Facing My Fears – Or Not

I’m terrified of heights.

Really. Really. Terrified. As in “panic and freeze” scared of heights.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to a trip out west. I knew there were mountains – but I guess 14 years had dimmed the memory of how high they were.

It started coming back to me as I watched the kids climb around the Veduvoos and later as we traveled down the pass from DuBois into Jackson Hole.

But the real terror hit when we took Teton Pass into Idaho. I went into full panic mode. Traveling around those sharp curves as we climbed up and down the mountain – I freaked. My foot kept slamming the imaginary brake on my side of the Suburban.

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When I looked out the window I saw steep mountain sides – and thin little guard rails. I tried to close my eyes – but I soon discovered that not knowing what was coming next was worse than knowing.

Then my dear wonderful husband stopped at the top.  He thought we needed some pictures.   He actually allowed my sweet babies to get out of the suburban and walk to the edge of the guard rail.

But wait. There’s more!

He then let our children go down a trail to a snow field and have a snow ball fight – in flip flops.

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They were having the time of their lives – just making memories.

Mom, however, was not.

All I could see was the height – the danger. They were on the side of a mountain. Do you see the dark line near the top of the snow ?! That’s where they were!

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To say I was scared would be an understatement.

But I somehow kept it all together the entire week. I even managed to climb a mountain, and endure the mountain passes in Yellowstone (you know the ones that hang you out over nothing while supported with steel posts?) without totally losing it.

(Although I would tremble at the sight of the steep grade signs and often go to my “happy place” as we careened around the steep curves.)

Yes – I managed to keep it together – until we hiked Harney Peak – the highest point east of the Rockies located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The hike itself wasn’t that bad – after all – we had just finished a mega 9 mile hike in the Tetons just days before. This was nothing.

Until we got to the top.

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The views we spectacular! I guess. If you weren’t hyperventilating from fear. The rock look-out at the top was really cool – if you like rock structures perched on top of rock cliffs at 7000 feet.

I was doing fine – very proud of myself for accomplishing the hike when I looked out and realized that my children had left the relatively safe rock walls of the look-out and went exploring on the surrounding rocks – with their father.

They were prancing like mountain goats at 7000 feet.

I had a meltdown. I yelled over to them “You better come back – that’s illegal!”

The guy next to me said, “Actually it isn’t illegal.”

I looked at him and said, “I’m the mom.”

He said, “You’re right – it’s most definitely illegal!”

Little Buddy yelled back, “It’s okay Mom, just go to your happy place – we’re having fun!”

It didn’t help that complete strangers would be enjoying the view from the Look-out and suddenly exclaim, “Whose crazy kids are out there on those rocks?!”

Umm… they are mine.

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Oh yes. They are mine.

Those are my sons – the little dots on the rock with their arms stretched in a victory sign.

And they are having the time of their lives.

They were doing what God intended for them to do – climb rocks – conquer mountains – explore their world.

What was I doing? Freaking out. Holding them back. Trying to tuck them back in safely.

I failed.

I let my fears win. I sat in a miserable heap on the stone steps overcome with panic and worry.

Where was my faith?

The Almighty God created those mountains. The Almighty God created my precious children. The Almighty God – that I love and serve  – had everything under control.

But I didn’t trust Him.

Psalms 111:6-7

“..a righteous man will be remembered forever.

He will have no fear of bad news;

his heart is steadfast trusting, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is secure,

he will have no fear…”

Another life lesson learned.

I’ve linked this post up at Friday Fails over at My Blessed Life.

False Peaks on Mount Courage

New Mexico Mountains

My son Matt learned his own lessons during his week at Teen Pact Survival Camp.

One of their tasks as a team was to navigate their way up 3 different peaks, aptly named Mt. Courage, Mt. Endurance and Mt. Followthrough.

At the peak of each mountain they were to retrieve a flag before descending and beginning the next climb.

All of this had to be done in a certain amount of time.

Matt’s team started out strong – heading up Mt. Courage. They soon got weary as the altitude began affecting them.

They kept their eyes on the prize though – keeping the peak in sight, only to be disappointed to discover when they reached it – that it wasn’t really the top.

It was a false peak. From their vantage point it looked like it was the summit, but when they got there, they discovered there was still mountain ahead of them.

How discouraging!

But they regrouped and started out again – with the new peak in sight. Sure enough, when they got there, it still wasn’t the summit – it was yet another false peak.

This happened again and again – until they finally reached the true summit – exhausted and behind schedule.

After a brief rest, they started back down, and then up the next peak.

It was there – halfway up the next mountain that they turned and could see where they had been.

It was all so clear from another vantage point.

How true in life. We climb up the mountains put before us – struggling to get the top, only to find that we still had more mountain to conquer. We get discouraged and want to give up.

Many times we can’t see the forest for the trees. (Or the mountain peak because of the mountain in front of us.)

That’s where faith comes in.  We need the faith to stay on the course, and courage enough to not give up even when it seems hopeless.

I don’t know what mountain you are climbing now – financial difficulties, marital problems, struggling to lose weight, infertility, parenting questions, a job loss, or maybe health issues.

You think you have it conquered.

You think you have it figured out.

But you have only reached a false peak. There’s more mountain waiting. And the higher you go – the harder the climb. You’re weary. The altitude is affecting you.

Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Keep climbing Mount Courage.

In time, you will be able to look back from where you have come and be blessed to see how the Lord has led.

Trust me – the view from the top is amazing!

Isaiah 40 : 28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.

He give strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youth grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar like wings on eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”