When you’re freed from all that is suffocating you.
When you’re done fighting internally.
Finished living in survival mode.
Sometimes all you can do is rest.
When I need to escape and to truly be alone, I head to Ruffner Mountain in Birmingham. I’m not sure why, but I feel an undeniable peace there. I found the mountain over a year ago when needing to escape more populated trails in our region. And just retreat.
There is a point on one of the trails called Winter Overlook, where you can sit and be far enough away from the main trails to become lost in thought. To breathe in the quiet. To breathe it in and out, over and over. To immerse yourself in a solitude you can only share with the One who created everything around you.
It is where I found myself in early January, the day my daughter returned to her university in Oklahoma, and after a trying 2021 that brought me to my knees more than once. A year that ended in release, acceptance, and freedom I desperately needed.
And a year that proved to me repeatedly that God had his arms wrapped around me the entire time. And I sat at Winter Overlook, on one of just a couple of rocks large enough to sit, and whispered over and over, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
And I sat – truly for only a few minutes before others made their way to the same spot – knowing some of the harshest of proverbial chains around me had fallen. And I was free in a way I hadn’t experienced in years.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.Hebrews 12:28-29
Have You Been to That Spot?
Not the one on Ruffner Mountain, but to that place of freedom and security and thankfulness all rolled into one? To that place of healthy numbness knowing your spirit has been renewed?
And you find your spot to just soak it all in…
And Give Thanks?
Because you know deep, deep in your soul it was Him who got you there. A simple response in your head is that yes, of course, He is there for it all. And yes, it’s true. But how many times have we soaked it in to a point that we are numb? To a point we find ourselves climbing a mountain and find only the words “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
I had nothing else.
Because when you’re freed from all that is suffocating you, when you’re done fighting internally, finished living in survival mode, sometimes all you can do is rest. Sometimes, all you can do is give praises of thanksgiving.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.Psalm 28:7
I walked away from Winter Overlook, and took the trail back to where I started my journey that morning. It was in the 30-degree-cold-for-Alabama-range, and I was bundled in a puffy thigh-length jacket, gloves, a stocking hat. Large sunglasses. Incognito – just as I like it sometimes.
I passed by families, couples, other dog owners. And the sun shone on us all. The morning could not have been more perfect. The laughter, the smiles, the casual banter among strangers and family alike.
And I wanted to tell them
Look at what God can do! Look at this pause, this numbness, this stillness He can offer. Look at what He can do for you. Look at the freedom only He can provide. He can pull you through too. Climb and rest on the mountain.