See every waterfall in Oregon. That was a goal I set for myself nearly 15 years ago. I was going through an ugly divorce from an angry man and struggling to survive as a single mom with two young girls. I’m not sure where I came up with the goal, but I know that I was looking for something that was for me, separate from any dream my ex and I had together. Something separate even from the children that I loved more than anything. My quest for waterfalls became the thing that defined the new me, and a respite from the stress and loneliness that engulfed my life at that time.
It was a turbulent time in my life, marked by some of the most painful moments I had ever experienced. I was a sitting-on-the-fence Christian, but God used that time to draw me closer to Him. In my journey, I came to realize that my quest for waterfalls was ultimately a search for answers that could only be found in God.
Fast forward a few years and I was a woman in love with Jesus, and getting married to a man who loved Him too. My ex was completely out of my life, the fearful nights and custody battles were behind me. At the age of 38, I gave birth to another beautiful baby girl. Life was good. But I was also a woman who was slowly becoming inactive, due in large part to the rheumatoid arthritis that had been a part of my life nearly as long as my love for waterfalls. And so the dream was set aside – deemed unneeded or unfulfilled, depending on which day you asked me.
As time went on, the hunger for those falls started resurfacing. My family would appease me with a short day hike, and I found joy in our time together doing something that still spoke to my soul. Then I would tuck it away again, back to the “something I will do later” in my mental list of dreams-yet-to-fulfill. For a couple of years the arthritis in my foot was so severe I couldn’t even walk around the block, let alone hike. I felt frustrated and angry. I wrestled with God. I dove into my bible. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26. God comforted me through His Word.
I was at peace with my limited abilities. Then a little over a year ago, I saw my doctor for hip pain (a new ailment.) Through a series of doctor referrals, I ended up in physical therapy and with two new doctors involved in my care. The amazing result was relief for my foot and hope for my physical future. Perhaps hiking wasn’t impossible. Was it too late to start again? I asked myself: Is this something God wants me to do?
I listened for God’s voice. I waited for signs. Certain songs caught my attention on Christian radio, bible verses of reassurance popped out at me from the page, and one quote I came across gave me goosebumps: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway” – John Wayne
Fear … that’s my weakness, the one God is always patiently chiseling out of me. I realized it takes courage to pursue a goal or dream, no matter what the circumstances.
So … I’ve decided to saddle up and start chasing waterfalls again. I’m also going to write about what I find, and the obstacles and inspiration I encounter on tbe way. I hope as you read about my journey, you, too, will be encouraged to pursue the dreams that God has set in your heart.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4