Thanks so very much to all of you who prayed for me yesterday. I have been quite blessed and am so excited about what the Lord has put on my heart. Your words and well wishes were of great encouragement to me and made me feel so very special and loved. I appreciate your taking the time to fb me and to write comments.
One of the reasons I am seeking the Lord for guidance at this point, is that at 57, I feel keenly that I need to make the next years of my life count. I do not have endless years of ministry and speaking ahead--but a limited time, realistically. And with my last child graduating from high school in May, I have been impressed by the Holy Spirit to really become intentional about my plans and priorities.
If you have read any of my books, you know that God have given to me an adventuresome heart. Many stories and lessons have come from walking, hiking, climbing mountains and getting lost! Yesterday, I was enjoying a wonderful quiet time where my heart was being filled with excitement for what is ahead. It seemed pretty clear what I needed to drop and what I needed to focus on in my life. (more on that next week)
After a couple of hours, I decided to talk a walk outside, as I love to walk and it provides a great time for me to think and pray and clear my mind. There is a small lake up from where I am staying. It has a pathway around it and our family has walked it many times. As a matter of fact, I walked it just three days ago by myself one morning.
So, I climbed the hill to the little lake, and began to walk around it, looking for some familiar benches where we have shot family pictures and sat many times before. Three to four feet of snow had piled up in mounds in many places just from the previous 3 days of snow. I thought I knew this path very well and so took off in the direction of what I thought was my pathway around the lake. However, as I ventured into the obscured path, I found myself deeper and deeper in snow. What had started out as sinking down 3-4 inches in snow, eventually turned into a foot of snow. Stomping my feet 12 inches down, falling with each step became very grueling.
I kept thinking I was on the path and would find a cleared out place to walk just a few feet ahead. But, eventually, I found myself in snow that was over my knees with each step. I had looked back after about 10 minutes to go back, but it looked like the clearest path was just ahead. Finally, I realized I had walked deep into the woods, as I could not see a path or the lake. It all happened little by little. All the while I was thinking I was going a familiar way.
Now, I hate to admit it, but I had no gloves on. (I know all of you moms who prepare for everything--I know what you are thinking.) But, I had walked this a million times and the sun was out and I have hot little hands, so I don't generally wear gloves outside unless it is below freezing. But, I found myself falling every few steps (when you are sinking down below your knees in jeans with every step, the awkwardness of the snow and uneven ground underneath, caused me to fall numerous times.
Because I have lived in the mountains so long, I knew that I had to hurry and keep going as fast as I could to find a way out, as the colder and wetter one gets, the more danger of exhaustion and frost bite and inability to keep going. I was deeply out of breath, keeping a constant pace and climbing towards what I thought was a flat trail.
Finally, I found some footsteps where someone else had gotten off the train. Though each footstep was about 18 inches deep, it was a sure foundation from the packed snow and gave me the steadiness I needed to keep going forward. Of course the Lord was speaking to me the whole time.
"When you are searching for a trial in a difficult climb, it is always easier if you can follow someone else's footsteps who have gone before you to lead the way."
It seemed to me a paradigm of so many moms. Going on a pathway that is against the storms of culture, but without anyone to show them the way. I have forged this idealistic trail of life, to raise godly, moral, educated children in a culture that is challenging at every point. God had step by step taken me through the rough and dangerous turns and twists of a hostile culture and had been faithful to, by His grace and guidance, allow me to raise Whole Hearted children, healthy, alive and vibrant in their young adulthood.
The Lord really seemed to underline how much of a stewardship I had to be the footsteps in front of moms who need to find the way to go. I need to continue giving my life to help, to encourage and to show the way in the midst of all the cultural storms. Of course this was added to all He had been speaking to my heart earlier that morning when all of you sweet friends had been praying for me.
Finally after an hour and 40 minutes, I was able to climb up onto an abandoned ski trail. It was being prepared for skiing but was not opened yet. I saw flashing lights ahead of a ski patrol and so I walked about a quarter of a mile towards the light.
Finding 3 ski patrol staff, I explained my story, and they commented, "Oh yeah, I heard they hadn't cleared the pathway yet and had piled snow against the former trail. It was too much snow in two days to clear."
"Why don't you hop on the back of my4 wheeler and I will ride you up to the top of the mountain and take you back over to the place you are staying."
Of course she had gloves, a helmet and a snow suit. I had my coat, soaked jeans and was out for a leisurely walk with no gloves. And so she began to jet up the mountain. It was actually gorgeous and thrilling, when I stopped the beating of my pounding heart from overcoming my feat of bouncing off. We climbed all the way up to the top of the ski trail and over the mountain to the other ski slope. She, used to the mountain, was speeding over bumps and twists. I prayed, "Please don't let me die now, Lord. Clay and the kids would never forgive me." :)
After about 5 minutes, I began to enjoy myself and looked out over the sparkling snow and beauty of the sun shining through the trees. Again, the Lord reminded me what an adventure He had taken me on throughout my life, and yet how faithful He had been to provide and to help me along the way.
And so, I came home, took a very tall and hot bath, and sat down for my final alone hour. God poured out all sorts of dreams, ideas and ideals to follow in the next phase of my life to come. But, my day had been a little more interesting than I ever imagined it would be.