Standing knee deep in years of fallen leaves with overgrown vines and green briars woven through every branch stretched up to the heavens, once again, this yard leaves me overwhelmed. A February deadline looms overhead to prepare the section of land I never finished. A dozer will soon arrive to level the earth, move rocks, and remove tree stumps. Even in the dead of winter, my jungle has no end in sight. I pray the weather is conducive to yard work.
Looking back to press on
I recall the climbing of Mt. Bierstadt, one of Colorado’s fifty-four fourteeners. When I looked ahead, all I saw was a gigantic pile of rocks climbing to forever. If I wanted to succeed, I needed to place one foot in front of the other and trudge on. As I turned around to gaze at the view and return what little oxygen I could find into my lungs, I saw how far I had climbed; the mountain in front of me grew smaller and smaller. I stood in awe.
2017 presents me with a giant mountain to climb both in making this house a home and in my spiritual growth as well.
When I look at this uncleared part of the yard and the winter weather in which to clear it, I am overwhelmed, to say the least. When I turn around and look up the hill towards the house at what I’ve already accomplished, I am encouraged. Never in a million years did I dream of such accomplishments. One step, one day, and one forest fire at a time. (**ok, with this fire thing, don’t think I’m a pyro or something like that. My disclaimer states that fire is a serious matter and is not taken lightly. Although I, somewhat, jest about burning the yard, please keep in mind my disclaimer. I have taken a serious oath to burn responsibly)
I smile as I say that. You and I both recall how I spent the summer trying to burn the yard that would not burn. I only needed to wait for the right season. Everything has its time and place, and the season for burning the jungle is winter! No doubt, it is still hard work out there, but in time it will all be worth the effort when I’m eighty drinking iced tea in the shade of a beautiful place (provided I install an escalator to move me from the top of the hill to the bottom and so forth). For now, I climb the mountain, remembering just where I began.
Spiritually, this is no different. I have a mountain in front of me, more like a cliff to scale with no ropes or skill. Fortunately enough, I only need to press on. He who made me is more than sufficient and will equip me as I climb with all I need. I must be willing to journey and not quit when the going gets tough.
My mountain? (long pause and deep breath) My mountain is the mountain of forgiveness. I do not want to climb; I want to walk around it no matter how many years I have to wander aimlessly in the desert. Six months ago, God called me to forgiveness, and I flat out said “nope, not ready to let it go. Unforgiveness is my familiar; it is all I know.”
In my Malachi prayer at the beginning of Advent (Malachi 3:1-2), I prayed, “prepare my heart for the coming of Christ, refine me.” In my Psalm 139:23 prayer, I whispered, silently, under my breath, “search me, O God…” He heard me. He searched. He wants to refine me because I want to see His face. I want to see Him badly enough that I am surrendering to the mountain. I will intentionally climb; I expect to see God every step of the way. He is the only one upon whom I will place expectations.
He does not fail nor does He falter. EVER!!
Yes, this mountain is overwhelming. To let go and truly forgive, I must go back in time and write forgiveness over each and every hurt. Did I mention, I hate my past? Scared to death at the base of this mountain, I look back and see how far I’ve come. Never in a million years did I dream of such accomplishments. Yet here am I, looking out over a vast land that never ends. I watch the thunderstorms below me and can see just how far He has drug me, kicking and screaming at some points. Nonetheless, I am here.
While I scale the mountain of forgiveness and try to make this house a home, I will be intentional. I don’t feel like being accidental anymore (you and I both know accidents still happen, like burning half the forest yesterday. Who knew years worth of knee deep leaves would burn so far and fast with twisted vines scaling every tree). I am still not sure what the word “intentional” looks like fashioned into my world, but we shall discover that, together, on this Journey.
2017, look out, here we come!! I promise you this year, we will laugh (as I am still not ordinary), we will cry (because the past is killer, but it hasn’t killed me), we will praise, we will worship, and we will grow in life together. He called me out onto the water, where feet will fail because I asked Him to. “If that is you, Jesus, call to me. Tell me to get out of this rut I call life and tell me to walk on this water with you.” He did, it was Him. I have not sunk. As the storms toss me about, the borders of my faith begin to fade opening up the limitless.
I’m looking back to press on.
Intentionally seek His face and then expect to see it.
I promise, you won’t be disappointed, but don’t be surprised when He shows up. Expect Him, watch eagerly, He will not let you down. I’ll stake my life on it!
Ready, set, let’s do a new thing!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19