We went from about 20 to 100 in about three days time. We went from doing general maintenance and enjoying frequent naps and board game sessions to all day training.
We had a blessing of a work group come in over last weekend and wrap up a lot of things in the newly built Grace Cabin. Joining us one day later was about a dozen 20-somethings who are training in a Wilderness Outdoor First Responder class with an awesome organization called Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries, which is based in Laramie, WY (just down the mountain and across the valley from us). They have been an absolute inspiration and joy to talk to and get to know.
Getting to hear their story of how God brought them from various corners of our Country to sitting in my dining room has been such a blessing. I felt a lot alone in turning my life upside down and pursuing something completely unknown and off the beaten path, until I met them.
And then our training with Beyond Ropes started. Three very long, very hot, and very tiring days in the sun learning everything from how to read and build group dynamics, to running a rescue on a zip line. It's been a long time since I felt the kind of terror that hit me yesterday as I'm lobster clawing up a pole, avoiding completely trusting on the staples. As I struggled to remove one claw from my harness so I could unwrap it from the pole, and get it over a cable to proceed in my climb; panic hit me as my claw would not come undone off of my harness. I knew in the back of my head that I was being securely belayed by Morgan and Trystan on the ground, but our instructor had told me to climb as if I wasn't on a belay. The more I struggled to get the claw undone, the more tired my arms became, and the harder it was to unclip it.
It quickly became a dangerously exhausting compounding problem. So, my instructor stepped in, and with calm words from the ground told me to relax my arms and lean into the support of the attached claws. As I did, the pressure from my weight shifted my gear and actually made it easier to undo the clip and I safely completed my climb (and then my high wire walk).
In short: It was terrifying. Here was a task that needed completed and I could not do it because my strength was quickly depleting. The more it depleted the harder everything became. So I had to trust my gear, and my belayers. I had to have faith that these things designed to hold three thousand pounds of force would do exactly that: Hold me. And I had to et go with my arms and no longer rely on my own strength to get me out.
Which, of course, brings me back to the earlier bit of this post about having my life turned inside out. At some point over the winter I had to stop struggling and fighting in my own strength to get me out. Cuz guess what? My own strength most definitely fails me because it is never enough to get through this life all by itself. But Who's strength is always more than enough?
Our Heavenly Father's. The One Who gave up His One and only Son to suffer and die for me. For you. His hands. His gear. It will never fail us; no matter the pickle we let ourselves get into.
The picture is something I drew at Indianola months ago. Typed onto it is the verse that God has planted in our hearts over this past week. I challenge you to make your own list of What If's for Him and see where it takes you. :)