Recently my mom purchased my daughter and I matching necklaces, simple gold chains adorned with a crystal pendent. While most would look at these pieces as cute and trendy minimalist inspired jewelry, they meant much more to my daughter and I. Not just because they were from our beloved Gigi and fellow Lady of Lit but because of what they were meant to remind me of.
When I was Audrey's age, even a bit younger, my Grandpa would take me to a lake near their house to play. It had a little play ground, miniature golf course and picnic area perfect for hours of entertainment. Right across from this lake was a "mountain" that you could hike up and if you did a little digging you would find little bits of quartz crystals in the dirt. They weren't of any real value but to a five year old it was buried treasure and I dubbed this place "Crystal Mountain" Flash forward twenty years and I found myself at that lake again. This time things looked much different. Now with a daughter of my own and learning to exist in a world minus the presence of my grandpa I remember thinking how very dull everything looked. The playground wasn't as shiny as I remembered, the putt putt course was a lot less difficult looking and lo and behold, Crystal Mountain was in fact just a hill.
When I held my new necklace in my hands I remembered the many trips to this place and especially that last time when it all looked so very different. I remember standing there that day and feeling sad how much had changed but also being amused at how my perception of that hill was so radically different as a child versus now. I remember thinking getting to the top was this impossible feat, that required grown up strength and stamina. It intimidated me as a preschooler and the day we did climb all the way up I felt like I had conquered a giant.
All this to say that it got me thinking about perception. It's two fold...first lets consider our age and experience. As a young Christian every trial and lesson from the Lord is new and subsequently can feel like a mountain! Learning to trust, learning to listen, learning to have faith- it takes practice and like strength training for a marathon it takes climbing mountains and digging in with everything we have! Then years later as we have hopefully learned and grown in our walks the mountains seem a little easier to climb, we recognize the paths, we start to see what the Lord is trying to teach us and we lean into the incline instead of fighting against it.
Secondly, consider your climbing partner. Just like I had the strong and guiding arms of my grandpa helping me navigate my climb, so too we have the arms of our Heavenly Father. The Lord, who sees the big picture, who knows the end, who knows the path because he created it is our guide! He doesn't see a mountain, he sees the tool that he's using to grow and mature you in your relationship with Him, to draw you closer to see a side of His face you haven't seen before. Are you following your guide?
I'm facing a mountain right now. More like a mountain range really. Some parts are new paths that I have never walked before and they are SCARY! But I'm doing my best to lean into the incline, and trust my guide. Other parts are familiar territory, struggles I have walked before and recognize the path, I know what they require to climb- faith, trust, letting go. In those moments I look to my Father and thank Him for His faithfulness, for His constant guiding. I can see His work in me because even though the path is narrow, I look at that part of the mountain and see that it really looks more like a hill.
Climb on my friends, climb on.