They’ve been itching for a few days now, part of the healing process. But if you were to look at my legs right now, you wouldn’t think the scratches and bruises they’re covered in would ever heal (or at least they’re going to have some gnarly scars for awhile). So how did my legs get all cut up you may ask?
One word: WILLOWS!
While in the middle of the actual wilderness (5 nights, 6 days in the San Juan Mountains in CO, part of Younglife Wilderness Ranch), some of my girls I mentor and myself roughed it! We carried 40 lb packs, slept outside, and walked everywhere we needed to be. Half of the time, we were hiking uphill, especially on the day referred to as Peak Day, where we reached our highest place, Squaw Peak at 13,000 feet! But to get there, at one point, we had to go straight through a patch of horrid, awful, no-good willows! They scratch BAD, very close to if you were to walk through rose bushes…and seeing that it was still pretty hot in CO, we couldn’t wear pants. So sure enough, we all got cut-up (some a few worse than others), but it’s all we could do to get to our next place. All we could do was Power Through!
Is that how you’ve been feeling lately? Being scratched-up by the world around you, but all you can do is to take the cuts and bruises and power through? Just like that patch of willows didn’t last forever…even though it felt like it was at the time…this time of powering through won’t last forever either.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” –James 1:2-3
Each night in the wilderness, we went through a chapter of James. And that verse kept playing over and over in my head each day things got a little harder, and a little harder, up to that Peak Day! This thought that the physical trials I was going through, just like the emotional and spiritual ones I’ve been through in the past, grow me into the woman of God that I am. Each scratch, each cut, each sting I felt from another willow branch was making me stronger in the end. And each heartache, every lost loved one, each job that fell through is not there to just tear you down. They’re there to give you added strength in the journey ahead.
I’m not saying that I ever want to experience those willows again (in fact, as one of the girls in our group said, “If I ever see another willow again, I’m burning it to the ground”). And it’s not my hope for you to constantly struggle with the things your struggling with. But once we power through, once we keep pushing forward, we can make it to the other side with a new sense of who we are in Christ.
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