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From Rocks to Mountains

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Well, it’s been a rocky fall. Many challenges, many unexpected twists and turns, many new realizations, many unanswered questions.

I have to admit, at points this fall, the rocks seemed not only unnecessary but completely pointless. And yet, the path forward meant climbing them. One by one. With no sense of direction or understanding of what was going on.

And then, there was a moment last week when someone asked me how things are and I surprised myself with my own response — “It’s been rocky, but I’m now starting to see the mountains. And they are beautiful.”

I think that’s an apt description of how things are right now. I love mountains – they are majestic and beautiful, breathtaking and amazing. This summer I spent over 24 hours traveling through the Rocky Mountains by train and it was the most amazing experience ever. I lost myself in time with a constantly stunning program of beauty out of my window. One of the amazing things about traveling in the mountains was just realizing in a new way how big the mountains are – we would travel for a long time with practically the same view.

Instead of becoming wearisome, the view was beautiful the whole way. The longer I stared at the same mountain, the more aspects of it that I saw. I took a gazillion pictures and each one is slightly different, capturing something that the previous one didn’t. There wasn’t a yearning to be past the mountains either – I was never restless, never anxiously awaiting what would happen next. I just enjoyed the ride and view.

Mountains are rocky. Life is rocky. Without the rocks, there would not be mountains. And I would miss some of the beauty.

Let me share one of the mountains in my life that I am daily becoming more acquainted with. I unexpectedly was given an opportunity to move to a basement apartment within walking distance from church and many families and friends that I know . The details are quite perfect in so many ways. My only hesitation was finances – this apartment would increase my expenditures. After encouragement from those who know me well, I decided to go for it. God’s hand seemed to be all over it and God would provide – he always has, he always will. It is an opportunity to be rooted after years of nomadic existence and learning to call and make any place “home.” It’s an opportunity to have some external stability in my life.

Within days, I have had offers of freelance work, a piano student, some babysitting gigs including one that could be full time for the time I need. In fact, the opportunities keep coming to the point I am turning some down. There have been dry seasons in my life when I’ve been laid off and struggled to find work – this is not one of them.

There have been intense times of learning too. I have been reading Walter Brueggemenn’s The Land which is a really wonderful book tracing the theme of ‘land’ (and specifically the promised land) throughout Scripture. Breuggemenn looks at the call of Abraham and how he was sent from his homeland to a land that he had not chosen. He was to Go – and follow God. He was to leave behind. And then the Israelites were rescued from Egypt only to wander for many years in the desert – Brueggemenn, like others, note that Egypt needed to be taken out of the Israelites.

Perhaps, as part of my call to go forth and follow God, I am called to leave all behind. Perhaps this rocky wilderness is in part God removing Egypt from me so that I am free to live in the promised land. Perhaps it is a time when I learn to depend completely on God for my daily manna, learning to be content with whatever I have. Maybe in a time that has too frequently felt like God is far, perhaps he is very close, refining as fire refines, constantly guiding and moulding me into who he is calling me to be.

These mountains aren’t easy. They are rocky.

But there is beauty.

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  1. John Sullivan
    November 19, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I am so happy for you!

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