How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
I do it! All-by-myselss!
My two year old’s favorite phrase right now. She wants to feed herselss. Dress herselss. And, last weekend, climb Stone Mountain all by herselss! We were enjoying a warm, colorful Fall day at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park with our Sunday School class. Of course, the most important thing on the itinerary for the day was climbing the mountain. I had never climbed it, but reputable sources said it wasn’t that tough, only about a mile. One of them claimed to have done it as a three year old. Pshaw. Easy. Ron and I confidently turned down the offer of a ride up on the sky lift.
Sure we had a bulky bag of “necessities” (you know, extra pants and panties for just in case, Swedish fish, Minnie Mouse, two skeins of yarn and a crochet project, a bottle of Orange Crush – the necessities). Along with our bulky bag we also had our “light weight” travel stroller. In other words, we were more heavy laden than we realized as we naively started up the gently meandering climb through the Autumn woods at the base of the world’s largest granite deposit.
At first Rosie’s diligence was downright cute. It was slowing the group down to have to move at her clumsy pace but she was so insistent about her independence. She wouldn’t let me hold her hand and she fell flat on her face three times tripping over protruding tree roots on the path. To her credit, each time she fell she hopped back up, proclaimed, “I ok!” and resumed her toddler jog. Ron carried the stroller and I carried the bag and we smiled at her as we followed close by. The first leg of our climb was carefree and fun. We didn’t know what lay ahead.
It started to get a little harder and a little steeper. I couldn’t let Rosie climb on her own, it was too dangerous. If she tripped here, she could tumble down the steep hill. She was not cool with being carried. She wanted down! Ron and I juggled her back and forth, taking turns between the heavy bag/stroller combo and our chubby toddler. (Maybe I should’ve packed carrot sticks and water instead of gummy fish and soda hmm?) Our friends started offering to help.
Let me tell you, Ron and I are not great at accepting help. We, like Rosie, would prefer to do it “all by myselse!” If we had known this journey was going to require so much leaning on others, we would’ve forsaken the climb. But, too late now, it was either die of a heart attack on that mountain or let someone help. After more deliberation than was healthy, we gave in and let our friends help. A helping hand took the stroller. Our sunday school teacher put Rosie on his shoulders and I panted on behind them—enjoying the adorable view of Rosie’s little butt crack peeking out of the top of her pants.
It got worse! It got steeper! I thought I might not make it! Rosie got super fussy. She had never napped all day. She kept crying for me to hold her, but I was physically incapable of carrying her up the steepest parts of the mountain. Someone said this thing was a one mile hike! I wanted to push that someone off the mountain. When we had gone about two miles up – straight up – we passed a group of people coming down. “Only about another mile,” they said. “You’re almost there!” said a lady in her sixties.
Her late sixties.
I would’ve been way better at the climb if I wasn’t carrying so much baggage, I told myself!
Rosie’s crying was ruining the “peaceful” climb. She only wanted mommy. Daddy wouldn’t do. So I tried to carry her and Ron literally walked behind me with a finger through my belt loop trying to “lift” me up the challenging incline.
Laughable my friends. It was laughable.
We scraped and struggled our way to the top. I was so exhausted when my trembling legs finally reached the summit, I barely enjoyed the view. Everyone else stood around and “oohed and ahed” at the breathtaking panorama around us. Breath-taken described me physically—and slightly concerned that I was experiencing the onset of a coronary. I just wanted to curl up on a public bench and take a nap.
How like life! If we had known, setting out, how hard life might get, would we have looked for an easier way up? If we had known how much help we’d need to make it, would we have chosen to climb the mountain? Like Rosie, we want to do it on our own and our Heavenly Father knows it’s too dangerous for our imbalanced legs. A fall on the steep cliffs of life can do irreversible damage.
Jesus wants to pick us up and carry us over the mountainous trials of life; but we cry out for someone else’s help. When strong, capable Daddy wants to carry us, we’d rather have wimpy, struggling to breath mommy. We go to people instead of God so often. Instead of dropping to our knees in prayer when we realize the mountain is too much, we head to our email for moral support.
And don’t get me started on the baggage of our “necessities”—over-full schedules and “must-do” lists that help us feel like we are worth something. But all that stuff only weighs us down. You know the lists: I’m only a good mom if I have family pictures taken at least once a year. I’m only a good wife if I cook a great meal every night of the week. I’m only a good Christian if I…
Let’s enjoy the view friends. Let’s look out from these tough mountains we’re climbing and search for God’s presence. Let’s climb on His shoulders—even though our butt crack might hang out a little—and rest confident in His ability to carry us through.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.