There’s something about living in Colorado that just brings you closer to God; I don’t really think I can explain it to its full glory. But it’s like this: when you hike even the smallest mountain, and you look over God’s creation, it’s exactly like it says in the Bible. The rocks will cry out in praise for Him. It’s really something; more than just an amazing experience.
This summer, I got to be a janitor for the YMCA of the Rockies. It was truly an honor, and let me tell you, God did a Great work in me throughout the summer.
When I came out to Colorado for Leadership Training, I thought that I had grasped what I was getting myself into. Apparently, God was determined to Wreck my expectations, and it all began with the seemingly unfortunate circumstances of my living situation.
When I first arrived in the mountains, I was deeply troubled. I was terrified that I’d be stuck living with complete strangers that didn’t love Jesus and were possibly not even in LT. It’s a little ironic how fast God brought that one down. When I discovered where my home for the next three months would be, I also discovered I would be living in a different lodge than all of the other LT-ers, including all of my friends, and that there was a good chance that my roommates were not in LT.
Lol, they weren’t.
Looking back on everything, I have to laugh because it was all for the Good of the Kingdom of God. I soon learned that one of my roommates was a Christian when she shared with us the meaning behind her tattoos, and it was soon after that when I discovered the reason I was living in Howard Lodge.
Her name is Lauren.
Lauren is a beautiful soul. She has the cheekiest smile and the bubbliest laugh. She’s also from Ohio, which is cool because I’m also from Ohio (fight me if you think that wasn’t a God thing). It wasn’t a coincidence that we were roommates for three months, not even for a second.
About three weeks into LT, Lauren asked me if she could come to an LT service with me. I’d be lying if I tell you I wasn’t embarrassed that I’d never invited her to come with me before that night; I had my excuses, but they were just that: excuses. I was anything but reluctant to tell Lauren that yes, she could come with me.
I was so nervous. From what I’d gathered about my Ohioan friend, she wasn’t a believer. I’d never brought someone to Christ before; I’ve always considered myself a person that waters the seeds, not the one who plants them.
My body shook the entire night, through the worship setlist, the message, the prayers; I was so afraid of what she would say— or even worse— what she would expect me to say.
As the last prayer was spoken, I looked over at my friend and saw the tears running down her face. At that moment, my purpose had never felt more clear. I sat down beside her, reaching an arm around her in some kind of hug, and she told me what she was feeling. I understood what Luke 12:12 meant because before I knew it, God was giving me the words to say to her, He was reaching her through me.
I became a vessel.
After that night, I started to laugh at my fears a little. Before that encounter, I’d have thought about ten thousand invalid reasons for why I was unqualified to pray for her, to lead her, to love her like Jesus. And if I didn’t just go for it, if I didn’t let Him push me, Lauren might not see God the way she does now.
God didn’t just stop there either; He capital W wrecked my life every day this summer. I do this thing where I go through something really transformative with God, and then when it’s done, I think that’s where He’s done with me for good. I learned that God isn’t finished with me yet; that when He said He will finish the Good work He started in me, He really will, and He won’t stop until His Son returns.
I think that’s one of the reasons this summer was so Hard for me; He had to be relentless in order to show me He wouldn’t quit on me. I may have been in for a world of hurt, but I’m glad He brought me to those places because now I can say I know He’s not a quitter, and because He’s not, neither am I.
I didn’t realize a summer in Colorado would mean facing all of my fears. Whether it was a fear of leading or a fear of heights— God was determined to walk through them all with me.
It started with all of this hiking. Now, I’ve gotta be real with you, friends, I am not a lover of physical activity (unless it’s running, but I really shouldn’t run as much as I do). Physical activity hurts when you don’t have a body that’s able to handle a lot of strain. However, when you’re surrounded by mountains, there’s something about them that just screams: “CLIMB ME!” So naturally, I had to climb a few.
I always do this thing before I hike and I make sure I don’t know how long it is because if I know how long it is, I will probably definitely chicken out and not do it at all. Because of this rule, I’ve seen the beautful Lake Haiyaha, the sunset from the top of Lily Mountain, Alberta Falls, I’ve climbed Timberline Falls to the Lake of Glass, I’ve seen the Loch, and I’ve shoved my awkward body through the rock crevices of Old Man Mountain at eleven thirty at night. All of these required using strength that I didn’t even know I had, and I had to trust my friends a little extra to not let me fall on more than one occasion; one of which involved me trusting my best friends brother with the weight of my entire body as I slid down a rock onto another rock.
It was more than uncomfortable.
But I wouldn’t trade the uncomfortable for anything. I’d do it all again. . . except for the [nearly] ten mile hike to the Lake of Glass. I don’t know if I could do that again.
LT was a lot like hiking. It was a lot of not knowing how long until the end, it was a lot of wanting to turn around, a lot of scrambling through slippery, unknown territory. It was a lot of “I don’t know if I can do this.” It was a lot of trusting God to hold you up and bring you back to solid ground.
And drinking water. It was also a lot of drinking water.
It’s crazy how much God will do if you just let Him do it for you. We are the storehouse, and He wants to pour out so much blessing onto us that there’s not enough room to store it all. He wants to capital W wreck our lives and LOL BET our hearts for Him.
When I gave my summer to Leadership Training, I thought I would hear a few talks about practical leadership. Instead, I learned that if leading was practical, it wouldn’t be called leadership. The truth is that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I came out west for a summer in the mountains. I had no clue. And if I ever do this again, and God, do I hope He sends me out here again, I’ll come in with one expectation, and one expectation only. And that’s this:
that God will Wreck my expecations and show me everything I’ve been missing.
This summer I discovered what a life without constant fear, doubt, and depression could look like for me. I learned that’s what He has planned for me, that’s what He wants for me.
I didn’t think I was a mountain climber. I didn’t think I could be a smiley, joke-telling, all for Jesus kind of woman. I didn’t think I could lead a girl to faith. I didn’t think I could hike ten miles (I didn’t think I could hike one). I didn’t think I could be a light.
I didn’t know I’ve always been those things; I just needed to give God a time and a place to chisel away the self-doubt and deprication.
Life is uncertain and messy, but despite this, I find myself looking forward to more unknowns and self discovery. I didn’t know what all I was missing until LT. I’m excited for the next revelation.
“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”