Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mountain Experience

Who would imagine the first trip to see the mountains would forever frame my world? I was a Texas "flat-lander". The closest thing to a mountain that I had ever seen was a west Texas hill. It wasn't a mountain, even though it felt like one as I frantically outran a wild hog chasing me into my friends cabin. I was eighteen...and very grateful I had ran track.

Nothing had prepared me for the experience I would have on top of the Sante Fe Ski Resort a couple of years later. I was the only female who made the trip with Clay, my boyfriend, and a group of college guys. I wasn't the only first-timer. But, Clay decided he would be my personal instructor. He saw no need in wasting time on the bunny-slope.

The view was absolutely overwhelming! I was breathless as I tried to get on the chair-lift and take in all of the landscape. I had longed to see this view my whole life. I was so distracted with the beauty I failed to notice that my personal instructor was not taking me to a slope for beginners. Not even an intermediate slope. It might as well have been a triple black! I was in over my head. Yes, I made it down, forty-five minutes later! The first thing to touch that slope was my nose, as I tumbled recklessly out of the lift. On the three day trip I never improved my lift exiting skills. And of course, each time I appeared to do some type of preschool gymnastic maneuver...my handsome instructor came saddling up next to me and heroically put my ski's back onto my embarrassed little ski boots. In order to make it down the mountain I had to do quite the zig-zag approach, in order not to gain more speed than those little ski's could handle. It wasn't Olympic quality...but it worked. Sort of.

It was our last morning there and we only had time for one run before leaving. We were half way up the mountain when we realized a blizzard was moving in. Visibility began to diminish and the bitter cold began to bite. I began to panic as I realized how long it would take me to make the run. Knowing I would not be able to exit the lift without a fall I began to faintly breathe. As if on cue I made my normal exit falling abruptly with both ski's flying out from under me. It was at that moment I heard the loudest clap of thunder imaginable. It was as if it had swallowed me whole. I was frantically calling to Clay who was ten feet in front of me ,to come help me put my ski's on when I realized the lift had stopped just above my head with people stranded on it. Even though I was panicking he refused to come back up towards me and help. I struggled with the ski's as well as why he refused to come to my rescue. But, there wasn't time to argue. I managed to get both ski's on as Clay told me to follow him closely. The slope we had taken was a rather narrow one with nothing but a drop off on one side. Half way down the run we would have to follow a narrow bridge that connected to another mountain which would lead us safely down. If we failed to connect with the bridge we didn't have a clue if the trail would continue. With visibility low, Clay knew I would be safest if I followed his lead.

It couldn't have been more than a couple-hundred feet when visibility became almost impossible. I couldn't see even 10 feet in front of me. Somehow I had lost sight of him. I began to yell but the heaviness of the snow was deafening. I was alone. I was all alone! No matter how loud I yelled only my voice could I hear. I knew no one would be coming from behind me because the lift had stopped in mid-air. How would I know how far to cut over before plummeting over the side of the mountain? How would I ever manage to see the connecting bridge that would lead me to the lodge at the half-way point?

I had lived a life of fear. I knew how fast a pulse could race. How it could sound so loud in my ears in the middle of a dark night. But, I had never thought that this might really be the last moments of my life. To say I was scared would have been a lie. I was so past the point of being scared. I was sure I would never make it out alive. Even if I could keep from falling off of the edge of the mountain would I ever be able to find my way to the bridge. I knew Jesus. I had been saved eight months before the trip. I had heard how He was real. I had read the children's bible when I was young. David and Goliath on a bulletin board of felt. I had prayed but was never certain that I was heard.  But there wasn't time to pray...my eyelashes were freezing and icicles were hanging from my eye brows. Fingers and face were beginning to numb and I knew I had to be close to the bridge. Out of the depths of my soul I frantically cried out "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus". Three words hurled from fear, not faith. Three words that forever changed my world. It was as if the heavens had opened wide and I was in the portal. He flipped a switch somewhere deep within me. It went from full throttle fear to a peace that surpassed understanding. I was still all alone looking for a bridge to life and I found the most unexplainable, the most perfect peace I had ever felt. Everything within me quited like a crying baby nestled to it's mothers breast. I was safe. I was secure. I looked to my right and there was the white laden bridge. I made it to the lodge as if it had been a walk in the park with total peace enveloping me.

Clay explained that lightning had struck the ski lift cable right above my head. He was fearful if he had walked up to help me with my ski's I would have accidentally stepped on the electrical cable which was only a couple inches from touching my boot. He knew if he had told me how close it was I would have turned to look and possibly have been electrocuted in the process. If he had rescued me I would never have known the depths of peace that only Jesus can give. I would have lived short of the miraculous. How many times have I pleaded for flesh to rescue me when Jesus stood in the silence waiting for me to cry to Him?

I no longer saw Jesus as a felt figure on a Sunday School bulletin board. No one could have given me such an immediate sense of peace when adrenaline was pouring from my pores. No one could have ever found the switch in me to push, let alone have had the ability to push it on top of that frozen mountain. He had heard my cry. Not Davids...not Noah's...but mine. He was there. We were all alone, just the two of us. He rescued me with His peace. He gave this flat-lander a mountain top experience she will never forget. Since that day I have never doubted  that He is real. He is alive! He hears my cry! He knows "my" voice! I have been recklessly saved! I have been recklessly loved!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Treasure For The Taking

There is a stirring within me. I have felt it before. It's a new beginning for me. Reminds me of how You hoovered over the chaos in Genesis, the beginning of beginnings. Your Spirit overshadowed that which was unseen, that which appeared to be random disorder and You brought into vision that which could only have been imagined! You are about to do it again. In me. I can always feel Your presence right before You bring order to my disorder. Right before You pull all of the random pieces together to show me what Masterpiece You have been working on. I'm never disappointed.

What order would come from filtering every detail of my days through the Cross and the Resurrection? They are either the filter or their not. There is no in between. How much of life have I limped along as if the Cross was my end. Ticket to Glory in hand...but lame for today? Forgiven and loved...but powerless to rise up with mat in tow. With the earthquake of Calvary rocks were split into...but with the violence of the tomb emptying, the enormous boulder was hurled aside. Linens nice and tidy were all that was found when dust settled! The linens were a picture of an old Hebrew custom which meant 'I will return once again'.

When You return will you find any faithful? It was You that posed the question. I ask myself the same. Will You find me faithful? Will I live as if the Resurrection was truly the grand finale and not the Cross? Will I wear an empty tomb on a chain around the neck instead of a couple of timbers? Will I refuse to allow thoughts or circumstances to dictate my reality? Or will I believe the love letters that You left behind for me? Those written in Your blood with urgency as the verb tense.

Your promises are for the taking. The price already paid. The fullness of the treasures You purchased...awaits me...and for those who believe! Will you find me faithful?