On July 30th I climbed my second fourteener, Mt. Sherman. As I prepared I couldn’t help but remember last year when I climbed my first fourteener, Mt. Quandary. Sara Godwin invited me to join on this climb and I was excited to go because climbing a fourteener was on my bucket list. I jumped at the opportunity an it was an incredible experience- one that I will never forget.
We began our climb at Mt. Quandary’s trail head and I was soon enthralled by God’s creation; the smell of fresh air and pine trees, the chatter of squirrels, and chirping of birds and the beautiful colors of the wildflowers were exhilarating. As we hiked toward the summit though I noticed that I was laboring a bit and concerns began to filter through my brain. I knew that I was not at my best but I didn’t think I was that out of shape!
Mt. Quandary’s boulder field is humongous. When we reached the field, my concern turned into distress. Fatigue was starting to set in and I was starting to show signs of altitude sickness. Mt. Quandary has two false peaks which appear to be the summit but are not. When we reached the first of the two false peaks I contemplated turning back, but because I’m not one to quit a challenge, I continued on.
As we climbed over boulders, fatigue had turned to exhaustion. I was dizzy and had started to fear that I was going to pass out. During one of my many rest breaks, I mentally screamed, “I can’t do this”, “I’m really out of shape and need to work out more!” I was ready to quit and didn’t care that I wouldn’t be crossing this item off my bucket list! But then I heard the whisper of a still, small voice, “I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength.” I got up and started to slowly climb over the massive boulders and made my way to the second false peak. With each and every step I took, the voice in my head got louder and louder until I actually screamed, “I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH!” from the summit of the mountain. I suppose you could say I went and told it on the mountain! I relied on God’s strength to get me to the top of Mt Quandary and a few months later I found myself relying on His strength to get me through some pretty tough trials.
God used my fourteener experience to prepare me for my mission trip to India, weeks of caring for my mother as she recovered from stomach cancer, and ultimately my own battle with breast cancer.
As I reflect on that climb I realize that it was really symbolic of the trials that I face in my own life. I relied in my own strength in the beginning of that climb just as I do in my everyday life. I have relied on my own strength to get me through the “easy stuff” but it is not until the “hard stuff” comes along that I rely on God’s strength. Yet even in the “easy stuff,” God wants me to rely on Him whose strength is so much more than my own. He used this experience to teach me this extraordinarily valuable lesson and I thank him for it every day.
I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Christine is the Children's Ministry Assistant at BUMC