Thursday, November 13, 2008
Like hinds feet
Our family just camped with a few others. We went on a two-mile hike. Not so hard except the trail was fairly steep in places required to get to the top of some of Southern Illinois' most beautiful bluffs.
Most of you know I had an accident this year which totalled two cars plus my foot, ankle and soft tissues. The injuries resulted in multiple surgeries. Thankfully I live in a country with orthopedic surgeons whose skilled hands put the stuff back together.
This hike was a real physical test on my foot/ankle since the wreck. The steep hill was so challenging at one point, I had to throw my hiking stick up above me. Then lean forward and crawl on my hands and toes to get up the rock-steps. Yes, I know this wasn't Everest, but at that point, for me it may as well have been. Because that portion of the journey seemed insurmountable. The leaves had mostly fallen off trees and the rocks beneath them were moist, adding to the treachery because everything was slick. AND my feet were still too swollen from surgery to wear my hiking boots. The shoes I had did NOT grab, adding to the slippery. And did I mention I'm terrified of heights? And we'd climbed a mile upwards on the trail already. So really, there was no going back.
Though God granted me a fierce determination, there was a few seconds of the hike where I thought, "I'm not going to be able to do this. I can't make it." Then a feeling of utter discouragement at my physical limitations washed over me. I mentally debated sitting down in defeat and crying, or asking my hubby and those above me to help lug me up. Yet I felt like that'd be cheating. LOL! The other hindering thing was I was so winded from gaining weight from fluid retention after surgeries plus general weight I've gained. Stuck there, I remembered with longing the days when I had the ability to sprint up a hiking trail such as this. Wondered why 40 feels so much different than 20 in my body. LOL! And recalled how I used to think I was fat THEN, with a tiny jiggle in my thigh and wished someone would have knocked sense into me. Trust me, the metab has slowed WAY down and the scales have gone WAY up. So in that moment, leaning forward on the steep trail, the rocks beneath me seemed to groan and sneer, "Do both of us a favor and lay off the french fries." LOL!
Anyway, I dug my hands in (not the fries, the rocks) and asked God to please help me conquer this trail. Because in that moment I seriously felt dogged by defeat. The plea no more than rose in my mind when a thought zipped across my mential widescreen.
A thought that said, "I will make your feet like hinds' feet."
Now, my first inclination was to laugh. Because here I am, on my hands and knees trying to figure out whether it'd be easiest and safest to just go back down the steep rock trail, lay down and let a heart attack end this misery, or try to keep moving forward and catch up with the rest. The even funnier part was there were buzzards swirling overhead. Like they sensed my impending demise. LOL! No, actually I'm exaggerating there. It was bow season down in the woods below and hunters camping nearby had their trophies hanging upside down in trees, draining. Don't think about that too hard...moving onward...
My ankle was so stiff at this point from the cold weather and the hike that it wouldn't hardly work. Honestly it started clicking and if I'd have listened close enough I probably could have heard it creak one per step. No such thing as WD40 for feet. Believe me, I've checked. LOL! Also at this point, my foot was screaming out in pain, all except the numb spot on bottom which won't let me feel the terrain I'm on. And I couldn't really tilt my head to look because frankly it was so steep I didn't want to tilt my head, get dizzy and fall off the side of the bluff. I am not sure what the angle was at that point but, while it wasn't anything like the smooth verticle face of a bluff, it WAS way steaper than most standard steps. And tumbling down it would NOT have been pleasant. Plus most standard steps do not have slick leaves over smooth wet rock and aboveground roots trying to slip and trip a person up.
Anyway, the moment tears of impending defeat attempted to burn my eyes and make me decide to quit or ask for help, I felt His voice and remembered the scripture and the book I read when I first became a Christian: Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Somehow fresh bursts of courage and determination overcame that sense of defeat trying to overtake me.
Yes I had to crawl a very embarrassingly cumbersome waddle, and no it wasn't with graceful leaps and jaunts and hops like a seemingly weightless deer...BUT I MADE IT!
I will post some pictures of the BEAUTIFUL area. Most of the two-miles went extrememly fast because I was too busy looking at God's creation in the beauty around me to notice how far and long we were walking. And once I got to the top, the view paused me and caused worship to well. Not only because He helped me make it, but because the view once there nearly took my breath away. His creation awes me, but not more than HE awes me in His willingness to make our world beautiful. And in His pleasure in pulling us through things we never thought we could overcome.
Enjoy the pics and remember, He will make your feet like hinds' feet too.
Whatever bluff you're facing that seems insurmountable, remember, it's just that. A bluff. A trick from an enemy who wants to trip you up and make you think you can't make it. That you won't get through this.
But God steadies our feet and helps us along the rocky terrain.
May you be blessed with a strong sense of His arms reaching, helping, tugging, then clapping when you finally make it over that portion you seriously doubted you could.