A couple of days ago, I got to see the sun glisten off of snow-covered peeks as I enjoyed another day of skiing. The weather was perfect with blue skies overhead and white powder at our ski tips. There was something so beautiful about the whole day from the beginning that I knew it was going to be good.
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“After we get off, follow me,” my friend said as our last chair lift ride came to an end.
“Ok,” I replied. My friend, I’d learned, knew his way around the mountain. He even knew a bit about skiing, although he’s a snowboarder. Even though he’d been trying to take me on a black run all day, I pushed the fear out of my mind and zoomed down the hill behind him, practicing my parallel skiing techniques.
He got there first and waved me in. I hiked up a ways with my poles to where he was with his board. The sight that met me was not what I’d been expecting or hoping for. I saw a hill that went almost straight down, full of powdery snow.
“That’s steep,” I said, truly afraid.
“I don’t think I can do it. No, I can’t!” I was about to turn away.
“Come on, Liz,” he encouraged.
“No!” I said, thoroughly against it.
“You’ll feel so good after you do it though.”
I looked from him to the mountain and back at him. Then, I pondered it all. As I thought, I heard a Voice say, “Why can’t you do it?”
“Because–” I thought, reaching in my mind for all of the excuses that I’d used before. The insecurities. The bad experiences. All of the things that haunted me and made me feel inadequate. The stuff that scared me. The hurt and scars. Yet somehow, I wasn’t that anymore. I had come far. Farther than all of those stupid lies and heartaches. And I’d reached this point because Christ had strengthened me.
“Okay, I can do this,” I said, digging my poles into the fresh powder and pushing off down the mountain of doom.
“Yes, you can!” my friend called.
It was slow going at first. I was super scared of getting stuck like I did last time or getting injured really badly. I skied cautiously. At first, I was even afraid of the necessary turns. But somehow, at some point, I began to actually do it. I was skiing down a big, steep hill! Yes, I was! I was doing the black diamond that I said I’d never do! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I thought. Yes, I can! Yes, I’m doing it–
And then my skis slipped and twisted and I fell in a tangled mess on the big, powdery hill.
But I was laughing. Laughing for real. Laughing the old, real Elizabeth laugh that I haven’t used in a while. Or maybe it was a new laugh that I developed from that fall. I don’t know. All I understand about that moment was that it was wonderful. I felt wonderful. Snow was beautiful, my friend was right, and God was good. Nothing could ever be better. My friend didn’t even have to ask me if I was alright after that fall.
“Do you see why I like black runs so much?” he asked, helping me up from the snow.
“Yes!” I said, still laughing my heart away.
That wasn’t the end of my falling for the day. Oh, no. I fell several more times on that slope. Sometimes, my legs were so tangled and sore that I had to stop and catch my breath. It was tough going for me. But it was worth it because the hard things in life are often the best. And I did it because God was skiing with me with the strength that I needed.
I went to bed happy that night. I thought back on my day, on life, and all the worries and problems that I have. Sometimes life is like a mountain — it seems too steep to get through. We feel like giving up or taking our skis off and walking down. But the truth is that we can do it, if we only trust and keep our skis forward. God is real. He made the mountains, after all. And He is with us every step of the way. I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.