from the bottom...

The whole week before my big event is now just a blur of memories of checking the weather! All the weather reports kept giving me a 60-80% chance of thunderstorms throughout the day of my hike. I was beginning to panic and question and doubt, when that still small voice said once again, “I got this”.

I don’t know what it is about those 3 little words. They seem just as impactful and powerful as “I love you”. 

With the phrase “I got this” whispered in my soul from my beloved…. I rested in a deep shalom knowing that no matter what happened it would all be okay. 

As Saturday morning arrived, one last glance at my weather app showed me that overnight, much of the bad weather had turned north or dissipated and while the clouds still remained… my chances for rain were much smaller. Before the sun even rose, I knew that God was working things out behind the scenes all along.

With excitement stirring in my belly all the way up the parkway, the fog lifting off the mountains seemed to paint a picture for how I felt at that moment. It wasn’t butterflies in my stomach, but a cool misty fog rising up from within that would soon lift away making room for the adventure of a lifetime.

The 3 of us started off with prayer and some stretching and it wasn’t long before we were surrounded in the tunnels of the rhododendron. How fitting that the beginning of our journey symbolized a birth. Like a birth canal, the tunnels urged us forward into a new life. We began noticing the extensive root systems under our feet, and even over our heads in these tunnels. How fitting that these roots became the stepping stones that gave us the strength to push upward and onward thru the hills. Occasionally, we would stumble on these roots though, and our feet would get caught in them… usually it was a quick kick that  propelled us to stay on our feet, but it occurred to me that if we weren’t careful, these roots could cause one of us to fall. 

  This is so true in life as well. It’s our roots… our family... our history… our past…. That gives us strength sometimes. We can use those roots to propel us forward and rise up to new things. OR, we can trip on them, get stuck and never move on from them.

I believe I’ve spent much of my life up til this point, sitting on the forest floor with my foot wrapped around a root system.

But no longer.

Now I am able to allow most of my roots to give me a step up, and I’ve got friends and loved ones who will take my arm and balance me when other roots try to trip me up along the way.

 As we continued on the trail, we moved on from the tunnels and out into beautiful open pastures. Graceful hills, distant trees, tall grasses and wildflowers beckoned us to dance and skip like little girls. Reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie views…. I felt the beginnings of freedom rise up within my heart.

The fog had lifted by now and the birds were singing fresh morning tunes inviting us to continue on. From here we could see Grandfather Mountain in the distance… a glimpse of our destination. It looked so far away, but at this point, only encouraged us to pick up the pace… excited that we were actually going to go that far!!

The next few miles took us back into the woods, with steeper inclines and beautiful quiet streams. Every quiet stream always reminds me of Psalm 23. Now that I mention it, the scripture was a perfect description of the trail so far…
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,   
   He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me."

Before long, we started to hear the rumblings of thunder and we trudged on knowing that when God said “I got this” that he meant it no matter what it looked like to us. The rain came down, slow at first, and we put on our rain gear. Then the skies opened up and just poured out the waters upon us. All we could do was just keep putting one foot in front of the other. With our heads down the path was our main focus. Always on the lookout for slippery spots, we took special care not to trip on roots here, especially where the path was skinny and the soft edges would have sent us tumbling downhill. I took comfort in the scriptures that I searched out during the week prior to this moment.

 Scriptures that showed me that when the Lord sends rain- its purpose is to cause fruit to grow.

I thanked the Lord for his provision, for his rain. And we kept walking with good spirits and without fear. The few claps of thunder in the distance were not cause for concern.

Yet the reminded me of this section of 2 Samuel that I had prayed over our journey just the night before.

He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.”
2 Sam 22:15

I imagined my enemy (in the spirit) along the trail being scattered away… so that the rest of my journey would be clear and I would not be ambushed. I thanked him for his protection.

And the rain stopped. Our way was clear now. 


  1. In case you're wondering what this "journey" is all about on this post... you can read all about my "Finish Line Hike" here: http://theopenbench.blogspot.com/2014/04/valued-celebration.html

  2. Even though I was with you the whole time, I love reading your internal thoughts on the day and time leading up to it. It was such a special time for me to be there with you (and Michelle) on your journey. I can't wait for the second half of your story!

    1. Thanks !! :) Part 2 is now up... Part 3 will have to wait one more day! :) I'm so glad you joined me on this journey!!


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