On a nice, summer day in 2012 we took what was to be the most adventurous trip for our family thus far. Abi was five and Clay was one (most of the time he rode in a carrier on our backs) and we were on our first vacation to the Smoky Mountains. That day stands out as a vivid memory for the three of us who remember it - the day our family hiked to a waterfall.
The trail didn’t seem too intimidating, five miles round trip, for three able bodied walkers, with a beautiful waterfall at the end. Our way in was pretty uneventful: stopping to enjoy the scenery, playing in the water, letting clay walk some and ride some. After making it two and a half miles we came across a waterfall flowing with cool, clear water. There was plenty of room to sit, stick our feet in the water and have a snack before journeying back.
The way back didn’t unfold as carefree and relaxed as the hike there. Abi’s five-year-old legs were tired, Clay was fussy, and the path was hotter and harder (uphill) than it had been coming in. About halfway back, I hate to admit, I was exhausted!! I had been trying to carry one child and switched to the other, and finally wasn’t able to carry either. I was honestly being strong because I knew whining or crying wouldn’t do any good. By the end of the trial, Jon was almost carrying all three of us. It had taken us five hours to complete the five mile trail.
We had chosen to hike to the waterfall, and even though we were tired and ready to quit, we had no other choice but to keep going. The only way we were going to make it back to our car was to keep moving. Jon and I were responsible for getting ourselves and two unhappy kids back through the trail and to our car safely. We had chosen to be on this path, for good reason, and even when it got hard, we had to keep following the chosen path – because it was going to lead us out.
For almost twelve months after this, we would say to each other, “Remember when we hiked five miles to that waterfall!” Only the three of us, who could remember, can truly appreciate the beauty, courage and perseverance of that statement and experience.
I like being comfortable: comfortable environment, routine tasks, and comfortable relationships. I don’t usually seek out situations where I’m trying new things; because there is a chance I’ll look dumb or mess something up! You’ve probably experienced this. As adults, we get to choose the paths we take in life, and sometimes it’s a choice we have to make daily. Crossroads are hard because there are multiple choices, a decision to make, and no one can tell you for sure which is the right one. I would love a neon sign clearly pointing out which turn to make, so I can be confident I’m making the right choice, but rarely does that happen.
I have come to many crossroads, and have had to choose which way to go, without a neon sign. In our family’s current stage those choices usually present themselves in a way that means trusting our own abilities, or relying on God’s. This should not surprise me, since we are on our current path as a result of choosing to follow His plan. But still, choices have to be made that call for pause and contemplation. I am also beginning to realize that this particular choice presents itself more often than just when a “BIG” decision has to be made. It’s a choice presented in the little things, the every day opportunities to trust. Not just things like “we need a job to pay the bills” but trusting that the job provided will be enough, and God will fill in the gaps. Trusting that we are doing the right thing because we are seeking and leaning on God.
We have made a choice to take the path were we are relying on God and trusting His abilities, rather than our own. It’s been a daily choice to choose to trust Him, rather than my own abilities. Everyday, we all get to choose what we do at the crossroads of our strength or God’s – we get to choose! I have found when I choose to rely on God, rather than myself, I begin to see things I didn’t before. If it’s God, I can’t take credit for it, and humility develops in my heart. If I didn’t have the ability to solve the problem and God took care of it He gets the glory.
I hope Romans 15:13 will encourage you to make the best choice every day. The world offers us a lot of things, but none of them are freedom, freedom is only found in the hope, joy and peace of Jesus Christ and with it comes the power of the Holy Spirit – why would we choose anything else.
Please continue to lift up our family on this journey.
St. Charles Community
Additional Team Members
We had the privilege of sharing Abi's baptism with grandparents and our Table family. We enjoy watching Abi grow into her faith. Thank you to all who joined us!
First United Gathering
Provision of location for United
The Brown's will host our groups every other month