This summer I have an incredible opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful states of the U.S.- Colorado. I say it is the most beautiful because of the mountains. And for those of you that are from the “midwest”, like Ohio, understand my awe for these giant land figures.
As I prepared for this summer, I knew that I would most likely not have a job, so saving money was crucial. I worked as much as I could and saved every penny I could. I was prepared to embark on a journey across four different states to begin this new season of life- or at least for the summer. One Friday morning my mother and I woke up extremely early ready to partake in such an adventure and two days later we had reached my final destination.
We spent two days being tourists. After all- when you’re from Ohio you’re a tourist no matter where you go right? It finally came the time for me to drop my mother off at the airport and send her home. After I dropped her off, this surreal thought of “I am living four states away from the only person I have ever known to provide for me growing up”. It was sort of scary, but sort of fun to think about, but mostly scary.
I got back to the apartment I was staying at with an old friend and a few other girls and I was not sure what to do with myself. I was starting a intense internship the next day and wanted to rest, but I just felt like I needed to be doing something. So, my roommate took me grocery shopping- after all, that is what adults that live on their own without their parents do. I feared that I did not get enough food, but was reassured that if I didn’t I could always stop by the store later on in the week.
The next day I started my internship. I met new people. Made new friends. Found fun things to do with these friends. And began to live my summer out in a new place. Sometimes we do things every night of the week- Bible Study, Hiking, $1 movie night, Steak n’ Shake, etc. Face it, when you get a group of college aged kids together, there is always something to do.
The first full weekend of being here we went camping.
We went north and way up in the mountains to get to the best campsite. While we were there we went on our first hike of the summer together. MAN, let me tell you how tough that was. Not only was I impacted by the higher altitude here, but also I realized how out of shape I really am! Eventually, however, I made to the top with everyone else and enjoyed the beautiful view.
The next weekend my roommate took me hiking in Mt. Muscoco. Again, I recognized how hard it was to breathe. It seemed by the time we were somewhat close to the top I had to
stop every 15 steps or so to catch my breath- or give my calves a break from the dreadful incline. But you know what, I eventually made it to the top. I was amazed at the beautiful world I was looking out at.
Up until this point I had been enjoying living here. I love the people I’ve met, the things we do, and the view of the mountains I wake up to every morning. But one day this week, all of that seemed to disappear and turn into my worst nightmare. It was Thursday morning and I was planning to arrive at my internship a little earlier than usual to get a good seat at seminar. I got ready, walked out the door, and headed for my car. There was one problem. My car was not there. I remember specifically where I had parked, but the parking spot was empty.
I immediately knew what had happened. My car was towed. My parking pass had expired a few days ahead, but I completely forgot to get it renewed with the chaos and distraction of everything else. I called my roommate who was on her way to the airport and then I called my other housemate (or would it be “apartmentmate”?). She gave me the number for the towing company. I went to the main office of the apartment complex and got an updated parking pass. And then there was nothing else for me to do but sit and wait until my friend could pick me up on her lunch and take me to get my car.
During this time of sitting and waiting, I called the towing company again to check on the price of the car… $250. It would take $250 to get my car back. THAT WAS MY RENT MONEY FOR NEXT MONTH. I began to freak out. So I did what any young adult that is freaking out would do, I called Mom. I informed her of everything that happened and told her the amount to get it back and that I would have to use my rent money for it. It did not seem like borrowing it from my parents would be a reasonable request.
After hanging up with my mom, I sat down and looked at my finances. I figured out how much I would need each week for gas and groceries. I realized that it was doable, I would just have to worry about breaking the news to my roommates that I would not have money for rent, but would begin looking for somewhere else to stay. Eventually, I got my car back and realized that I just needed to trust God to provide either finances or a place for me to stay.
This morning, many of the other interns had a great idea to hike the Craggs, the back of
Pike’s Peak, at 7 am. I figured if eventually I want to be able to hike Pike’s Peak, I should probably continue to hike as much as I can. So I joined. When we were about halfway there, I was having second thoughts. How in the world did I think I could hike that much?
Well, once we got there I was winded within the first few feet of incline. I realized that in order for me to make it up the mountain in a way that was safe for my health, I would have to take it at a slower pace than the others. And that is what I did. After a while I would stop, drink some water, catch my breath, and keep on trucking. The trail evened out a bit and I got to do some exploring in a small cave and climb rocks. Eventually, I reached the top. I had never felt so accomplished.
If you have ever gone hiking, especially in an altitude that your body is not acclimated to, you know that when you are climbing and trekking up that mountain that you feel like you’re dying. It feels like you cannot get enough air in your lungs. It feels like your lungs are about to explode out of your chest. And, if you’re like me, by the time you get to the top of the mountain, you cough whenever you breathe.
But wow, let me tell ya, when you get to the top, it is the most beautiful thing in the world. You begin to realize how worth the journey was. You begin to feel like being super sore tomorrow is going to be worth it because of what you got to see and experience.
I share this for one reason and one reason only… We climb mountains in our everyday lives, but in the end, it is always well-worth it. We go through struggles and trials, seasons and storms, but once it is over and you can see the hallelujah at the top of the mountain, the journey was just a point of growing. It was a time to step up in your faith, to believe in yourself, and to trust God.
Getting my car towed this week was a mountain… still is actually. But you know what, I couldn’t sit at the bottom of the mountain and let the fear of “how am I going to get over this” consume me. I had to take it head first and tackle that beast.
And you know what? Along the journey, you might find some pretty cool things to encourage you to keep going too.
God says “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” in Hebrews 12.1-2. Mountains may be things that hinder, but we have to step up in perseverance, despite the fear of it all.
There is the saying “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” That is true, the journey shapes us and prepares us for the destination, but the destination makes the journey worth it.
When everything started falling apart and I felt like I wasn’t really supposed to be here this summer, I felt God wrap me in His arms and remind me that He took me to the mountains this summer for a reason- so that I may learn to lean on Him when I need to climb up them.
In His Grip,