Together We Can

9 09 2013

It was a terrible, horrible, awful, no good day. The fault was my own.

The week before I’d been asked to join some women from our church on a “nice little hike” and lead worship for them at the waterfall. The trail was reported to be fairly easy, only three miles round trip, and would be fun.

Sure, if you’re a mountain goat!

It began with a descent to a bridge over a cool creek, but on the other side was the first of  a series of steep inclines.

Last year this trail would have been no problem, but since March I’ve been mostly sedentary. Because of my job and the time I spend writing, I don’t get much exercise.

The hike was definitely not fun!

(If you want to see photos from our trip, you can visit Jan’s post:)

The Lost Falls of Whiskeytown

Sadly, I resorted to whining. My daughter, who was kind enough to slow down, had to put up with me.

“This just stinks, Beth. We finally get a chance to spend time together, and here we are trying to make it up this stupid mountain to see a waterfall. I thought this was supposed to be an easy walk. This trail seems to climb forever and ever. How much farther do we have to go? You should catch up with the others. I’m afraid I’m not good company.”

“No, it’s okay, Mom. We’ll just take our time. It can’t be much longer before we reach the group,” she said sweetly.

We rounded a bend in the trail where a plank was laid on top of a granite bench. To tell you how steep the path was, one end of the board was on the bench, the other – which extended beyond it’s edge – rested on the ground!

I sank to the seat and waited for my heart to stop pounding. A glance at the trail before us and I knew I was done. It seemed to go straight uphill.

Along the way, I’d been asking the Lord to give me strength to complete the hike. People were waiting for me to show up for worship, followed by our leader’s teaching on, of all things, endurance. I hated to let them down.

“What’s my motive for completing this hike? Is it pride? Am I worried about what the others will think? Those are lousy reasons to kill myself. Yes, I’d love to spend time in worship out here. By a waterfall would be a lovely place to sing. That part I’m all over, but Lord, I can’t do this. I’m done,” I prayed.

Out loud I said, “That’s just a stupid hill. No one in their right mind would climb that.” The trail seemed to go up at about seventy degrees.

I turned to Beth and said, “Why don’t you go ahead. I’ll wait here until the ladies return. You shouldn’t miss the view.”

Just then, Kathryn, a sweet young woman, came bouncing down the path. With a cheery lilt in her voice, she said, “There you are. I knew you couldn’t be very far away.

“Now, I know that trail looks really bad…it is very steep, but you can do this. You’ll be sorry if you don’t when you see the map and realize that you are just minutes away from the falls.”

She bounced back up the hill a bit and said, “See? This is half way. Come this far. You can do it!”

Her sweet, angelic face beamed. How could I say, “No?”

I slowly rose to my feet and began to trudge toward her. Once Beth and I stood by her side, she moved half the distance between us and the crest.

“See? It’s not so far. C’mon. You can make it.”

The sun caused Kathryn’s golden hair to shine like a halo around her cherubic face.

Before we knew it, we were at the top. We began the steep descent to the falls a few hundred feet ahead.

We arrived at the falls and I had a few minutes to tune my instrument and for someone to snap a few photos of our group. We worshiped for about fifteen minutes, then headed back to the parking lot.

I barely had a chance to even glance at the waterfall. I’m glad for the photos taken. I got to see it later!

We can learn from life’s experiences, I believe;

so I began to consider what I’d learned from our hike.

Endurance…pride will only take us so far, and no farther. Once I believed that I was as far as I could safely go, pride had to die .

To know why I am doing something is important. What’s the payoff? In this instance, I anticipated time spent in worship in a beautiful setting. This time it was more like a sacrifice of praise. I was exhausted by the time I arrived.

Perseverance…we must be people who keep their word. Jesus does this for us, and we want to be like Him. I’m sure that Gethsemane seemed a lot like that last bench on the trail. No doubt He would have preferred to sit in the garden and wait for us. Unlike Beth and I, though, His companions left Him to gut it out on His own.

Encouragement…we have opportunities to come alongside others and strengthen them. Like Kathryn, we can break up the task at hand into manageable chunks for the one who’s given up. Her good-natured suggestions, her willingness to step into my mess and give me a hand up made all the difference in the world. Had she teased me about being a sissy, or had any sort of “what’s wrong with you?” or “Everyone’s waiting for you,” kind of attitude and I would have stubbornly refused to finish the trail.

Cry out to God when all appears impossible…even for small matters. It pays off. Don’t miss His answer when she arrives in all her cheerfulness and bounce!

When the going gets tough, we must keep our mouths shut. Our complaints demoralize our traveling companions and soon they begin to agree with us. This, in turn, may cost them the beautiful destination that lies just beyond the Hill Difficult!

Oh, and one last thing…look at the map! In my case, it said right at the top of the page that this hike was “moderate to difficult.”

Some research would have better prepared me for what lie ahead. This trail is the equivalent of climbing a 94-story building. To know that in advance would have given me a different mind-set, and I would have taken a second bottle of water. All of this information was in the brochure provided. Like I said, the fault was my own.

I am very thankful that Beth didn’t get fed up with my whining and abandon me; and that Kathryn didn’t give up on me and leave me to make it on my own. In my eyes, these two are the heroines Jesus provided to rescue me!

This experience was the best example ever of God’s instruction:

Two are better than one,

because they have a good reward for their labor.

For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls, 

for he has no one to help him up…

…a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12b

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31 responses

22 09 2013
thethinkingofthoughts2013

I so love your honesty in sharing. Thank you.

22 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

I so hated this hike! 😉 The amount of whining I did was embarrassing! This is a day I’d rather forget, and the enemy…hey!…he’s been beating me up about this ever since. Excuse me, I have a little work to do… 🙂

\o/

25 09 2013
thethinkingofthoughts2013

I have those days and have been having a few recently as I find myself in a new environment with a strong desire to witness, it definitely is a battle. I hate the bits I hate about myself (obviously) and always want to be better.I love your blog because it’s very honest and I can soooo relate 🙂

26 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂 (So nice to see you around again, by the way!)

\o/

3 10 2013
thethinkingofthoughts2013

trying to be around more – have loads of blogs in my mind and heart but time taken up with assignments and study – am teacher training 🙂

3 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

12 09 2013
topetychus

I never thought I would be a blogger one day, didn’t even think I would have the time for it. But GOD told me to start one and post all the writings there which I obeyed and believe you me, though I’m working as a staff, I just always find the time to share my revelations and edifying messages on my blog and social networks.*smiles*

12 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

12 09 2013
topetychus

It’s so great to find other people with like passion here. When I started getting my revelations from the Holy Spirit about sharing the TRUTH which He would be revealing to me in the WORD, I thought I was the only one with such burden in the whole world. ( Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”)
I get dejected at times when I share with people and they believe what I am saying/writing is too deep, too harsh, too hard. But is the TRUTH not supposed to be so??
God bless you all.

12 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

What I know about sharing truth is that my motive must be love, my desire for the other’s good, and liberally seasoned with grace (Ephesians 4:29). The Lord gets on my case, but it’s never harsh – although on occasion He has been stern. 😉

I used to tend toward harsh, critical, judgmental…after all I “knew” what needed to be addressed, and expected others to fall in line with my “word.” Jesus showed me a better way to reach people and achieve greater results. It’s a combination of love and grace. After all, He is very gracious to me, no matter what I’m doing. He never demands, but lays out His will – then gives me the freedom to choose.

I haven’t been to your blog yet (heading there in a minute), so none of this is aimed at you (in case you were wondering ;)). Mostly I’m “thinking out loud” about how Jesus has changed and softened my heart toward others. Having done so, I’m pretty amazed. I used to be a very obnoxious know-it-all sort!

Wow! God is good! Thanks for your comment. It gave me an opportunity to do some reflecting. It was good for my soul. 🙂

Have a blessed day.
Tami
\o/

14 09 2013
topetychus

Thanks Tami. God bless you.
You know, the “softening of hearts towards others” happened to me too.
I have associated with all sorts of people before. Some responds well to the “love”(soft) approach while it gets to some faster the “harsh” way.
I have noticed the Spirit works with people in the way He deems fit. That’s why some preacher are soft spoken while some are harsh, vocal, etc.

Seriously, I have read some of my post and felt a sting, and i’m always like editing and making it less Harsh but have been cautioned not to by the Holy Spirit.
I penned most of the writings down through His leading.
Please for anybody reading the blog, most of the writings are not My words but His(The Judge).
So please don’t see ME(a non-perfect being) as the Author, see GOD(who is gonna be judging at the end of time) as the Author.

I really do appreciate your feedback Tami. God bless you. *kisses*

10 09 2013
Ed

What a story and expereince! I don’t like hiking in the wilderness that much…the concrete jungle is another story. But we can do all things when God sends us encouragers!

10 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Without my little songbird of happiness, I’d have sat on that bench and never gone on!

\o/

9 09 2013
vonhonnauldt

Your comment about looking at the map reminded me of the old saying, “When all else fails, read the instructions.” 🙂

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Now you tell me! 😉

\o/

9 09 2013
Peg

Kudos Tami! You are an inspiration. I’m not even going to ask about carrying your guitar up that hill . . .

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

I have a backpacker guitar – only weighs about 6 lbs. It wasn’t a problem. 🙂

\o/

9 09 2013
Peg

REALLY glad to hear that!

9 09 2013
rosesnearrunningwaters

Wow! Sounds like quite an experience! Glad you were able to make it to the top! It’s amazing what our bodies can do isn’t it? Love to worship surrounded by God’s creation!

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Me too, when I’m conscious! 🙂

\o/

9 09 2013
cazehner

yeah! You did it. One step at a time. Thank you for sharing your experience. The lessons you learned are lessons we all need to learn! And learning them from you could prevent me from tired limbs and sore muscles! 🙂 God bless you!

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

I sure hope so. I loved the parallels to our Christian walk that I learned from the trip. That made it worth it. 🙂

\o/

9 09 2013
nopew

Brings to my mind John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”.
Also reminds me of the hike we took Margaret’s parents on one Sunday after worship. In dress up clothes climbing small rock faces and walking through stone beds and muddy spots on what we thought was a walking trail through a National Park.
Peace

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Pilgrim’s Progress – that’s where I got the term “Hill Difficulty” from. 🙂

\o/

9 09 2013
nopew

It’s always nice when people catch our references, eh?

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Umm hmm.

\o/

9 09 2013
Skye

You are such an incredible inspiration, Dear Friend!! I am SOOOO proud of you that you made it!! 😀 You rock girl!! 😀

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. 🙂 Without sweet, loving Kathryn I didn’t stand a chance!

What a trip. I’m so sore today that I can hardly move!

\o/

9 09 2013
Skye

Awwwww…praying for your sore body!! Such a trooper for the Lord!! You inspire and bless. Hugs!

9 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. You’re such a blessing. 🙂

\o/

9 09 2013
Skye

🙂 You, too, Lovey!

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