Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thoughts on the Journey

Yesterday was Saturday, which means hiking!  We’ve found a new favorite place, a small community called Guarey.  To get there takes around three hours of mountain trails.  Some parts are steep uphill, others down.  We hike through fields, on barely-there tracks, on dirt roads, through mud and undergrowth and loose rock, over (or under) barbed wire fences and wade through streams.  
In Guarey.  Can you see why it's our new favorite place?!

Even though there hasn’t been significant rain in the past week, parts of the trail were still essentially little lakes.  Little water- and mud- and bug-filled lakes. 
Some parts of the trail were partially dry, but the clay-like red ground was treacherous.  Even our hiking boots had trouble finding traction.  Other parts were dry, but the mud had dried churned up by cows and horses, making the going pitted and difficult.
All of this made me think of us on our journey of becoming more Christ-like.  Each of us is like that trail.  When we are exposed to the Son, the broken, yucky stuff of our lives begins to ‘dry out’.  But, it doesn’t all happen at once.  Parts of our lives seem easier to get into step with God’s will than others.    

As broken creatures living in a broken world, we will continue to have areas of struggle.  Like the ‘lake’ parts of the trail, even after we’ve allowed the warmth of the Son to penetrate our lives, there can places that will take much time to be totally restored.  Am I patient with myself, with others, in this process? 
what a Creator!
God is so merciful to us.  As we grow in Him, the Holy Spirit reveals areas of sin and brokenness.  If we will take the time to go through things as He guides, He will increase our stamina and endurance, enabling us to tackle larger issues down the trail.

For me, the most dangerous is when I’ve begun to be ‘dried’.  Like that super slick red clay, I appear to be on safe ground, so I stop being as careful.  I speed up my pace, not taking time to stay in step with my Savior.  Suddenly, I find myself sprawled out on the ground.  It’s humbling, and it can hurt.  A lot!
Knowing this about myself, I need to keep one eye looking up ahead.  When I see that red clay coming up, I need to slow down a bit, reminding myself of the danger.  In these times, I need to focus more intentionally on the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to set the pace so I get safely through.

Issai enjoying a sweet mango fresh
from the tree.  We had a challenge
eating around the worms! Ick!!
We hiked for six hours in the gorgeous Dominican sunshine.  Parts of the journey were difficult, causing us to breathe hard, our legs protesting.  Making our way down (and up) steep, pitted ground didn’t always allow for looking up! 

And so, as we went, we stopped along the way to look for yummy sweet mangoes, discover a little church, to drink in the beauty, to inhale the delicious scent of orange blossoms.  We made sure to stay hydrated, drinking water even before we were thirsty.    
That’s sometimes how working through the stuff of life feels, too.  It’s necessary, but can be exhausting.  So, we need to build in times of rest.  Time to stop and look back at how far we’ve come. 
Lovely church in Guarey
Time to allow ourselves to catch our breath – and then lose it again as we behold the beauty that our generous Father provides.  We need to be intentional about staying saturated with Living Water, with the Bread of Life.
Notice how many times I’ve said “We”?  When we hike, Issai always leads, as he knows the area well.  He also has a knife and brings banana bread.  Carlos carries all our water and other food, and helps me cross rivers.  I bring peanut butter and make sure we’re drinking the water. 
In our lives, too, we are not meant to journey alone.  God is so good to us, and He gifts us with others along the way.  Others, who help us through the rough areas, but also celebrate with us as we move ahead. 
God's amazing gift of beauty.
Each one of us can be a part of another’s journey.  What an honor and privilege!  It’s going to mean getting tired and muddy, but it’s also going to mean seeing amazing beauty as God works in us and through us. 
I pray that as we go, we will go in the confidence and assurance that the Creator of the universe goes with us.  That He will never leave us or forsake us.  I pray that as His children, we will join in others’ journeys, too.  It’s not all quick and easy, but, oh, Vale la Pena!  It is so worth it!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, which are always right on target and so insightful. I'm glad you have the chance to go out hiking and enjoy God's creation! Blessings to you and Carlos and Issai. You all make a good team!