Rachel Jenae

I’ve always known that increasing weight and resistance in the gym would increase strength and perseverance. I remember in high school working my way up from bench-pressing the 35 lb bar to eventually pressing 150 lbs my senior year.  I didn’t set out to try and lift that much, but the daily, consistent showing up and doing the work increased my strength little by little and that bar became far too easy. I was shocked I could lift that much. Shocked it didn’t crush me. So were the high school boys.

This season has felt much the same.  I didn’t set out to move across the country and buy a house in the middle of a global pandemic.  I thought it would be harder.  I thought it would  break me.  That I’d struggle more and cry more at what I’d left behind.  I’ve been shocked that I could actually do it.  Shocked it didn’t crush me. Shocked by God’s provision, His kindness to meet me here with new friends and walk me through the day-to-day.

I’ve asked the same question over and over again in the last 7 months, “how could this feel so easy?” The last four years were everything but easy.  And the answer I continually come back to is the same as that 17 year-old, 130 lb girl lifting 150 lbs – the last four years of weight and resistance that you kept showing up daily to meet increased your strength and perseverance. I had more days of wanting to quit than not, so no credit of that perseverance goes to me.  In and of myself that’s exactly what I would have done.  Quit the job, quit the friendships, quit the family, quit.  It was a plaguing voice I heard most every day – “just quit, it will be easier”.  But there was another voice too.  A voice that I knew much more confidently saying, “I’ve got you. Lean on Me and I’ll carry you up this mountain.”

It was exactly four years ago when He whispered that the first time.  A sweet comfort in his care that regardless of the mountain there was always a gift at the top.  A gift only He could give – the best Giver of all.  I didn’t have to go – He would never love me less and He would never love me more. Choosing to follow Him up the mountain wasn’t about “gaining” more of His love, it was simply an invitation to know it more.  He knew what I knew, I could not climb that mountain on my own.  It would break me.  Oh I tried.  Boy did I try.  Old habits dying hard. And those places were broken wide open.  Wounds long festering opened to final healing.

It’s no wonder four years later He led me to literal mountains in the desert.

It’s no wonder the last 7 months have been so much easier than expected.

When you’ve been carried up the mountain and brought to the end of yourself it’s not hard to remember you didn’t get there on your own. But your strength and perseverance muscles were built just the same. In your weakness He has made you strong. Strong in trust. Strong in hope.  Strong in courage. Simply because you kept showing up and you didn’t quit.

My eyes are filled with tears of gratitude as I recall His encouragement day in and day out – through His Word, through a friend, through a gift. He was telling the truth. “I’ve got you. Lean on me and I’ll carry you up the mountain.”