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“The climb of my life offered to you in this story has been both arduous and thrilling. As I’ve hiked this long slope of living, there have been crevasses to avoid or scramble out of, and mountain paths that wind high and low through immense evergreen forests. I’ve stumbled often, have fallen, been bruised and abraded. I’ve had to avoid sharp rock outcroppings and endured earth tremors as well as being awestruck by magnificent views of heaven and earth.” Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Lifelong Journey by Luci Shaw 

Somewhere atop this mass of majestic mountains lies a piece of my heart in my tiny rural hometown. Thirty-seven years of my life story is scattered all about this place.

My children were born and raised there. One I carried on my hip to collect my high school diploma. A diploma I had to fight to get.

A marriage gone wrong. Adversity. Sorrows and loss and joy found. Laughter and tears.

I met and married the man of my dreams in this place.

History made. More than half my life pieced together much like a quilt.

My family is still there.

We often travel back round bends and turns, up and around. It’s a magnificent view as you traverse up and back down.

BUT, heres the thing. I. Am. Terrified. Of. Heights. I DO NOT  like beautiful views perched from atop!

As we begin to ascend, I break out in a cold sweat, my hands are clammy, I’m gripping the seat, with toes dug into the floorboard of the car. Though we are creeping along, all the way I’m yelling at my man to slow down. In his very calming voice he tells me if we go any slower sweetheart we’ll come to a screeching halt.

We break through the trees as we approach the top, the terrain is flat again, and I begin to relax. Sucking in that sweet mountain scent. Going on about my visit, enjoying family, familiarity, friends, and  reminiscing.

Not one whit of a thought about the descent.

Until it’s time to leave.

Going back down to flat ground, well let’s just say it’s not pretty. Worse than even going up. Unreasonable fears, screeching and near screaming, I practice Lamaze breathing(something you never forget even after 33 years), meditation, prayer, and flat out yelling at my man.

Then it’s over, we are back in the valley. On flat ground again. I transform from unreasonable, crazy woman to my calm and quiet self again.

***

Oswald Chambers said, “The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend the mountain.”

Ah…If only I could stay on the mountain top. No fears, no sweat, no panic. No yelling at my man.

But my life is at the bottom.

At the bottom of the mountain, in the every day-ness of my life, is where most of my days will be lived out spiritually.

Oh I’ve had a mountaintop experience with God. Though it was the worst time, the hardest days, the greatest fears, physically speaking, it was by far the BEST time in my life. Daily provision so evident there was no way to miss it. The Presence of God so close to me, I could feel His breath on my face.

I have to confess this descent was just as ugly as coming off the mountain from my hometown. I didn’t want to give up that kind of experience, so close to God, where I could believe anything.

But we can’t stay on the mountaintop all the time.

“It is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. It is in the place of humiliation where we find our true worth to God~that is where our faithfulness is reveled.” Oswald Chambers

I floundered a bit, back down in the valley. Not sure how I should live. Which way He wanted me to go. Until He showed me this is the place where I am to tell of His Glory. Share my story. Tell of what He did for me up on that mountain.

Find Him in the every day-ness of my life.

Never forgetting my mountaintop experience.

“When you were on the mountaintop you could believe anything, but when you were faced with the facts of the valley?

After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. 

We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there.”

It is here in the valley, in the everyday-ness of our lives where we are called to live out our faith and live for His glory.

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn

“He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.” Psalm 95:4 NLT