Friday, January 14, 2011

Backpacking Through Joshua: Week 1

I am not a backpacker.

But I married one.

I'll never forget that date (toward the early part of our relationship) when he told me that he was passionate about throwing 7 to 10 days worth of supplies into the lightest backpack he could find and traipsing up a mountain...for fun.

One of The Mister's favorite memories (and was an event in his life that he remembers bringing lots of growth and maturity) was right after high school. He went on a 5-week backpacking trip with the Forest Service in the Grand Teton National Park.

Yes. As in, over-a-month, using an icy cold Colorado stream as a bathtub.

I'm not entirely fussy. As a matter of fact I'm fairly low-maintenance, but I do consider a hot shower and clean underwear in the Top 10 of my list of daily desires. So you won't likely see me backpacking for more than a weekend.

Which is why I am thrilled to be a part of the Backpacking Through Joshua: A Virtual Adventure Bible study, led by Amber from Still His Girl.  It's a six-week hike with the luxury of my warm bed and in-door plumbing.

The questions for discussion this week were:

1. What made you decide to join? And what do you hope will come with this study?

2. In what ways have you found God to be faithful recently? If you have a hard time answering this, why do you think why? I go...

I'm here because I love the book Joshua. Its filled with encouragement and hope. It helps me to remember that ordinary people can be used by God to do great things.

I have much of Joshua underlined...verses and passages I go to in times of confusion, trouble, sorrow, hardship, doubt, fear, and in times of unbelief.

Joshua's first chapter opens with a powerful encouragement to be "strong and courageous." The Author doesn't just give empty words without a way to be successful, between each admonition to be "strong and courageous" are applicable ways to be so: focus our sights on Gods Truth and Faithfulness,

In the chapters (and weeks) to come we will be given great encouragement to hold fast when confusions and doubt have laid claim to our hearts;

"...hold fast to the Lord as you have until now."

We'll be reminded of God's great love for us and how we should respond to that love;

"Watch yourselves carefully! Love the Lord your God!"

We're given hope that our real-life backpacking journey, with all its narrow, uphill moments that may come with weary bodies and blistered feet, are for a purpose greater than our minds can comprehend. It's a divine journey, and God has a Divine hand on those who are willing to trust Him through the troubled parts.

Its for these reasons and reminders that I am here.

As for God's faithfulness recently... I'm going to be honest: This week has been difficult for me, as it has for many of my friends and family who have ties to Tucson. I will readily admit that I have wondered why it appears that evil is allowed to prevail?

As they buried that precious nine-year old girl yesterday afternoon it brought back memories of two dear friends that buried their children nearly two years ago. I've had to process and pray about old fear that gets stirred up each time a tragedy strikes.

I've struggled with fear that makes me want to render everything dangerous...I shouldn't travel because of terrorists; I should avoid crowds for all the unstable people in the world; I should hold to my children tight, lest they be taken away.

But that isn't faith. Those things are not what God has promised. God's promise includes hope and a future.

Not one of God's good promises have failed...every single one was fulfilled. (Joshua 21:45)

When my heart cries out; when I see lives taken and troubles set in, I am tempted to despair...I don't have to choose to fear because know matter the earthly outcome, the Truth is that the goodness of God has, is, and always will prevail.

God will not be held back; not by people, or things. Not by circumstances, nor the evils of this world.

Because my mind and heart were low, I was having trouble writing down my thoughts this week, but as I flipped ahead in the book of Joshua and pondered how I would write of my faith in God's faithfulness and how I had seen it this week, I was wondering what-in-the-world I would say? (Which is a shame, because I have seen God's faithfulness countless time in my own life, and in those who have been brave enough to share their hearts and lives with me.)

As I watched and read stories coming out of Tucson, as I talked with those I love who live in the middle of that city, I was encouraged with glimmers of the promise of Joshua 3:5 being fulfilled once again...

Is God faithful?


Yes, He is. 

And I thank Him for His encouragement this week. I thank Him in advance for the encouragement sure to come.

For this adventure through Joshua I'm a backpacker. 

I cannot wait to see what I set my eyes upon when I look on the vistas and valleys of my days on the trail.


Carpool Queen said...

We were meant to be friends for a reason.

I don't camp.

Looking forward to reading the lessons you're learning on a virtual hike.

His Girl said...

*high five to my platernal hiker*


um, thanks anyway.

but as far as backpacking with you? I am thrilled! Love, love, love that you are already using God's word to help you through the valleys. Taking this as encouragement that I can do the same today.


Gretchen said...

I only wish all this virtual hiking would end up in me loving the real thing. Alas, I lurve me some sedentary. ;).

Love your potent, heart-rending words relating even the horrors of AZ to His faithfulness. Haven't lived in Tuscon since I was 6 years old, but still...

You are such a truth teller & woman of grace, Kellie. If I can't be with you in person, I s'pose virtual will have to do.


Unknown said...

Great words Kellie....good to remember that God never changes who He is whatever the circumstances might be saying to us..even when the pain is not lessened...

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow..and looking forward to dragging you all out camping with us as soon as the warm returns...!(maybe just for a weekend though before we brave the 5 weeks...

Dana said...

I don't backpack or camp either! Just not my cup of tea, so to speak :)
Looking forward to the journey of the virtual backpack trip with you all though. This is much more my idea of backpacking!

Anonymous said...

Is this where the non-backing backpackers are hanging out? Oh, good! Scooch over and make some room for me to sit down. I came for the s'mores and campfire singing.

Thank you for your insights and the reminder that God is faithful even when we don't understand what's happening around us.

Jen said...

This: "I've struggled with fear that makes me want to render everything dangerous...I shouldn't travel because of terrorists; I should avoid crowds for all the unstable people in the world; I should hold to my children tight, lest they be taken away.

But that isn't faith. Those things are not what God has promised. God's promise includes hope and a future."

Whoa. Have you ever read my mind this week. I have worried and panicked and gotten myself worked up over how I could pull the kids out of school so that *I* could protect them at.all.times.

Then I realize that my protection pretty much....well, I'd say it stinks when you compare it to the One who is THE Refuge, THE Comforter, THE Shelter. They are, after all, God's children, on loan to me. He loves them more than even I do (*so* incredibly hard for me to imagine that), and if they are to be protected and watched over, HE is the one for the job. It just boils down to my faith trusting -- believing -- that He is able.

Wow, Kellie. God has so used you to open my eyes to my unbelief. Thank you for writing what was on your heart, and thank you, God, for revealing my sinful heart....