I have been climbing this mountain for who knows how long; I do it for Him every single step, but the rocks are still sharp. We climb this mountain that stands before me and traverse its craggy precipices together.

He walks with me and I try to hear His voice tell me which way to turn, which path to take. He guides me and is there to comfort me when I trip and fall. The rocks are rough and sharp, they pierce my skin every time I am forced to drop to my knees. There are jumps to be made and cliff faces to shimmy up when I encounter them. Easy stretches and harder ones along the way each bring their own challenges and situations to overcome.

I am told it is worth it for what lies on the other side and He truly never leaves my side, but I grow weary and exhausted the farther I go and I am still only just beginning. I cry out for help as I fall once more to the hard ground. I feel the sting in my shins and knees from where the razor sharp rocks have cut fresh wounds. My parched lips crack and bleed for it has been long since the last oasis.

Then I hear His voice in a moment of clarity asking if He can carry me. I have gone so far and yet have so much farther to go. My strength is already fading and I am making progress so slowly that I might never make it.

Gentle, loving hands carry me all the way

I don’t know what He means, but I agree and suddenly find myself no longer hurting. His gentle hands have picked me up as if I were a small child and I no longer sit on the ground. He has stood me back up, but even as I stand I no longer feel the weight. My feet barely touch the ground and He holds me up and supports all my weight for me.

As we walk, my feet brush the ground but do not stumble or trip because it is He that is directing me and holds me up. Instead of laboriously climbing the large rock formations, He lifts me up from rock to rock without me ever losing my balance or slipping.

Gentle, loving hands carry me all the way and now I don’t even have to strive to pay attention to my footing or to look ahead to make sure I am going the right direction. The air no longer stings my lungs but now gives me sweet life and refreshment.

I look down and no longer have to keep a sharp eye out for hazards. Instead, I see small, delicate flowers growing up from the soil and from in between the rocks. I am no longer consumed with spotting danger so I can take the time to appreciate the simple beauty I had never seen before.

How could this mountainside have been so beautiful this whole time without me seeing it?

The rocks are no longer sinister challenges, but canvasses for the intricate mosses; some are even pieces of art from where time and nature have corroded them. I look up to the sky for the first time in a long time and I am blown away by the lazily drifting clouds above me. They are so majestic, constantly swirling into new shapes and forms, calling me into the peace that they live in.

How could this mountainside have been so beautiful this whole time without me seeing it? How had I missed such breathtaking beauty at every turn? Now, I am carefree and I know I am safe. I take in a deep breath and allow my spirit to begin to unwind. One by one, I drop the worries I had been holding onto and enjoy this time.

I still do not know what awaits me at the top, but I no longer fear it. I lean into His arms that hold me and find I do not need to do anything else at all. The task is the same, but I no longer push and strive to complete it by my own strength. He knows the way and He is strong enough to carry me there.

Photo graciously provided by Flickr user: Carol Mitchell

Erika Birkenes
began writing her first novel at age 15. She has completed three books that make up the Ireistis trilogy. You can buy them here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/erikabirkenes