[Don’t miss the giveaway at the end!]
If you’re new to this blog, this is the final post in a series based on Psalm 24 verse 3: “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?” It’s comparing the entire life of a Christian to ascending a mountain.
The past three weeks have been all about preparation. We’ve identified our mountains, gathered our provisions and scouted out some traveling companions. I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to start my climb. Now all we need is a trail guide, someone who’s walked this path and is familiar with the terrain.
Lately, during my prayer time, I’ve had this huge ball of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. It didn’t make sense; life was good! Fall weather had finally shown up in my hometown of Wilmington, NC. Hurricane Michael (which we survived!) swept away the last of the humidity and cooler, more pleasant temperatures had arrived! I’d been relishing my coffee and prayer time on the back porch while enjoying the view of my cottage garden. So I asked God, “What’s with the anxiety?”
“The future,” He answered. I knew immediately what He was referring to: the future of my speaking ministry.
Building a speaking ministry is HARD WORK. It’s nothing like they said it would be! After three years, my blog growth is stagnant, my “Google Analytics” are depressing, and churches are not exactly beating down my door inviting me to speak. I’ve felt like such a failure and at a total loss of what to do. My morning coffee time with Jesus turned into a pity party and I ended up bawling like a baby.
“GOD, HELP ME!”
The problem is this: I feel SO called to speak to and minister to women, but I don’t know how to get there. I need God to show me how to climb this mountain.
We all encounter mountains on our journey through life. It would be amazing if we could climb them easily and effortlessly but steep mountains are hard to climb. As we sojourn together towards home, we encounter many mountains.
Mountains of adversity.
Mountains of testing.
Mountains of difficulty.
Mountains of uncertainty.
Mountains of fear and anxiety.
Mountains of Difficulty
As we climb these mountains, it’s very easy to get lost. Do I go to the right, or to the left? Which path is easier? Which trail will take me to my ultimate destination? Where are the dangers and pitfalls? In order for us to make it up the mountain, we need a guide – someone who knows the terrain and can show us the way.
Thankfully we are not on this journey alone. We have a guide: Jesus, who faithfully guides us through the hills, valleys, and mountains that we face.
Even with Jesus by our side, let’s be honest – there are times when we just want to give up. The mountain is too steep and we can’t see the end of the trail. We are hungry and thirsty. Our out-of-shape legs are hurting from the climb and we fantasize about quitting. Discouragement sets in and beats us down
There was a time in my life where I wanted to give up. I spent five years suffering from chronic migraines and I was sick or weak 50% of the time. I had two teenagers (no more explanation needed). Those two teens were driving, so our finances were overwhelming. I was in an epic battle with anxiety. And I was a ladies ministry leader and we all know that sometimes women aren’t nice.
My constant prayer during early 2017 was, “Jesus, take me now.” I even asked my husband to hide all of my migraine pain medications to prevent me from overdosing.
I was done. But my trail guide, Jesus, had not completed His task of safely taking me up the mountain I was facing. So He lowered himself into the mess of my life and He held me. He whispered these words from Matthew 8:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. …My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 8:28, 30 NIV
Boy, I needed the rest that Jesus offered! I let go of some heavy baggage I was carrying. After a while, I felt my strength returning. My wounded heart was slowly but surely being healed. My hope was restored, brick by brick. Eventually my guide, Jesus, stood up and reached for my hand. He pulled me to my feet and we began our journey anew.
For a long time, He held my hand. He showed me where to step and place my feet.
His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
But just like sheep, we stray.
Even though we have Jesus as our guide to lead us up the mountain, sometimes we choose to ignore Him. Refuse to follow His advice. We want to do what feels good to us and we don’t want to listen to anyone else. “Forget the guide – I want to do this my way.” And off we go on our own.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…” Isaiah 53:6a
When I’ve gone off and lived my life just for myself, things have not turned out well. I’ve made some royal messes that took a lot of work to clean up. I’ve spoken angry words and I have strained important relationships. I have been prideful and have alienated close friends. I have lied and stolen and been immoral, and I have also suffered the consequences.
Thank God that my guide in this journey has an abundance of patience, mercy, and grace. Jesus has not abandoned me when I have made a total disaster of my life. Just like when a child spills a box of Cheerios on the floor and the mother bends down to help clean them up, Jesus has joined me in my messes. He has led me to repent. Then, he has helped me to clean the mess up and make things right. He has redirected me and helped me to get back on the path again.
You are never too far off the path for Jesus.
No matter how distracted you get, no matter what a disaster you’ve made of your life, no matter how far you go, your guide will track you down and find you. You are His and come hell or high water, He will search for you and not give up. Your guide will rescue you when you wander off and help you get back on track. Every. Single. Time. This is called grace, and your guide is full of it.
On this journey, there will be times when we are encouraged and are walking faithfully up the mountain and for no reason, we just stumble. There is a rock that trips us up and we fall and get hurt.
Children get sick.
Parents need our care.
Cars get repossessed.
Our bodies fail.
The age-old question: WHY?
Why did we fall? Was it our fault or someone else’s? Who put that rock there? Why didn’t our guide stop us from falling? The answers to these questions are elusive. But the rock solid truth is that when we fall, our guide doesn’t go on without us. He doesn’t leave us. He stops immediately and applies first aid.
He heals our broken hearts and wounded souls. He holds us through doctor’s visits and hard decisions. He gives us peace as we pray for our adult children. He provides for us in miraculous ways. When life is overwhelming and grief and uncertainly seem like they will overtake us, He gives us the strength to get up and go on. He will love us and care for us until we are we are strong enough to continue our journey.
Jesus will encourage us when we are weary, find us when we have lost our way, and heal us when we are injured. But ultimately, the decision to complete the hike up the mountain is up to us. Click To Tweet
We have to be willing to surrender our worries, our burdens, our hopes, and our dreams to our guide. It’s hard to surrender our will to Jesus, but if we want to ascend the mountain of God we must be willing to follow the His example.
When Jesus faced the mountain of crucifixion, he had a choice. And He made a choice. He said, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
We hold on to things so tightly. We hold on to our plan for our lives. We hold on to money. We hold on to our children. We hold on to our Pinterest-perfect persona. We hold on to fear and uncertainty about our futures. We hold on to these things instead of surrendering them to Jesus.Safely completing our journey will require that we surrender everything in our lives to Jesus. Over and over and over. This is how we follow our guide - we follow the way of the cross. We surrender. And we follow. Click To Tweet
Heaven awaits us
Jesus will lead us as we climb and conquer the mountains of difficulty that we face. He will strengthen us when we are weary, find us when we are lost, and heal us when we are injured. Jesus has promised to safely lead us home. Heaven awaits us at the end of this arduous journey!
How do we know how to get there?The way to the hill of God is Jesus Himself. Click To Tweet
He is our guide. He knows the way because He is the way (John 14:6).
Trust Him. Surrender to Him. And follow Him.
Lisa is a passionate speaker and Bible teacher whose honesty about her weaknesses refreshes women and gives them hope. She is a seasoned speaker, former ladies ministry leader, and a Precepts Bible study teacher. Lisa has been married to Brian for over 20 years. A nuclear engineer by training, she home schooled her two children, including her son that has autism. Lisa loves Pride and Prejudice, french fries, and taking long afternoon naps with her stuffed bunny rabbit, Jessie.
You can connect with Lisa here:
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What mountain are you facing? How are you preparing for the journey ahead? Leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of Lisa’s fabulous hand-designed greeting cards.
See you at the top!