Sunday, September 25, 2011

To the Summit! (bloody stubs and all)

Wake before sunrise. Eat a hearty breakfast. Dress in layers. Lace your boots. Fill your camelbak with cold water. Strap on your backpack loaded with supplies. Check the map. Hit the trail.

I miss this. Bob and I had six fairly carefree years of marriage before the three little blessings came along. We sometimes ask each other what in the world we used to do back then. Our lives are so full of family activity now. But if I squeeze my eyes shut and concentrate, I can remember what we did:


This included hiking up several of the Rocky Mountains.

We had a dream of reaching the top of all the 14ers of the Rockies--those mountains 14,000 feet and higher.

As of this writing, 48 out of 53 of those 14ers are still untouched by our boots.

But the ones we did climb are pretty cool notches in our belts. Each one gave us different stories to tell and unique learning experiences to put toward the next climb.

And of course each one had that final victorious moment: reaching the peak. It's a thrilling, singular experience to realize you are almost as high on the earth as your feet can take you.
But really, the mountain climbing hasn't ended for us. We're just climbing a different kind of mountain now. It's called Mount Parenthood, and from here, it looks much higher than 14,000 feet. We have a long way to go, but I have hopes and dreams about the summit. I want us to reach the top with children who have grown into confident, happy adults. I want them to know that they are fully loved and to be able to give that love away. I want their hearts to beat in rhythm with their Heavenly Father's heart. I want them to "shine like stars in the universe as they hold out the Word of Life" (from Philippians 2).

We've already completed several legs of this journey: the newborn leg, the two-in-diapers leg, the pre-school leg, the adding-a-third-isn't-that-bad leg, and the deciding-to-homeschool-and-actually-doing-it leg. I figure we're up about 10,000 feet. Making it through the teen years must get you at least 30 or 40,000 feet higher, right? I shudder.

We recently had the joy of taking the three to our old hiking area and showing them them ropes.

Look. Ben praises the Lord we finally made it.

Mountain hiking is good for body, soul, and spirit.
Sometimes it's tough. Sometimes a duck tries to eat your granola bar.

Sometimes you can't believe how many miles you have left to walk.

Sometimes you cut your finger on a pine tree. Blasted pine trees!

And sometimes you just hafta sit down 'cause your feet feel like bloody stubs.

If you are paying attention on your journey, though, you will notice the gifts: like smooth sticks that were made just for your hand, to help you with the walking,

ferns that fill your thirsty soul with heavenly green,

smaller accomplishments along the way that give confidence for what lies ahead,

chipmunks who stand tall and give speeches to tell you how well you are doing,

little girls who offer to carry your backpack for a spell,

bridges safely crossed without incident,

the perfect shade of lavender,

birds to remind you that you can soar, if only you will jump off the edge of your fear,

and then...then, you can see it. You are almost there.

And then you know... for you have lived it,

that beauty is worth the struggle.

Joy is worth fighting for.

What kind of mountain are you facing?

Whatever it is, you can climb it. Be encouraged! Take heart! You are not climbing alone.

God goes with you. He will lead you beside still waters.

He will let you lie down in a green meadow and rest.

His rod and staff will comfort you.

He will anoint your head with the oil of joy.

Your cup will overflow!

His goodness and love will follow you...right up to the summit.


  1. Oh, I love every bit of this! And oh my goodness, Rachelle! You got such good pictures! That bird! That rainbow in the mist, framing your head! Can I use any more exclamation marks?! Apparently I can, even on a question!

  2. three kids does change a few things, I seem to live in rinks and gyms, great post

  3. How lovely! Life is a journey! Thanks for visiting Journey Towards Epiphany!

  4. I so enjoy your writings! And, my personal opinion... with the wonderful foundation you are providing for your awesome 'three', the teen years will be a climb you and they can easily navigate.


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