When God speaks, He speaks. People might think I’m crazy (well, I am) when I say, “God spoke to me,” but the truth of the matter is God speaks. He has been speaking to His children since he breathed life into them (see Genesis 2-3). He desires a relationship with us, His creation. It is recorded in Genesis 3 that he looked forward to the cool of the day, when Adam & Eve would come and commune with him. What on earth did that look like? It is hard to imagine, isn’t it?
In July 2009, God spoke two very important messages to me while hiking/climbing on a very big mountain in Switzerland. I’ve written and spoken a great deal about it. It was a moment that marked a huge paradigm shift. Life after that mountain climb would never be the same. About 1/4 of the way up, my body was in a state of tremendous physical decline. Ill-prepared for the hike, my husband and I didn’t bring water or snacks or anything. Real stupid. Little did we know how extreme the climb would actually end up being. Experienced Swiss climbers, with walking stick in one hand and a bottle of water in the other, raced passed us. I don’t even want to know what they thought. If Rob hadn’t transformed from husband to super-life-coach, I think I might be living in a cave on the side of the Gemmipasse in Leukerbad, Switzerland. Thanks to his mad coaching skills we made it. During the climb, I had one thought: I’m going to die. Rob, on the other hand, had three thoughts, which he enthusiastically and authoritatively declared every few steps: “Janell, short steps, short rests, keep the momentum.” The cadence of his words served as a rope that pulled me up the face of the mountain. After the climb, when we were finally drinking water and eating Swiss ice-cream, I heard the still small voice of my heavenly life coach: “Janell, let this serve as a model for the second half of your life. At times, the journey will become unbearable. Be prepared: take water, wear the right shoes, and follow the same mantra, “Short steps, short rests, keep the momentum.”
The day before, Rob and I rode a bright red tram up to the top of the mountain. Crowded with thirty other people, it was hard to breathe. After unloading, we trekked to one of the most beautiful, serene areas I’ve ever seen: Lake Dauben.
It was here, while walking and breathing the crisp air, that I heard God speak a second message. As I stooped and brushed my fingers through the silky verdant pastureland, I came upon a tiny snail.
For some odd reason, I centered it in the palm of my hand and snapped a photo. The breathtaking simplicity and intricacy of this little snail, with its spiral coat, made me stop and notice. In stark contrast to this was the grandeur and majesty of the Alps. Breathing in deeply, I distinctly remember one thought: I can’t go back home and live life the way I had been living it. Turning 50 in three months, which in and of itself is sobering, I didn’t want my life to be full of crammed schedules, unrealistic, maybe even misplaced, goals and objectives, misdirected vocational choices, and misguided religious choices (based on seeking human approval and applause).
No, life had to be different.
Part II, A Weekend Thought for Sunday (coming tomorrow!)