Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Story Time!

To say someone is dependable is one thing. To say that they are predictable is another.

Apparently, I am the latter.
On our ride home from North Georgia yesterday afternoon, my boyfriend JD looked over at me and said "Are you going to blog about how you hiked ten miles and almost died and how that relates to Jesus?"
Then he died laughing hysterically because we both knew that he was right. So to save you from the monotony that my blog has apparently developed, I think I should just tell you my story about hiking. You can draw your own conclusions.

Mostly this story is just a story though. And when I tell stories, I like to exaggerate how I felt about a situation. It makes it more dramatic! So here is the story of  how I trained for the Hunger Games. 

A few months ago, my family, JD and I all went to the beach for vacation. So coming up on Memorial Day I thought it'd be a good idea to take JD on vacation to do something he loves. He happens to really love the mountains and hiking.
I happen to hate it.
Maybe not hate.
I MUCH prefer the beach. Or anywhere else on the planet. 

My rule for hiking and camping says "There must be restrooms." (can I get an "Amen!", ladies?) I found the Len Foote Hike Inn in Amicalola Falls State Park north of Atlanta. It looked like an interesting place to go. The idea is that you hike 5 miles and you stay in a environmentally friendly hotel with food, bunk beds, hot showers and no cell phones.  That sounded like a blast to me! So after church on Sunday, we went up to Amicalola with his brother and spent the night at the lodge. 

The next afternoon, we left for the 5 mile trip at 1:13pm, precisely. I was warned to wear bug spray so I smelled like a walking bottle of DEET. I was warned to pack lightly because whatever you bring with you has to go back with you (including trash. no trash cans!) 
What they didn't tell me until I checked in with the rangers to leave for the hike, is that the first 2 miles of hiking is up. 
Straight up.
I think I was crying by 1.5 miles in. I told JD that I was quitting and we'd have to find somewhere else to go. Thank God he's a patient man! He convinced me that it would get better so we kept hiking.

At around 2.2 miles, there was a set of benches that I gladly became good friends with. As we sat and I drank water, we heard a scream that sounded like "MOMMA!" About 2 minutes later, we saw a little kid walking the trail. We decided to wait and see where his parents were and when they didn't follow him around the curve, we got worried. Just then the kid came back and asked if he could borrow our cell phones. He was lost 2.2 miles up the wrong trail.  
Thank God that we had both broken the "no cell phones" rule and both had reception at these benches!! An hour and a half later, a ranger showed up and took the 10 year old boy back to his anxious parents. By that time however, we were supposed to have arrived at the Hike Inn. It was 4:30! Knowing that dinner started at 6 pm and that I was probably the slowest hiker that has ever lived, we both got worried quickly.
Thanks be to God for getting me that last 2.8 miles! We didn't even stop and sit once and we got there right before dinner. If we had kept the same pace as the first two miles, it would have been night time before we got there!
But as we were hiking as fast as I could possibly go (up and down hill after hill) I realized that for every small break we had taken, I never saw JD pull out his water bottle and he wasn't drinking mine. He always said, "No, I'm good!" In the last mile, I looked at him and told him to drink some water and again he refused. 
It was then that I realized it. JD had been saving his entire water bottle over this 5 hour hiking trip in case I ran out of water and got thirsty. He must have been dehydrated because it was close to 90 degrees outside and we were both sweating like crazy. But instead of worrying about his own thirst, he was more concerned with mine. 
Now I'm not the most in shape person, but he didn't need to worry about that. 
However, he did. 

**Here's where you make connections about the Lord and His love for us.**

Anyways. That night we sat and met some nice people, ate a lot of food, drank a lot of hot chocolate, looked at some amazing views and played a lot of cards. The next morning we got up early, ate breakfast and hiked out. Amazingly, we hiked the 5 miles in just 2 hours and 20 minutes. Downhill was much easier than uphill for those last two miles! 
After we got done, I had horrible blisters and my legs, hips and back hurt so badly that I could barely walk. I shuffled like a granny. 
And today I'm still shuffling like a granny. I'm definitely walking peg-legged and not taking the stairs.
But I learned a few things.

1. Don't set out for a ten mile hike when you've never hiked before. Duh.
2. Stop and help little kids that are lost.
3. Having no cell reception is the only way to have vacation.
4. The Lord is near to those who call upon His name. And I called upon His name more times than I can count across those ten miles. 
5. A full water bottle is a true sign of love. And maybe I need to take a lesson from that. 
"Love your neighbor as you love yourself." I loved myself enough to drink water. JD loved me enough not to. And what Jesus did for us was much more than thirst.

Here are the songs that we did over the past two weeks!
May 20th:

The First and the Last by Hillsong
Lay Me Down by Chris Tomlin off of Passion:White Flag
Jesus, Son of God by Chris Tomlin and
*I Believe in You by Bethany Dillon

May 27th:
Cannons by Phil Wickham
Our God by Chris Tomlin
God is Able by Hillsong
Nothing But the Blood of Jesus and
*The Well by Casting Crowns
  The two *s are the offering songs. Both of them are songs that I absolutely LOVE! The entire album entitled "Come to the Well" from Casting Crowns is incredible. Truly.
Well I can't wait for worship this week and I look forward to seeing you all again in a few days!

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