did he go?

The trail had made a fork, Wade went left. With my hair out of my eyes, I saw him waving goodbye with a smile. I tried to smile.

Then the fear came. Why did Wade leave me? How can I do this trail on my own? I looked down and noticed for the first time that I had training wheels on Ol’ Trusty. Wade didn’t have training wheels. No one else I knew had training wheels. Why did I have training wheels? Does this mean I can’t really do it?

I shouldn’t have looked. But up ahead on the trail was the worst sight of all.

The Mountain of Fear.

It looked as if it was burning with fire and couldn’t be touched. It was covered with darkness, gloom and storm. The rocks that hugged its sides seemed to be covering their ears because they could not bear it. The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” (Heb 12:18-21).