The Hard Way Up

 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB)

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I’m on a journey of healing.  It can be something that one thinks is full of rest, becoming better than I was before, no longer dealing with the pain of the past.  But it can also be a difficult and extremely long journey.  When I look at my healing in this light, I think of a hike I did with friends called “Turtle Head Peak.”  It sounded like a cute name for a hike, particularly because I like turtles.  My friends told me it would fun and we would spend the morning conquering it together. 

It was a difficult hike.  We set out in the early morning before the desert sun got hot and we were already sweating.  I thought it would be a good idea to bring a gigantic water bottle filled to capacity, as well as other necessities, such as my biggest, heaviest bible, a journal, sunscreen, snacks to last me a week, pens, a first aid kit, and about 17 other things, just in case.  All shoved into a backpack that weighed me down.  We had a long path to follow to the base of the mountain that took us about 45 minutes to walk.  And once we got to base, the real work began. 

To say that I was unprepared was an understatement. I had hiked before.  On nice, cleared trails marked with stones that were there to tell you exactly where the path was.  But never had I climbed a mountain that didn’t have a trail.  In fact, the majority of what we did was scramble.  Seriously, that is a real hiking term.  We would make our way up portions of this mountain and get to a point of loose dirt and rock, and the only way we could get up was to “scramble” up.  Which basically means getting on your hands and feet and going as fast as you can so as not to disturb the loose dirt and rock too much that you slide down instead of going up.  Not an easy feat with a heavy backpack.  I continually asked myself why I was doing this throughout the course of my hike.  My hands were dirty, and then they started to bleed from cuts given by the rocks.

This is how my healing journey has been.  I have spent a large portion of my life on the nice, cleared paths, marked with big rocks that tell me where to stay and where to go.  And I liked it that way.  I didn’t want to go to the places that were rough, had steep edges, dark spots, or dangerous wild life.  But the unfortunate reality is that this side of the cross, we usually don’t get the smooth, clearly marked paths.  It’s a scramble to make any progress on our journey much of the time. 

Psalm 27 is a heartfelt cry from David during his journey to become king.  God had called him, but yet the journey to the throne was marked by 20 years of turmoil.  Does that sound like your story?  Because in many ways, it sounds like my mine.  We all have the “junk” inside us that weighs us down while we walk on our paths.  Broken families.  Bad marriages.  Prodigal sons and daughters; maybe we have them, maybe you are/were one.  Abuse.  Financial struggles.  Depression.  Addiction.  Health problems.  Mental health concerns.  Anxiety.  We can spend the rest of our time together listing all the things that weigh us down that this broken world has thrown our way. 

You can hear the emotion in David’s writings.  You can sense and relate to the intense feelings he had.  He felt alone, betrayed, attacked.  He was fearful for his life and you can sense the underlying tone of him pleading for him to be saved.  But, despite his emotion, despite his circumstances, David also focuses on who God is and how he has seen God do wonders in his life.  Because David had spent his adolescence shepherding sheep, he spent a lot of time thinking, praying, writing music, and developing this very intimate relationship with God.  So, when the hard times came, David knew who his God was.  He was able to cry out to Him and know He is good despite David’s circumstances. 

The storyboard of my life involves really hard things, such as abandonment, feeling as though I am a burden and unwanted, emotional and sexual abuse, and lots and lots of rejection.  But the story board of my life also contains miracles that I know could have only come from God, such as provision, protection, and lots and lots of divine interventions that prevented potentially horrific circumstances.  God has revealed Himself to me in so many ways, that I cannot help but know that He is good, despite whatever may have happened or is happening in my life.  And this knowledge has helped me on my healing journey to come to place to be able to cry out to God my feelings, but yet focus on Him and His goodness. 

When my friends and I got to the top of Turtle Head Peak, the view was spectacular.  It was the most difficult hike I had done in my life.  My hands were bleeding.  My legs hurt for a week afterwards, and I actually bruised my tail bone on the hike down (scrambling down a mountain is much more difficult than scrambling up, just FYI).  But it is something that is seared into my memories and despite the difficulty, it was a good day, and a good hike.  It continues to be a powerful allegory in my life, and reminder to continue to see God’s goodness despite my circumstances in this life. 

Think about your story and see if you can find five instances, despite the difficult circumstances, that God did something good, and then give Him thanks for those moments.  If you have trouble, ask God in prayer to show you His goodness in your life.  He won’t let you down.

Megan Sinisi is one of our Refres{her} bloggers. She describes herself as a 30-something year old lady who is still figuring out who the heck she is and sometimes worries she is just crazy. Megan is a most of the time stay at home mom of 3 precious little _ tyrants ͟ whom she loves more than her own breathe and wife to an amazing husband. She absolutely adores a good cup of coffee, chocolate and peanut butter combinations, coloring, being crafty, figuring out homeschooling her children, being silly and laughing with her husband, and chatting with friends about embarrassing moments and deep things at the same time. She has a love and fervor for writing and is walking in faith that God is calling her to use the passion and the gift He has given her. She hopes that her journey encourages, challenges, inspires, comforts, and most importantly, shines the light of Jesus and the reality of His love, grace, and mercy. More writings can be found on Megan's blog at: