A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Climbing the Mountain – Reaching for God

Climbing the mountain can teach us many things about life and point us to God.  “And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.” Moses 6:63

As we hike the mountain, we can look at and contemplate the symbols, types, and shadows God provides.  If we look with eyes to see, we can learn much of Him and our journey back into his presence.

Today is the Summer Solstice. It is a day of most sunlight and begins summer. To help us remember that all light comes from God, we decided to climb the mountain and celebrate this day with Him.  “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

Each time we climb the mountain we learn many things that help us in our daily walk.  We’ve learned to take a notepad so we can remember the lessons of the day.  Writing our thoughts frees our minds to discover the next idea. We will share just a few of these insights.  

#1 It takes a Dad and a Mom to raise children.  Dad has much strength and bears a large load in the family while Mom carries and prepares bodies for the little ones.   In our home, the family wouldn’t function very well without Dad’s constant care. On the other hand, Mom’s weaker and well-worn body is essential in giving life.  Even after the baby is born, Mom is always near during the first year of the baby’s life.  Mother provides food, love, and emotional strength for the new baby.  

It’s been nine months since we climbed the mountain. Jennifer was 5 months pregnant with Emma the last time we made the ascent together.  Emma is five months old today.  We brought her along because she still needs her mother.

#2 About 15 minutes into the hike, Jennifer realized that she didn’t have her walking stick, so John ran back to get the stick. While Jennifer and Emma waited, a song of prayer came to mind.

In heaven they communicate with thoughts.  The voice is only used for singing.    The idea came to sing a prayer instead of speak it.  We discovered that when we sing our prayers it doesn’t sound vain or repetitious.  The more the words are sung, the deeper the meaning enters into our soul.  Here is a simple prayer and tune that came to mind.

Father in Heaven we thank thee for this day
For thy bounteous blessing each and every holy day

Father in Heaven we thank thee for this day
For thy bounteous blessing each and every holy day

Father, Mother we come to you today
Father, Mother into thy arms to stay

#3 Climbing the mountain is difficult and strenuous, but it is a journey to be enjoyed and cherished.  There is no need to rush to the top.  There are many beauties to take pleasure in.  When we are tired, we stop, rest, talk, and laugh. 

Jennifer is quite a bit slower than John, so John is designated as the scribe, and he writes down our thoughts and experiences.  John is nicknamed “Run – Rest - Write” and Jennifer is nicknamed “Steady Eddy”. 

Some might feel that they can’t make the journey quickly, so they give up.  It’s better to go slow and steady than to give up because we can’t go fast.”  Jennifer always makes it to the top of the mountain and back, even though it takes her all day to do it. 

As we tromp through the trees and brush, we walk single file. We enjoy the shade, and John leads the way.  On the barren hillside we walk side by side. We make the journey staying close together.

#4 About half way up the mountain, the slope gets really steep.  At this point, the mountain seems almost too difficult to climb.  It is so steep that when we look up, we see what looks like the top of the mountain.  When we get to what we thought was the top, we realize that the rest of the mountain was hidden from view by the sharp incline.  These pictures show two different inclines, one right after the other.  When looking at the first incline we can’t even see the second one.

When Jennifer was pregnant, John put his hand behind her upper arm and gave her extra strength to make this part of the journey.  Now that Emma is on the outside, he carries the baby and lightens Jennifer’s load.

This is so much like life. Sometimes it seems like we can only take one baby step at a time because the challenge is so demanding.  Even though we aren’t taking large strides, we gain the greatest elevation on the steepest slopes.  These are the times to keep pressing forward.  We still need to take the steps forward, and God sends help to strengthen us and make it possible.

In addition to having John’s help, Jennifer has a walking stick that she uses each time she makes this hike.  The stick is slightly curved.  On the way up the mountain the curve bows forward and is used to help pull her up the mountain.  On the way down the curve bows backward and helps brace her as she carefully descends the steep slope. John carries the stick when it isn’t needed.

In life as we look up, we think we see the top of the mountain.  When we get to what we thought was the top, we discover that much of the mountain is still ahead of us. We don’t see the beginning to the end. If we did, we might give up before we even begin.  As we tackle each obstacle, our confidence in meeting the challenge is increased.  We know what it feels like to climb, conquer, and obtain, and are willing to do it again.

As we look back to where we came from, we can see our progress. What used to be so high above our head is now low beneath our feet. We continue to look up and focus on reaching the top.  In the pictures, the yellow dot marks the top of the lower mountain that used to tower over our heads.


#4 The Kidron Valley runs along the eastern wall of the Old City of Jerusalem, separating the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives. To come off the mount and go up to the temple, you must first go down.  The Jews sing the song of redemption as they are going down because they know that the descent is part of the ascent.

What goes up must come down, and those who willingly go down will be lifted up. Those who exalt themselves will be humiliated, while God exalts those who are humble and have been humiliated for His sake. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

Christ made the great descent and ascended up on high. “He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;” D&C 88:6

The first time we ascended the mountain, we thought we were at the top when we reached the ridge.  We were tired. When we looked up and saw a higher peak, we realized our journey wasn’t through.  To reach the higher peak, we needed to walk along the ridge.  There are three peaks with a valley in between each peak.  To go up, we had to go down.

Once we tried to take a short cut and walk across the front face to avoid the ups and downs.  Walking sideways on the steep slope was much more difficult than walking along the ridge and taking the ups and downs.

It is also difficult to descend the mountain. We have to watch every step and keep our balance.  It would be easy to fall and tumble down the mountain.  It is hard on the feet and legs as each step is braced.  

There are many ups and downs in life. Each experience stretches us in different ways. It’s all part of our round trip.  

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