Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Path

It’s been two weeks since we left the comfort of home to head for Trail’s End Ranch (TER) in Ekalaka, Montana; what an adventure!  These past two weeks have been challenging and growth producing.  I am adjusting to:
  •   Being away from the comfort of my own home
  •    Finding my unique role in this newly formed  community
  •    Forming relationships with a staff many years  younger  than me
  •    Learning new skills including the “how” of  leading a child to Christ (or anyone of any  age)
  •    Getting along on less sleep
  •    Having limited opportunity to connect with  loved ones outside of TER
  •    Living in the moment

We are blessed with a lovely “home-away-from-home”, a fully equipped apartment located above the garage of the home of the directors of TER. This home is located ½ mile from the central part of the camp with two ways to get back and forth – either via the main highway or via a 2-track road or path.  I LOVE this path and walk it every day, unless it rains (rare, so far).  I’m happy if I have opportunity to walk it twice during the day.

Allow me to describe “the path”:  
  • It is located on a hilly ridge that runs parallel to the highway.  It runs through leafy trees, Ponderosa Pines and “woodsy” vegetation, with open areas that offer breathtaking vistas spanning miles.  Trees, ridges, open fields and the big, blue Montana sky come together to show off God’s handiwork.
  • The hills are steep and filled with rocks and gullies and they are taxing!  It’s the best exercise I have had in a long time. I am happy to report that after two weeks of walking this path, I can now get all the way to the dining hall without stopping to catch my breath.  (Let’s not forget to also factor in the fact that we are 5000 feet up!)
  • The path is just long enough to provide a great walking experience, but not long enough to discourage me from using it every day.
  • I feel safe using this path.   In some mysterious way, this whole camp feels like “holy ground”.  Must admit, I do keep my eyes open for snakes but they have been hiding (whew).
  • I will admit, I prefer to not walk the path at night alone (if Charlie is not with me).  It feels creepy but, really, nothing about the path has changed since the daylight hours…it’s what my imagination does with it!
  •  It’s a dusty path (since we have had so little rain) and, oddly enough, that contributes to the whole sense of adventure.  After all, this is the “wild west”.  (I know, I’ve watched too many cowboy movies where the men ride onto the ranch covered in trail dust.)

This physical path is a vivid representation of my spiritual path/my journey with God:
·        God has led me through some amazing scenery; sometimes it’s been lush and rich with unimaginable blessings.  Conversely, that path has also taken me up and down rugged mountains with challenges that have taxed my strength, stretched my boundaries and drained my energy.
·        Then there have been those moments when the path was dry and dusty; the grit of life overwhelmed me.  Suddenly….God would bring me to a place where the view opened up, the vistas were clear and beautiful and once again, I stood in awe of His grace.
·        When I walk my journey focusing on the light of Christ, I feel safe and secure – like my Montana path in the daylight.
·        There have also been periods of darkness in my life, sometimes because of nothing I have done, but too often because I have taken my eyes off Jesus.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Are you currently on a dusty, hilly road?  Or are you walking on level ground with lovely views? Either way, trust in the Lord with all your heart.

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