Wilderness Hikes

During my time in Tuscan, I had a couple of days on my own while Brian worked. There was an amazing hiking trail adjacent to our hotel and Brian and I had hiked part of it together. On my first free day, a friend from the conference and I ventured out on the trail. I had been on it once already and was able to lead us further than where I had been. On my second free day, God called me out into this wilderness trail to be alone with Him. Now, I was a little more than nervous doing this, especially since I had seen a (dead) rattlesnake the day before when I was out walking. I knew the trail was pretty challenging and a bit treacherous at times with streams to ford, rocks to climb, and plenty of wildlife to be wary of. But, if God was calling me out, I knew He would protect me.

It didn't take long for me to understand that I was going to have to face my fears. The biggest fear for me was that of the unknown. I literally trembled as I had to walk through jungles of overgrown brush or when the the trail narrowed and I had to creep closely to the canyon walls. I was petrified that something hidden would come out and hurt me.

Being alone was so much harder than with a hiking buddy. Every little noise put me on edge and I had to continue to call out to God and depend on Him. Over and over I asked Him to give me courage to continue. God continued to push me farther, to challenge myself to do more than what I thought I could. He encouraged me over and over to face my fears and keep going. When I sat down on a boulder near a stream, I soaked in His sunshine, His beauty, His peace....A beautiful butterfly was my constant companion. I continued to feel stronger and the more I pushed in, I felt more brave.

During life, God calls into the wilderness at times. He pushes us deeper...further. He asks us to face our fears and join Him near the streams for refreshment. He teaches us lessons that can only be learned in the wilderness.

During my experience, He revealed things in my heart that need to change. He drew me closer still to Him. He proved Himself a trustworthy guide.

Some lessons I learned were that shortcuts, although they may appear to be shorter can be dangerous. The trail may take longer, but it is the safe path.

I met several other hikers along the way. Most were small groups, but some were alone like me. Now, I am often a bit wary of strangers when I am alone and in an isolated place, but I found a co artery and unity with my fellow travelers. We were all facing these same struggles....the same streams to ford, boulders to climb, narrow trails to navigate. We ask one another what the trail was like ahead and how far we had gotten. We had the same struggles, but also the same desire and goal to reach the maiden pools. In life, we need a community of others to encourage each other.

Going up the trail can be physically demanding, climbing up rocks and canyons. But, coming down isn't always "easier". The momentum can bring you down too quickly. I had to use muscles and energy to slow myself at times. Jumping down can be more perilous than hoisting myself up.

I am thankful for my wilderness time. I felt so accomplished and victorious when I finished! God showed me that I am much more brave than I had imagined. He helped me face my fears. My favorite time is still sitting near the quiet stream, soaking Him in and allowing Him to fill me with His Presence.  I encourage you to take some time alone with Him in the wilderness.

Thank you Lord for your love. Thank you Lord that you encourage us to spend time with you alone in the wilderness and that you challenge us to face our fears. Thank you for providing community to encourage us. Thank you for quiet rests. I love You Lord. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

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