Feeling calmer and stronger, I know it is time to continue. Gazing upward I see some wicked looking overhangs and steep walls to climb. Challenges come, and facing them makes me stronger; trusting God builds my faith.
But I still have to ask ,“Are You sure, Lord, You want me to continue? I’m no spring chicken.”
“Mary, do not fear, I am always with You. Have I not told you I would give you hind’s (a female deer) feet on high places?
Psalm 18:33 (AMPC)
33 He makes my feet like hinds’ feet
[able to stand firmly or make progress
on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble];
He sets me securely upon my high places.
“Yes Lord, You have said it and I believe it.”
Encouraged, I take off again. Finding a place for my foot, I begin to climb; I'm feeling a pull to go up to my left, and so proceed to climb once again. The wall gets steeper; I've never been fond of heights, but my resolution is firm, I will not quit this task. I'm breathing hard from effort and tension. "Am I strong enough for this, Lord?" Jesus speaks into my heart: "Remember, Mary, where your strength comes from":
for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.
Just hearing His voice brings joy and banishes any fear the enemy was trying to place in my heart. Indeed with the joy does come renewed faith and vigor. It takes blood sweat and many pauses, but finally I reach the top of the cliff. Breathing deeply, I sit for a drink of water thanking my Lord for His constant presence and help. With His rest also comes wisdom, and as my mind contemplates my journey, I realize the day has passed quickly and evening is not far off, so I continue looking for a place to spend the night.
About an hour later, I spy a cave. Evening is descending quickly and this might be the place. I consult Holy Spirit and follow His guidance to the small cave. I am close and approach cautiously; do not want to challenge one of God’s beautiful but hungry critters who might live there. Catching no animal odor, I shine my flashlight inside. Through the small opening I can see the cave enlarges. After climbing in, I gratefully remove my gear and begin gathering branches of a few scrub bushes still existing at this level. The warmth of a fire will feel wonderful tonight.
As total darkness falls upon the mountain, I am even more grateful for the protection of the cave God provided. The fire lends cheer, and my sleeping bag provides warmth. Night is often a time for the enemy to attack my mind, so I begin thanking God for His protection. Night noises on the mountain are strange to these citified ears. Creatures of the dark are hunting for their daily food, I hear sniffing noises, but I’m grateful for the peace of God that reigns in my heart and in my small night shelter. I rest in His hands and fall asleep.
Morning light enters my tiny abode and wakens my brain. “It’s time to get up” it calls. Left over chill from the night still fills the atmosphere, so with a shiver, I begin layering for the day. My backpack contains sustenance which will provide energy, but I choose to wait awhile before imbibing. After packing up, and cleaning up the ashes from the fire, I push through the little roundish 'door'. The scene is glorious as the son highlights the beautiful colors in God's creation. it fills me with gladness and a readiness to begin the day’s climb. The pinnacle is closer, but still a journey away.
Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)
This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
First night on the mountain passed well, and I have great expectations for the day. I can see challenges ahead, but I am also noticing how God is with me in every situation. But now, it's time with my God. . .