The Hike


The flight to Colorado was booked and the tickets were paid for. When the careful planning of this trip took place, I was pregnant with our first baby. We were thrilled since we had waited over three years for this miracle! When the time came for us to pack our bags and actually go on the trip, I was in a very different place. I had lost that baby, gotten pregnant again, and lost the second baby within two weeks of our scheduled trip. I was devastated and angry at God. I did not want to go on this trip. It seemed as if everyone who loved me could see how badly I needed to get away to beautiful Colorado with my husband. So with a desperate plea to God to use this trip to heal my broken heart, we boarded that plane.

While we were in Aspen, my husband talked me into hiking from one lake (Maroon Lake) to another (Crater Lake). My initial focus was on the fact that had I been five months pregnant, we would not have even discussed hiking. But, it was impossible to be surrounded by such beauty and not see God’s hand in all of it.

We set out that day with snacks, water, and a portable GPS to discover this surreal place. About an hour into our hike, the GPS we brought along to help us figure out exactly where we were on the trail proved to be ineffective. We had a good, strong signal, but neither lake appeared on the screen, so we had no idea how far we’d come or how much farther we had to go. We were just a blinking dot on the blank, white screen. I laughed at the thought of that blinking dot, which is exactly what I felt like with so many unknowns in my life at that point.

The guide at the hotel described this trail as a “light to moderate hike.” Let me just say that there was nothing “light” about it! We hiked for almost two hours, uphill, and through rocky trails. About three-fourths of the way, I wanted to turn around and go back. For the last hour, my husband had been telling me, “We’re almost there.” I was tired, out of breath from the elevation, and ready to give up, even if it meant turning around and hiking back the way we came. But my determined husband would not let me give up. We continued on and it seemed as if right after the very hardest part of the entire hike, we came to the other lake.

It was absolutely beautiful and worth all of the effort it took to get there. At the base of Maroon Bells sat Crater Lake, a spectacular view that changed my entire perspective. I wrote about this hike in my journal that day and thanked God for the reminder that even though I couldn’t see what was on the other side of the mountain, He knew. He knew everything He was doing in me on the way to my destination was just as important as the destination itself. In fact, it was the photographs we took on the actual hike that have become my most cherished.

God used His beauty in nature to speak volumes to me during that trip. I went home refreshed, able to see Him so much clearer and hear His voice like never before. It was somewhere along that hike that I finally grabbed hold of Jesus’ hand and told Him, “I trust you.”

There will be times in each of our lives when the trail we’re on gets rocky and rough. There will be times when we think we cannot possibly put one foot in front of the other. There will be times when we feel like we cannot breath, and times when we want to give up and throw in the towel. But God wants us to trust Him during those times, because that’s when it’s the hardest to say those words: “I trust you.” It’s easy to trust God when you are being showered with blessings. It’s when we make the choice to trust God during the times He feels the farthest away that ultimately develops a deep and lasting faith.

I’ll never forget, in the final stretch of that hike, all of the other hikers who had already been at Crater Lake and were on their way back to Maroon Lake. As we crossed paths, they saw our weary bodies and recognized that we needed to hear,

“You’re almost there.”
“It’s just a little farther.”
“It’s beautiful once you get there.”

I cannot explain what a difference it made to hear that someone else was tired and exhausted like me, but they continued on and made it to the same destination. Because I knew they had hiked the same hilly trek, I trusted them. I believed them. I was encouraged.

After we enjoyed God’s beauty at the base of that mountain, we too, turned around and headed back. What joy it brought me to be the one encouraging the hikers behind me, those precious souls who were strangers to me, but somehow connected by the shared paths we had taken! I wanted them to hear,

“You’re almost there.”
“It’s just a little farther.”
“It’s beautiful once you get there.”

God never wastes an ounce of pain. Every heart break He allows is for a purpose far beyond anything we can imagine. What He does inside of us during the hike is just as important as whatever we’re hiking to. Having hiked the uncertain path of infertility, waiting years to become a parent and experiencing heart-breaking loss along the way, I want those who are tired and weary from the same journey to hear,

“The lake is beautiful, but so is the hike.”






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