Climb Every Mountain

I have a new fascination.

Mountains.

Yes, mountains. Climbing them, reading about them, pictures of them, you name it – I’m in. I recently read Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air, chronicling his 1996 ascent of Mt. Everest; it sparked something in me I didn’t know was there.

I want to climb stuff.

This makes no sense to me. I’m not particularly athletic (read my previous blog about my running experience), and I don’t like discomfort. My idea of ‘roughing it’ is a hotel without an indoor pool. I like my creature comforts – hot coffee, hot showers, and soft chairs. Oh, and indoor plumbing. Definitely indoor plumbing. With flush toilets.

But something in me seems inexplicably drawn to this challenging sport. I find myself googling various peaks, and have begun following some climbers on my social media networks, including a 69-year-old climber who is preparing to summit Everest twice in two months (he’s previously summited Everest); a rare feat for anyone, much less a 69-year-old.

Last week, I had the opportunity to test myself a bit in this area. Thursday morning, I woke up, packed my backpack with Gatorade, water, some tissue (!!!), my Bible and my journal, and set out.

I had no idea what I was doing.

All morning, the Lord had been speaking to me; “I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come from?” (Psalm 121:1) ran through my head as I walked over the cattle guard and out into the wilderness. My stomach was in knots – I was psyched. I just knew I was gonna climb something.

I’d never been on this particular piece of land before, and had no clue what the lay of the land looked like. As I tramped down the road, I heard my next direction: “Follow the deer.”

Yeah, you guessed it. Just then, a family of deer crossed the road about 100 yards in front of me. When I got to where they had disappeared into the brush, I turned to see two decent-sized hills in front of me.

“That where we’re going?”

“Yep.”

So up I went. I loved every step. Every step. My ankles screamed at me as various rocks caused minor twisting and turning. My lungs rebelled, reminding me just how long it’s been since I took my cardio seriously. The pack on my back with its full bottles of liquid and books got heavier and heavier the higher I got, but I didn’t care.

I was climbing.

When I reached the top, I turned to face where I’d been. It was simply stunning. Spread out before me was the raw, rocky, craggy beauty that is west Texas, scrub brush and cacti dotting the hillsides. I know I couldn’t have been higher than a few hundred feet, if that, but I felt a sense of accomplishment, nonetheless.

Mountains figure quite prominently in scripture. There is the ‘mountain of God’ referenced in Exodus 3 and Psalm 48; Satan tempted Jesus on a ‘very high mountain’ (Matthew 4:8). There’s the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew 5-7; Jesus ‘went up on the mountain’ and taught his disciples.

And then there’s that whole thing about ‘moving mountains’ (Matthew 17:20, 1 Cor. 13:2). Mustard seeds and faith; now there’s something I could ponder for a bit.

But the reason I was up there that day had nothing to do, really, with any of those things. He took me up there to show me who HE is, who I am, and how those two things mix. We wrestled (well, mostly I wrestled; He waited while I wrestled), I cried, He talked, and I was healed.

See, I carried something up there that was never mine to carry. My pack was heavy, because I had been carrying around the most weighty of issues. I was bowed over, bent down, and, to be blunt, found myself depressed.

Me?? Depressed?? But … but … I’m a pastor’s wife, for crying out loud! I’ve got a great marriage, great kids, an abundance of friends, but I was depressed.

Huh. Revelation hurts sometimes; know what I mean?

What He revealed to me on that mountain (humor me) was that I doubted. Doubted Him – whether He was good, whether He loved me, whether or not He was actually even there. I had been WORKING REALLY HARD to convince myself all this was real, but if I were able to talk myself into these things, then I wouldn’t need Him. I wouldn’t need grace.

I was disobeying, too. I knew he’d called me to some things, and I didn’t want to hear it. There was too much pain involved with saying yes; I felt like He was hanging me out to dry.

But I desperately needed Him; desperately needed grace. How do we expect to be truly happy when we’re living apart from His will for us?

Up on that hill, I let fly. I cussed (yeah, get over it), cried, yelled, stomped, cried some more, stomped some more, and generally wore myself out. He waited patiently, occasionally interjecting some truth or another, breaking down all my arguments, until.

Until.

Somewhere in the melee, somewhere in the raging, there came a calm. A peace. A sense of completion, a resolution.

“You done?” He asked.

“Yep.” I answered. “You done?”

“Yep.” He said.

And that was that. It was gone. I left doubt on that mountain; I brought back trust. I left depression; I brought back joy. I forgave, got healed and experienced a new level of freedom. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Can’t wait for the next one.

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22 comments so far

  1. Bob Hamp on

    Nancy….it could be just a bunch of words strung together…but somehow they WAY you strung ’em together touched me. It might just be that I need to go climb a hill. Thanks for showing the way, and then…thanks for being willing to write about it for all the world to see. Or at least me.

  2. Jesi Steiber on

    I don’t even know what to say. Thank you for sharing, for reminding me of my time there, and to return as often as He calls me to that place. Maybe not physcially, but definitely spiritually to that place where all the walls drop and it’s Him and me. Oh and thank you for your transparency. It’s comforting.

  3. Jan Greenwood on

    Loved this Nancy. I can so relate. I’ve been doing a little wrestling of my own. I love the idea that He waits for me to be done. Very encouraged! Thank you so much.

  4. Susan Bautista on

    AWESOME, Thank you for sharing!

  5. Ineffable Jeff on

    I had no idea we are kindred spirits! I love everything to do with mountains and mountain climbing. Seen every movie and read every book about Everest and K2 and other top ten peaks in the Himalayas. I am saving up to go to Nepal for a trek that includes hiking up to Everest base camp, and Annapurna. http://www.nepalmountain.com/

    I know that wasn’t the point of this blog, but I just got so darned excited…

  6. Bill Ferguson on

    Nancy, dear, your writing always leaves my soul well rested– I loved hiking with you – actually, this is my second time up that hill – but I felt the fresh breeze of freedom once again in your words– What peak will stand in your way now?– Thanks for sharing–

  7. Rebecca on

    Ouch, that felt good. I related a little more than I’d like to admit! And the Lord speaks to me through your transparency – thank you!!

  8. Jennifer Franklin on

    Love it Nancy!
    Have you read “Hinds Feet on High Places”, your story reminded me of that.
    🙂

  9. Becky S on

    I really do want to meet you, Nancy. We have many things in common. I’m so glad my struggle is over……for this season. Who knows when the next one will be? I too, have been able to leave doubt behind. That is so freeing, isn’t it? My trust in Him is so strong, and it is enabling me to walk in obedience in a way I wondered if I’d ever walk! Thank you for your heart and for telling it like it is.

  10. ambergobers on

    It’s just that… You are such an incredible teacher. And such an amazing learner all at the same time. And your words, your life… gifts. Thank you. Love, love.

  11. Marci Harper on

    Nancy–when you first got back I was anticipating you blogging about it, couldn’t wait for what you had to say about your HQ experience. Mine was so long ago (2003) that I need to be reminded of it sometimes through others’ recent quests. So, thank you for sharing your experience with me. Thank you for being honest and real. You make me want to go climb a mountain and I am the girliest girl around! Gotta find a mountain I can climb in my strappy high heeled sandals, ya know. 🙂 CHAYIL!!!

  12. Alan on

    Babe,
    You are beautiful. Your writing is beautiful. I am continually inspired by your pursuit of God. Love climbing this mountain together.

  13. Anna Davenport on

    It’s real nice knowing that I’m not the only one that struggles. I’ve been in the valley, and on the mountaintop, with God and can so relate to your words…
    Blessings on you and yours!

  14. Cindy S on

    Isn’t God incredible. He will even let you take the mountain home with you in your heart!

    I crossed that cattle guard twice. Thursday was what I went for. Time alone with Him. Friday was a bonus. I stepped out of the house and was YELLING at God (probably much stomping too) Cool thing, just like you I learned to trust.

    Thank you so much for sharing! You are a blessing to our church and a blessing in more ways than you know to me. You are the strength behind the pastor and I can not wait to see the next stage of you. It will blow us away, I am sure. Thank you Lord for Nancy!

  15. Fernanda on

    OMG… how much I needed to read this!!!! wow
    thank you
    thank you

  16. Becky S on

    So glad I got to meet you today. 🙂 Hopefully looking forward to getting to know you better. And looking forward to reading more articles from you. 🙂

  17. Kevin Gwyn on

    I don’t know you, but I know your husband. I was the admin on his Quest. when I read “cattle guard” and which way to go I knew where you were going. I didn’t need to read any more. I did though. There is something about going someplace where you have been called. A place where the table has been set for an intimate encounter with the Living God and you were intimate. Transparency is good for the soul

    God said, “Good eyes! I am sticking with you; I will make every word I give you come true.”
    Jeremiah 1.12

    bless you and thanks for sharing your Healed Heart

  18. Kevin Gwyn on

    I have a blog as well if you want to follow. It is called

    http://thevisionseeker.blogspot.com/

    Been writing about 15 months…… it comes and goes

  19. richard henderson on

    Beautiful Nancy…i loved hiking with you!

  20. Kristi on

    You’re biggest fan told us about your blog today! I didn’t know you had written about your Thursday, about your Freedom, but I’m glad I had the chance to read it! My days there were different, as everyone’s is, but just reading about your encounter with God just took me right back… thank you for sharing it! 🙂

  21. Babs on

    I was in California when this posted and am just now getting around to ‘real life’ this week; part of that is catching up on blog reading. Boy Howdy! This one brought me to tears. Literally. It moved something in me. Spoke to those deepest parts of me.

    I understand your mountain fascination. I am having my own with trees. Is it any surprise that the objects of what God is using to teach come from His very creation? I think not. 😉

    There are so many fantabulous parts of your writing that I could pull out and keep, but below is the one line that really shouted at me:

    “He took me up there to show me who HE is, who I am, and how those two things mix.”

    Regardless of the ‘what’ that needs healing in any of us, this statement rings true for all, and it paints a picture of God’s heart and purpose for us in such vivid detail.

    Nancy, every time I read your writing I cheer your no nonsense approach to life. You are bold and real and just down-right funny, girl. “I cussed (yeah, get over it)”

    Love you, Babs

  22. Calgary Listings on

    Wish I could have that feeling of being renewed. Need to spend time to evaluate of who really I am and lighten up my burdens. Daydreaming always to be in a peak of a mountain where i am alone, try to shout, cry, laugh and many more. Leave all the things that doesn’t really help me at all.


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