It felt like looking over a ledge I once visited in the mountains of North Carolina. As a teenager, I’d gone camping with a group of friends to Hanging Rock State Park. At the top of the trail, was a literal rock-and-a-hard-place. Two sheer cliffs if you asked me, that you had to climb between and wedge yourself into in order to reach the peak to see the best view. It was risky.
I remember being terrified as I approached those cliffs, but having to act like I wasn’t. I remember it being cold in between those rocks. And, I remember looking down as I climbed and thinking no one would be able to catch me if I lost my footing and fell. I did it out of fear, mostly, because after hiking to that point, I didn’t want to be left behind.
Near the top, you had to leap almost from one rock to the other in order to reach the final steps. If you closed your eyes, you risked falling. And so you had no choice but to go through it wide-eyed and scared, knowing that if you made it you’d be privy to the view that had become legendary. Even if standing on the edge of a cliff to witness it was almost as scary as the path that got you there.
Leaving my marriage felt much the same. Stuck between a rock-and-a-hard-place for years. Uncertain of what lay ahead and fearing falling back into where I’d come from as a child. Because where I’d come from was a train wreck. A family so broken by divorce that the pain still lingered as if it’d happened the day before. A father so angry at everyone involved, including the children, that he’d disowned me the day I got married for asking my step-father to also be a part of the ceremony. So broken that when my grandparents on that side of the family (whom I loved deeply) died, I was banned from their funerals.
My greatest fear—and single mission as a mother—was to avoid such a fate for my own family. And yet there I was—between two cliffs having to make a choice to leap to the other side and trust that God wouldn’t let me down. Not easy for a girl who’d learned early in life to trust no one. I felt like I was losing my grip, and that my children and I would surely plummet, hitting every painful crevice on the way down. It seemed out of control. And terrifying. And, more alone than I’d ever been.
I clung to God like I clung to life itself those first few months. And every movement felt fragile and small. Some days I couldn’t move at all. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t do anything, really, except cry to God. That’s when a friend suggested that I ask God for a life verse for this season of my life.
I’d never done such a thing before but at her urging I prayed and asked him to give me something I would know immediately was his verse for me. As I read my Bible each morning, and came across verses through social media and other avenues, I wondered how on earth I’d even recognize it when it came to me. I mean, I was hanging on by a thread. Every verse I read seemed relevant and necessary in my life.
Until I came across:
“God is within her; She will not fall” (Psalm 46:5).
And, you know that feeling you get sometimes in life, where your heart soars because someone has made it abundantly clear that they love you for you, and will always be there for you, and you get all squishy inside at the thought of finally—finally—being understood? Yeah. It felt just like that.
In the midst of this unexpected turn in my life. In the middle of my heartbreak over what me and my children were facing, God made it abundantly clear that I wasn’t climbing that rock alone. We were climbing it together. And God doesn’t fall.
And while moving forward—away from what I’d always thought my life would look like—seemed like the riskiest thing I could do, I knew it was where God wanted me to be. And just like the moment after I reached the peak of that cliff as a teenager and saw from that vantage point that the world was so pure. So beautiful. So simple. With crisp blue skies and treetops that sat so close to one another that they seemed more like rolling hills of green, and gold, and amber. I marveled at God’s vantage point of my life now and how he could love a girl who desperately needed to feel loved, in tangible ways.
Nearly a year into this journey, I realize how big a step that small leap was for me. It was risky in my mind. And how a girl who’d been disowned, and banned by her own family probably should’ve chosen to protect her heart instead. But, I’m thankful that I didn’t. That I jumped wide-eyed into the path that God pointed me toward even though it was the last thing I wanted in my life. Because it’s allowed me to trust him completely. It’s made me stronger realizing that he won’t leave me in the hard places. And I cherish the fact that we’re climbing this peak together.
Because I understand the risk in climbing while you’re afraid. It’s where the very best views—not seen by everyone—can be revealed. And that those sometimes come at the end of a breathless climb toward the edge of something we fear the most. Because God is always ahead of me, and behind me. And for someone who learned to trust no one, I finally see there is One who is trustworthy.
I’ll take that risk again any day.
What about you? What risk is God asking you to take in your life?
Article originally published at LauraPolk.org. Used with permission.
Laura Polk is a writer, speaker, and textile designer residing in North Carolina with her three children. Since becoming a single mom, her passion to minister to this group has led her to encourage successful single mom living through The Christian Single Mom on Facebook. Follow her journey through her blog or get a glimpse into her quirky thoughts and inspirations for design and writing on Pinterest.
Publication date: January 22, 2014