On Mountains and Faith

mountains blogEver since I was a little girl, I have been drawn to the mountains.

Maybe it’s because of the happy memories of camping trips with the whole family, cousins and all. We’d set up tents and immediately start hunting fireflies. Then we’d move on to building dams in the creek for all the fish we’d catch with our bare hands. (None.) There was the annual fierce competition of putt putt golf followed by a Dreamsicle bar and a Mello Yello. There would be campfire stories and roasted marshmallows. We’d spend entire afternoons swimming at the bottom of freezing waterfalls with whoops and squeals echoing off the hills. Then, pruned and shivering, we’d soak in every last drop of warmth from the sunbaked rocks.

Or maybe it could have something to do with our trips with the youth group that encouraged me to find alone time with God alongside creeks and waterfalls to pray and to listen. That silence you find on a hillside is amplified when you were just in a room with hundreds of middle schoolers singing Higher, Higher at the tops of their lungs. I’d walk out of the stone auditorium and find my favorite spot and just breathe in the silence. The only sounds were the wind in the trees and the birds singing and the creek bubbling over the rocks. It always seemed easier to hear God from the top of a mountain.

And now I can see those blue ridges on the horizon from the Walmart parking lot. And from the windows of Chickfila. And when I take the kids to school. It puts a song in my soul. (Mostly Nickel Creek and Wailin’ Jennys.)

We’ve lived here for a month now and I still annoy the kids to no end. Every time we round a curve or top a hill and the mountains are there. Claps, giggles, and squeals just bubble up and out and the kids groan and I tell them to just get used to it.

This last week, it’s been cloudy, misty, and a bit rainy. The kids were more than a little relieved on our last trip to town when we rounded the curve and topped the hill and couldn’t see more than a mile or so down the road. The mountains were swallowed up by the haze. My sweet children took that moment to point out, rather gleefully, that my mountains were gone. “Ha Ha, Mom! No cheering for you today! The mountains are gone!”

And as so many times before, the mountains made me think of God.

Just because the mountains were covered with a blanket of clouds and mist didn’t mean they weren’t there. Sometime soon, the sun will come out and the fog will fall away and the mountains will be there, standing tall and strong and completely unchanged.

There have been times in my life when it felt like God was far away, covered in fog, and I couldn’t see Him or what He was doing. But just because we can’t see doesn’t mean He isn’t there, standing tall and strong and completely unchanged.

I shared this insight with my kids and I felt so proud to be able to grab onto a teachable moment about faith. Surely they would stand at the gate and sing my praises. Or give me a gold star or something.

Feeling so warm and tender in this Hallmark moment, I asked them if they had any questions.

“Yes, Mom. I have a question. What’s for lunch?”

Planting seeds, people. We’re planting seeds. I just know it.

On GPS and Trust Issues

on gps and trust issues1So we have officially moved to Atlanta. It has been so great. We love it here!

All of our Florida chaos has disappeared.

And now it’s Georgia chaos.

But that’s OKAY! Because it’s a fresh view of the chaos that is our life. Chaos is so much prettier with mountains in the background.

We are still in the depths of boxes and unpacking and organizing and figuring out school stuff and orienting to the new job and LEARNING WHERE STUFF IS.

Our little community is not exactly in the thick of things (which makes us sing praises – we love this peace and quiet). Every time we need a gallon of milk, we have choices to make. Do we go left to Town A or turn right for Town B. Or if we need more than a gallon of milk, we could choose to go north to Town C or south to Town D.

Depending on which town we choose that day, our routes will be drastically different. Are we braving the highway with the notorious Atlanta traffic? Most often, I choose the scenic back roads.

I have a fairly decent sense of direction but I am so completely way out of my league with all of these different roads through farmland and foothills. I don’t know what I’d do without the GPS on my phone.

I’ve been using the standard navigation app on my phone. I plug in my destination, choose the route based on distance, and off I go. And stop. And go. And stop. Caught in the perpetual construction and traffic.

My brother and sister-in-law have lived in Atlanta for a while and are basically professionals at driving here. So they told me about this other navigation app called Waze.

And my world has changed.

If you’ve never heard of it, Waze is kinda like Google Maps and Twitter had a baby. Based on reports from its users, Waze can tell you where the traffic jams are (spoiler alert: they’re everywhere) and update your route in real time to avoid delays.

But it requires a LOT of trust.

And, ooh, it’s hard for me. I want to research a route, plan the best course in turn-by-turn detail, commit to it and follow it through until I reach my destination. Slightly type A. Just a little.

With Waze, you might assume you’re driving straight down the highway and then suddenly she will tell you to take a left here and a right there. You’ll find yourself in a subdivision and start shaking your fist at the GPS and demanding to know where she’s taken you and why you are so far off the
route you planned out so carefully. But if you give it a hot minute, you’ll take that one last turn and find yourself back on the highway, 20 miles down the road on the other side of a total roadblock.

Isn’t that so much like life?

I have planned out so many details about the way I want (even expect) things to go in my life and it can be really frustrating when God suddenly gives me a left turn out of nowhere.

And yes, I will admit that I have sometimes even found myself shaking my fist and demanding to know where He’s taking me and why I’m so far off the course I planned out.

But always, always, always, when I give Him a hot minute, I’ll find myself 20 miles down life’s road and be able to look back and see the total roadblocks that He led me around.

God is God and I am not. The GPS is now a daily reminder that I can trust Him to plot my course.

And when things don’t make much sense, give it a hot minute.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9, NKJV