“Climbing is all about taking responsibility for your own climb. Others will help you but personal preparation is at the heart of climbing and overcoming adversity successfully.” Alison Levine
Honestly, I thought that by the time I reached this stage of life I’d be strolling down Easy Street, not facing a mountain range trying to figure out if I have what it takes to make it to the top! Have you ever felt unprepared and under-provisioned for the future?
Last week we talked about the different types of mountains we encounter on our journey towards home and how packing the right provisions can make the difference between success and failure.
PROVISION comes from the Latin providere “look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight.” It carries the sense of seeing into the future. None of us can see into the future but we can sneak a peek into each other’s backpacks! Want to see what’s in mine?
(Remember He told me to pack light!)
THE RIGHT CLOTHES
Hey, I love my PJ’s as much as you do, but we can’t afford the luxury of wearing them 24/7. Romans 13:11 says we should know the time; that it is “already the hour for you to awaken from sleep, for now salvation is nearer than when we believed.”
People around us are perishing and we sleep walk right past them. I’m not pointing fingers here, I’m preaching to myself. So what should we wear?
We’re in a battle for our hearts and for the hearts of others. We need to be dressed for warfare, like the soldiers we are. You might not look at a soldier’s uniform and think its attractive, but to the people you’re fighting for, it’s a gorgeous garment!
Does that mean we forget our femininity? NO WAY! We get to join the Girls with Swords Club! We’re roses with stems of steel.
Thankfully, it’s not all bullets and bedlam. He leads us beside the still waters, he restores our soul; he gives us rest.
“It is vain for you to rise up early, (YESSS! I’m claiming this part!) to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors, for he gives to his beloved even in his sleep.” Ps 127:2
Mom used to say, “All my get up and go done got up and went!” Yea, Mom. Me too. It’s like a deep fog rolls in on top of that mountain. All I want to do is nap, but I’m out of practice.
Unfortunately, we don’t know what rest is. We glorify our busyness, and misinterpret or ignore the signals that our spirits and bodies send us. Eventually there’s a break down and we become sick or depressed and all progress grinds to a halt.
Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
So, I’m packing my pillow because I know I’ll need all the rest I can get if I’m going to make it up this mountain.
Before he ascended, Jesus told the disciples, “Behold, I am sending forth the promise of my father upon you, but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
The disciples were probably itching to pack their bags and head out, but Jesus had told them to hold up. “Don’t go off half-cocked, boys, or you’ll be heading out with a squirt gun instead of a stick of dynamite.”
The folks who breeze through emergency situations and are able to help others are the ones who have power sources, like generators or solar powered chargers.
The Greek word for power is dynamis; it’s where we get our word dynamite. It means force, or miraculous ability. I’m packing a couple of Power Bars to remind myself that I’m already in the place of power; I have access to the Father and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to me through the Holy Spirit.
As I think about the trek in front of me I know there’s NO WAY I’ll ever make it up that last big climb without HIS RESURRECTION POWER.
Why a journal? So I can write down the words He speaks to me. I’m writing down my journey, not just for myself, but also for the next generation. Younger women need us.
They need us to:
- tell them about Jesus
- show them how to love their husbands and children
- explain how to listen to the Holy Spirit
- demonstrate how to pray
- set an example of how to endure
- encourage them that they’ll make it through their battles
- battle for them in prayer
- hold up their arms when they’re weary
But mostly, they need us to tell them our stories.
Have you written yours down? What you learned in that valley of despair? How God showed up on the mountaintop? You have a story and you need to tell it to someone. Tell them your Jesus story.
FOOD & WATER
You just thought, “Duh,” didn’t you? But it’s easy to miscalculate how much you’re going to need.
We never know what’s around the next bend on this journey towards home. Our family keeps a survival pantry ready so we don’t have to do a lot of last minute scrambling for provisions. Adequate food and water can help us survive, but not necessarily thrive.
The Hebrew word for survive (chayah) means to live or revive, with the idea of breathing. Breathing’s good, but I want to do more than just breathe. Thrive (tsalach) means to push forward, to go over or through (as a river.)
Survive + Thrive = “Surthrive.” And yes, I made that up.
In order to “surthrive” we need more than physical food and water; we need a ready supply of spiritual food and water.Having the Word in your heart is the spiritual equivalent of a survival pantry. You don’t have to scrounge around looking for sustenance, you just reach into your reserves. Click To Tweet
“I will feed my flock and I will lead them to rest declares the Lord God.” Eze 34:15 The word for feed is ra’ah: shepherd, pastor, keep, companion, keep company with, associate with as a friend.
“I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 TPT
Dig in. Drink deep. Store up for the future. Jesus is both Word and the Well.
SONGS FOR THE ROAD
You’re going to want a playlist for this hike and yours will be different from mine. I was raised by a music teacher who fed me jazz and classical music at a young age. As a teen, I fell in love with the Beatles, so my playlist is pretty eclectic.Singing when you’re joyful is natural; singing in the rain is not. Click To Tweet
I can pretty much guarantee that on a steep mountain climb I won’t be singing Beatles music, though. I’ll be belting out the praise choruses I learned when I was a baby Christian; they’re rhythmical, easy to sing and straight out of God’s Word.
As I journey through life, I put all your statutes to music; they become the theme of my joyous songs. Ps 119:54Worship is the wings that will carry you across the wilderness Click To Tweet
I never forget to pack my toothbrush but sometimes I forget to SMILE. Proverbs 31:25 says, “She’s clothed in strength, and dignity and she SMILES at the future.”
Early in our marriage my husband set the words from Proverbs 31 to music and titled it, A Worthy Wife. The last line was the only part that wasn’t directly from Scripture: I look at you, and I know I’ve found one.
On Mother’s Day he’d sing it at church, looking me right in the eye when he got to the last line. I wanted to crawl under the pew because I knew I didn’t live up to that woman. You see, I was terrified of the future.
All the “what if’s” had me in their grip. It wasn’t until I lived through some of the worst of my fears that I lost my fear because I learned that when He says he will never leave you or forsake you…HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.My WHO is greater than my WHAT if's. Click To Tweet
Now I can smile at the future because I know that I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
OUR ULTIMATE PROVISION
What mountain are you facing that you feel ill-equipped to handle?
The mountain of:
- health problems?
- wayward teenagers?
- loss of a love one?
- old age?
I’m beginning to understand what the Lord meant when he told me to “pack light.” My tendency is to store up earthly treasures to see me through but no amount of stuff is ever enough, plus all it does is weigh me down. And I can get equally weighed down by my lack. “The empty sack is the heaviest,” I once wrote in my journal.
No matter how well or ill-provisioned we might be in the natural, ultimately the Lord is our provider. Jehovah Jireh; literally, “He will see to it.”Everything we need we already have. Click To Tweet
*I’m so grateful to be on this journey with all of you. Traveling companions are the best and that’s what we’ll be talking about next week: what to look for in a traveling companion and how to BE a good traveling companion.
Now I’d love to hear what YOU can’t leave home without! What provisions have you stashed in YOUR backpack as you embark on this trek towards your future? Share in the comments below!