I am excited to share with you an essay written by Anna McFarland, a sophomore at Cleveland High School and a leader in our Youth Ministry & Girls Ministry! I LOVED this essay and asked her to share it as our guest blogger! I hope you catch the sweetness of her words and how it unfolds to show the beauty of God's promises.
The base of the mountain, what a serene and majestic place to be. We arrive in the warmth of the late afternoon, right on the heels of the cool evening approaching. Direction and distance are revealed on the engraved slab of wood marking our path. The trees open up to a mysterious flattening of ground. The leaves are beaten down in misshapen patterns in the clearing. This is where we will reside for the time being.
Our gear sits on the tailgate of the pick-up, unaware of the adventurous trek about to take place. Slowly and heavily the pack is lifted to MY shoulders with many parts to be locked into place. The clock ticks away while we adjust, clip, buckle, and tug them into position. The straps are fitted comfortably against our FLESH, making the necessities of survival readily available to us.
Finally, we prepare to face the path that lies ahead. Our first steps into God’s sanctuary, the forest. The crunch of the leaves is evident to all the creatures hidden, surrounding us. They are watching, curious AND silent while we enter their home uninvited. I look to the sky, but I only discover a canopy of trees. They seem to be bent over towards the middle of the trail, bowing to the masterful sky.
Our strides become longer, MY HEART rate faster. The ground has been merely rolling hills up to this point. The inclines have been giving and taking as they MAY, until now. They become greedy and try to take away any means of success; in return they give us a way to FAIL. We reach the challenging part of the journey, the anything but simple path to take. Like ants, we feel the world as a small, scarce place, BUT only for a moment. I say a quick prayer to GOD for safety, for the way looks treacherous, but we must press on.
We say goodbye to the treaded trail that lies behind, and we greet the upcoming one with excitement and grit. The first step, second step, and before we know it, we are making progress. My calves begin a burning sensation as we climb ever higher. The mens’ success IS a small bit of jealously displayed clearly on my face. Being the only one to represent my gender, the bar has to be raised.
THE trudge continues as the flames grip my calves tightly. My faulty knee also begins to share the pain. Every ounce of STRENGTH I have left is being thrusted into another step. One more foot, one more yard, one more mile. I repeat to myself over and over the sum OF the miles left. Just as I think I can no longer carry my own weight, my spirit rises. We come to a clearing of trees. The sun slowly creeps lower as we step into the light. With every movement MY HEART pounds.
We have arrived, slowly but surely on my part. The unbuckling, untying, and altering releases a burden from my shoulders. The sun sinks quickly AND silently below the mountains surrounding. I stare in awe at their amazing silhouettes.
A feeling of accomplishment pours down from the starlit sky. My body is exhausted, but MY soul and mind are replenished. I realize the effort to climb a mountain is not only physical, but the mentality to keep going is also crucial. I feel as if I have given a PORTION of myself to gain something, and therefore that is what I have done. The intensity, the beauty of this nature is not something to be taken lightly, and it is disappointing, discovering that I can not experience this FOREVER. I inhale and taste the breeze of evening. The solid ground will be my resting place, and the starlit sky will be my eternal enjoyment. I am in love with it all, the nature, the climb, the One who made it all. This is backpacking.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73: 26
PS! Congrats to Morgan Delk and Amanda Rollins for winning the giveaway on the last blog post! I will facebook you about your prizes! yay! Thanks for entering!