Not at the top – A Guest Post
Today’s post is from one of my friends and fellow writers, Joy Lenton.
Joy Lenton is a wife, mother, grandma-in-waiting and M.E sufferer. A lot of her days are spent in PJs penning poetry and prose. She loves connecting with people, reading, drinking coffee and eating dark chocolate. Before chronic illness scuppered her plans, she worked as a nurse. Joy has a heart to support and encourage others by sharing her faith and life experiences. She blogs at Poetry Joy and would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter. And you should connect with her, seriously.
From a distance, mountains draw attention as they add shape, texture and definition to the landscape. Close up, they’re even more impressive, and daunting if a climb is being contemplated. Are we adequately prepared? Have we remembered to bring all the equipment necessary for the task? Questions flood in and fear can paralyse our steps.
Similarly, mountains loom large and sudden in our lives, leaving us feeling weak-kneed with indecision, crippled by anxiety and with a heart sinking in discouragement. How in the world do we face up to (never mind scale) this mountain of: shame, sickness, pain, grief, hardship, loss, failure or financial pressure? It all seems so insurmountable. And it probably is in our own strength, which is naturally limited by weariness, weakness, doubt and fear.
These mountains cast a dark shadow over our days (and often our nights too) as they appear impenetrable and immoveable. At times like this it helps to check in with our mountain-moving God and get His perspective on the situation.
Is this one we circle with endurance, no matter how long it takes? Or ask Him to remove? Or scale with His assistance? The answer can vary. It may involve all three possibilities to some extent.
I’ve circled, trudged weary and slow for years around a mountain of sickness and pain, my shoes full of wilderness sand that I just long to shake off.
In the past I crept slower still around a mountain of deep depression, despair and discouragement, heavily laden with guilt and shame over the emotional and sexual abuse I encountered as a child.
Sometimes the mountain ground me down. Often-times, it seemed to edge away a little into the distance. But it never disappeared completely. Only now have I started to climb these mountains.
My guide, Holy Spirit, accompanies me with each step I take toward overcoming these mountains. He makes sure my shoes don’t wear out, hope is rekindled in my heart and a lightening in my spirit enables me to lift my head up high to view the mountain differently than I did before.
Our vision can get distorted as we are weighed down by the everyday struggles. Looking up to God is essential to persevere on the journey. We gain courage and comfort as we drink at the fountain of grace, refreshing ourselves in its still waters.
Peace can be ours even as we live in shadow-lands.
I’m not at the top of my mountain yet. But the summit is in view. It’s a bright and glorious vista God grants as I glimpse it in His word and become hooked on the promise.
Faith, trust, belief, all come into play in making it through and seeing change, however minuscule it may feel.
The poem below describes how hard it can be to climb such mountains. I’d like to encourage you to keep pressing on too as you believe for change to come.
Not at the top
I’m not at the top
of this mountain
see the view
by mists of misunderstanding
and fogs of fear.
Pausing and panting
hard to draw breath
when everything inside
longs to get near
to shout loud,
and clear, “I made it
after all these years
and at last
So I may
and I may
have to rest
as I shelter a while
in the Rock
who knows where
I am heading
and The Way
that is best
to arrive there..
One day, we will look back and see how far we have come and how much we have learnt along the way. For it is the journey itself that makes and shapes us powerfully into the people God desires us to become.
Not a crumb of our lives is wasted. God uses everything to make us like Christ.
Meanwhile, try not to allow the mountain to move you too much. Rest and lean on the Rock that is Christ. Draw breath, inhale the fragrance of His Presence, be revived by His grace, and know that He will provide all the safety and shelter you need to regain strength for what lies ahead.
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I shall never be shaken” ~ Psalm 62:1-2