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we were just about to the point in the trail where we would repel down the rock wall to where we would spend the day climbing. we came to the most narrow place in the path. todd, our guide, was in front of me and peter was behind me. todd had pretty much all the climbing gear, ropes, carabiners, cam locks, etc. his pack probably weighed about 40 lbs. i had my measly backpack with my harness, shoes, water bottles and some snacks. peter had his backpack with pretty much the same contents but he also had a rope in a rope bag hanging over him.

back to the narrow place in the path.

it was really narrow. to the left was a massive boulder. to the right was a 30 to 40 foot drop. a 30 to 40 foot drop down some major rocks. as we passed through the narrow part, i was a little nervous (i have had a heightened awareness of my own mortality since i attempted to summit mt. rainier) but it wasn’t until it occurred to me that peter, tall, like six-foot three tall peter was behind me. maneuvering around the branches on this narrow part of the path was hard enough for me at five-foot five and the branches were at my face–i couldn’t imagine having branches starting at my chest and trying to push them all out-of-the-way while crossing this super narrow space with gaps between the rocks we were walking on.

whew. we made it through the narrow part.

todd sets our ropes and peter and i prepare to repel down the wall. we put on our harnesses and enjoy the beautiful weather the Lord blessed us with and being outside with good company.

todd finishes setting the ropes and asks us if we’re ready to repel. we look at our harnesses and todd says, “hey peter, you gotta double-back your harness. i’m pretty sure lindsey would like you to make it down the repel and live the rest the day.” for those that don’t know, when climbing, you have to double back the waist belt and leg loops of your harness. that way they won’t come undone (like that crazy scene in the beginning of cliff hanger when sylvester stalone can’t rescue his woman… her harness wasn’t double-backed).

that’s why we have safety checks. so peter double-backed his harness and we were all set. all three of us repelled down the wall and enjoyed a day of climbing from that point forward.

but something really struck me in that moment. something i wasn’t prepared for and something that has stuck with me since last saturday. for the past three years since i’ve started climbing i haven’t really been all that concerned about the danger of it. i simply went about doing things that people might consider dangerous because it seemed like fun. it’s exciting. but something changed that day. suddenly i realized, there is this person i deeply care about doing this crazy dangerous stuff with me. suddenly the danger seemed to overtake the feeling of adventure. suddenly all that was at stake became real. one slip on the path, one lapse in safety measures and nothing would be the same.

this might seem overly dramatic to some, but i don’t think it is. through this experience the Lord showed me something profound. the greatest step of faith in my life to date, is choosing to trust God with peter’s life and my life. and committing to peter, means i’m committing to trusting God’s will for both of us. i know, duh linds. but when mortality comes into the picture, decisions take on a whole new perspective.

before i was blessed with peter i found it easier to trust the Lord with my life in these dangerous situations. truly believing (i know, this might sound morbid to some) that God has my life and if He chose to take it while doing some crazy dangerous thing that’s okay with me. but bring peter into the picture, and wow, my thoughts and feelings change dramatically.

i don’t naturally trust the Lord with peter’s life like i have trusted the Lord with my own. i want to hold tight to peter’s life, protect him, ensure he’s safe and cared for. but i can’t control his life. God is in control, God is sovereign. and walking by faith means trusting the Lord with EVERYTHING, including the lives of the people we love.

i didn’t see this side of trust coming my way. but it makes sense to me. am i going to trust the Lord and His leading knowing He can change the course of things at anytime? am i going to step out in faith in this relationship and know that the Lord promises to be with us no matter the storms, trials, difficulties?

without faith it is impossible to please God. i want to please God. trusting God with this relationship with peter is my greatest step of faith yet. and i praise God for it.

ecclesiastes 4:9-12

9 Two are better than one,
       because they have a good return for their work:

 10 If one falls down,
       his friend can help him up.
       But pity the man who falls
       and has no one to help him up!

 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
       But how can one keep warm alone?

 12 Though one may be overpowered,
       two can defend themselves.
       A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

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I looked in the mirror today.

I look in the mirror everyday when I get ready in the morning. And I steal glances in the mirror everyday that hangs in the hall outside my office at work. It was nothing new then to walk by the mirror in the hall outside my office this morning and steal a glance. I say steal because God forbid someone see me look at myself in the mirror, how vein of me.

But today, when I stole a glance, I stopped. I didn’t recognize who I saw. It was as if I saw someone else. It wasn’t me.

The woman I saw in that mirror did not reflect the heart behind the face, the makeup, the clothes, the hair, the body. The woman in the mirror looked good. Her hair straight and long, her makeup enhanced but didn’t cover her features. Her clothes were stylish, but not too stylish—classic is probably a better term.

But go inside. And her heart looks different. Drastically different. It’s ugly. It’s dark. It’s insecure. It’s jealous. It’s paralyzed by fear. It’s content in apathy. It’s judgmental. It’s far from what God wants for it.

Beauty is a pure, clean heart. Beauty is one that is surrendered to God and knows how much He loves her. Beauty is saved by grace through faith and forever changed by it. I’ve lost beauty. I have a decision to make, fall on my knees and find Him, find the beauty or surrender to the loss. I want beauty.

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John 15:7-8– 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

i’m being tested right now, tested in fear. i really had no idea how much fear grips me. granted, it’s not every area of my life, but definitely in certain places. all of it circles around being vulnerable, risking humiliation and truly trusting God. all the while remembering and trying to understand that my God is not a God of feelings and emotions, but a God of Truth. feelings and emotions come and go and aren’t all together bad, but the Truth never changes no matter how i might feel.

i took the liberty of “adjusting” a psalm the Lord showed me the other day:

Psalm 91:14-16
“Because he [Lindsey] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him [her];
I will protect him [her], for he [she] acknowledges my name.
He [She] will call upon me, and I will answer him [her];
I will be with him [her] in trouble,
I will deliver him [her] and honor him [her].
With long life will I satisfy him [her]
and show him [her] my salvation.”

i’ve never been consistent with memorizing scripture, yet i’ve known for a long time that i need to be… so here i am being honest and vulnerable, seeking accountability (in a weird, internet cyber-oriented world). if i am going to fight off these fears, fears that only come from the enemy, then i must lift up my sword. but how can i lift up my sword if i don’t have it in my hand (in this case, in my head)? so hears to memorizing these verses as well as the memory verses from my church (psalm 37:3-6). Lord help me!

maybe this will bless someone else as well :-)

i was driving to work today thinking about this post. asking myself, am i really ready to write about this? i know i’ve grappled with something to the point of stepping into victory when i have the ability to blog about it. if i can’t blog, it means i have a lot more “work” to do. (by work, i mean seeking God vigorously in prayer).

my roommate (ps. i hate calling her that because she is so much more than just a roommate, she’s the iron God has used to make me a better woman, she’s the fourth sister i never had, she’s the encourager the Lord has blessed me with…) blogged about FEAR today. the dreaded word… it’s something we are both grappling with, as well as the third member of our bible study (we’re studying beth moore’s newest, esther right now).

it occured to me on the way to work this morning, how do we recognize fear? how do we discern between a lack of peace because we are out of the Lord’s will for our lives vs. i have a deep rooted fear that is robbing me of the peace my Lord wants to give me?

i’m dealing with that a bit right now, and i don’t have a profound answer to share here. i don’t have the quick fix that my good old control freak self likes… but i do have the Word my Lord has left for me. i do have the privilege of running to Him, crawling up in His lap, and asking Him to provide the discernment and revelation i need to recognize my own deep-seated fears.

psalm 16:8 – “i have set the LORD before me. because He is at my right hand, i will not be shaken.”

that’s my prayer as i face this uncertainty before me, with my Lord at my right hand. His perfect love WILL cast out this fear.

i serve a mighty God who hears His children and answers their prayers. and this experience reinforced that fact for me. i don’t really know where to start but what i do know is God showed up moment after moment through experience and people over the four day summit climb.

ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. i saw this on our climb. i didn’t make it to the summit of mt. rainier (this time) but God showed me how much this journey, 10 months in the making, was about so much more than just reaching the top of the mountain. He answered every prayer that was prayed and answered it beyond what i expected.

we started with orientation on wednesday and then thursday we hit a snow field for climbing school. it was a very fun day of learning all sorts of things that i never thought of, including how to “save” ourselves should we fall during the climb. the next day we would begin the two day summit attempt. orientation and the snow school were a huge answer to prayer as they truly calmed anxieties over how to pack properly and layer clothing properly as well. just the beginning of God showing up : )

(on our way back from snow school – thanks for the pic rick!)

friday morning we drove to paradise and hiked to camp muir. it was pretty crazy to start in pretty warm weather (pia and i had on our long underwear with shorts over them) and end up hiking through lots and lots of snow ending at camp muir, home for the night.

(that’s another team climbing up where we had just come from)

(pia and i on our way up to camp muir – lunch break, this was when i decided it was snickers and m&m’s time, pia had cold pizza, yum!)

(camp muir: we slept in that box)

once we got to camp muir our guides told us what to expect in the next few hours, how to deal with mild forms of altitude sickness and then told us we had to go to bed soon. i had the beginning of a pretty killer headache from the altitude but i did the pressure breathing that the guides recommended and prayed and prayed for it to go away, and it did!

we got to camp muir at 4/4:30 pm and were to be in bed by 6 pm for a wake-up sometime between midnight and 1 am. it wasn’t easy to sleep but i had my ipod and listened to the good old brooklyn tabernacle choir. pia woke up at one point and smacked me in the face (supposedly by accident – haha) because a mouse had run across her head. i told her she was crazy, but in fact, we’re pretty sure a mouse did run over her head!

(jen and i shortly after we were supposed to be in bed – that’s cloud cover below us!)

at about 12:30 am the guides came in and “woke us up.” it was time to eat, layer up and get all our gear on and ready. the wind was howling like crazy. personally, i had never experienced that kind of wind in my life. dirt was flying everywhere but we were getting ready to go. at this point, pia decided not to attempt the summit. she didn’t feel like her footing was totally secure on the way up to camp muir and felt that with the wind, she just wasn’t quite steady enough and comfortable with being roped in to other people (for fear of taking them down with her). so sven (one of the team members) and i walked down to the start of the glacier, got our crampons on and roped in to our guide pete. with ice axes in hand, we followed the rest of the group across the cowlitz glacier toward the summit (camp muir is at 10,000 feet and our first break was at 11,200-ish at the “flats”).

as we moved across the glacier the wind was sincerely wicked. everyone, including guides, was getting knocked around a bit. once we crossed the glacier we made our way onto cathedral gap (rocks and lots of rocks). the wind stopped us a few times, forcing the front of the team to take cover as to not get shoved off their feet. at one point pete yelled to sven and i to move towards him very quickly, we ran as best we could on the narrow (and i mean narrow) path to get to him. praise the Lord we made it in time as a rather large rock just missed sven. i was praying this entire time that God would protect us from the rocks that make up the mountain He created.

by the time we made it to the first break, through rock falls and wind, i was pretty freaked out. the way the wind was blowing made me feel like i was a mere 95 lbs. and i know i’m not a big girl, but i sure am not a small one either! when i heard that the wind might get worse, i knew i needed to really consider what i was doing. our guides were wonderful, absolutely incredible, and told me i was physically ready to make this summit. mentally, i knew i was not 100%. i was torn, should i contonue on or turn back with a team that was going back? at that moment, sven put his hand on my shoulder and told me it was ok. that simple gesture was just what i needed at that moment. he then reached into his pack, pulled out his camera and asked me if i had read the quote on the back of the door at camp muir. i hadn’t, so he showed it to me:

God used sven in that moment to show me, it was ok for me to turn around. it was ok for me to head back to what felt safe to me at that moment. i can’t explain how scared i was up there, and surprised that i was scared. i can tell you i’m still struggling with the disappointment that comes from not reaching the goal you have trained for for so long. but like i said in the begining of this post, there was much more to this summit attempt then reaching, or in my case, not reaching the summit. most of the team made it and man, i am so proud of each of them!! that was not an easy fete by any means!

for so long i thought the purpose of this journey was to summit a mountain, and while i struggle with not reaching that goal, i praise God for showing me the many other blessings and privileges that came out of this journey. i praise God that He has given me the privilege of seeing His hand move so vividly throughout these four days.

i praise God for our guides, we could not have asked for anyone better (not even our prayers were as good as these guys). each one of them, alex, pete and pat, is so well rounded, grounded and clearly understand what it means to be a visitor on the mountain. each one so humble and encouraging. alex was the same guide that took my friend cindy and her husband graham up mt. rainier three years ago – cindy is the friend pia and i met while training on the stairs. coincidence? heck no! that was God, all the way. pete was the same guide that took cindy and her husband graham to mt. baker and was his guide for a seminar course. again, totally God.

our team was incredible as well. we prayed for unity amongst the team members and i tell you, i don’t think you could find a more unified group of strangers anywhere. each person was willing to step out for the other, and each one brought something special to the team. there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord intended each of us to meet. sven, mark, eric, jen, josh, dave and rick, you guys rock! i don’t know why we had the privilege of journeying together, perhaps our paths were only meant to cross for those few days, or maybe these relationships will remain through time (i hope so), regardless, i know with all my heart, God intended for each of us to meet.

i went into this adventure 10 months ago as one woman (can i call myself a woman? perhaps girl is better?) and ended it a different one. i hope to one day reach the summit of mt. rainier, but until then, i will keep praising God for all the ways He answers prayers, makes divine appointments, and directs our paths even when we don’t see the turns coming.

the Summit for Someone team and our guides!

PS – when i got home, my roommate did the best thing ever! she had a snickers blizzard DQ icecream cake waiting for me! seriously, how awesome is she? and it is decorated with a mountain! she also knew i didn’t make it to the summit, but decided regardless of reaching the top or not, i made it : ) praise the Lord for amazing friends!

i’m sure many of you have been watching the news and witnessing, if not first-hand at least through your TV screen, the crazy weather all over this country right now. well, this morning my partner in crime on this crazy adventure forwarded me an article about the first 2008 death on Rainier.

it is not typical for rainier to experience a blizzard this late in the year, but clearly nothing is impossible.

please pray for the family of the man who died, especially his wife. i can’t even fathom what that must have been like for her and what the coming days of grief will bring.

please also bathe pia and i in prayer as we continue on this adventure and especially when we attempt to summit. i can honestly say that i am not afraid of dying on the mountain, but prayers for protection are always appreciated. i’m more concerned with altitude adjustment and that the weather would not prevent us from reaching the summit.

thank you for reading this and praying for us : )

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