Bill's Challenge - The Woman on Top of the World

The challenge of climbing a mountain makes the view at the top worth the effort!
The challenge of climbing a mountain makes the view at the top worth the effort! | Source

The wind caught me by surprise as I stood for the first time on Table Rock Mountain. I reached to grab my hat, but it was gone. Oh, well, it didn't matter anyway, I had made it! I was standing right in front of the Grand Teton! My heart beat wildly and my hands reached for the heavens.

I felt as if I were flying! Surely this is the dwelling place of God! This is the mountain of his house, his supreme creation! Oh, if only I could see him! Reverently, I bowed my head and whispered a prayer of thanks.

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."

— Isaiah 2:2 KJV

I grew up in the Snake River Valley, the very heart of southeastern Idaho. On a clear day, the Three Teton Peaks towered above the mountain range on the horizon visible through our front room picture window. I dreamed of the day when I would travel there myself and see their beauty and grandeur.

The girls from our church attended a summer camp every year in Darby, Wyoming at the foot of the Tetons. Each age group went on a hike during their week at the camp. The first year girls went on a simple overland hike. The second took a more rigorous journey, weaving around the base of the mountain peaks to a mid-level destination. Those in their third year hiked up Table Rock Mountain, next to the Grand Teton.

Being on Table Rock was like being on top of the world! I felt I could reach out and touch the heavens and that God was just a leap away. I talked about it for days and weeks afterward and my younger sisters looked forward to the time they would join me on the hike.

Have you ever been on top of a mountain?

  • Only figuratively.
  • Yes, it is awesome!
  • No, I haven't, but I will one day!
  • No, and I really wouldn't care to.
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The second summer I was to go on the hike, one of my younger sisters was old enough to go with me. We planned and prepared, gathering our equipment, preparing our minds and bodies for what we knew would be a grueling test of our abilities.

While at the camp we talked about what it would be like to make the climb. Our excitement mounted as the day approached. Unfortunately, the night before the hike, my sister became suddenly ill. The leaders in the camp asked everyone to pray for her swift recovery. My mind was reeling from the gravity of the circumstance. I knew that it would take more than just a prayer for her to go on the hike. We needed a miracle!

I ventured into the woods alone, determined to make it happen. Dropping to my knees, I poured out my soul in behalf of my sister. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I pleaded, "Dear Heavenly Father, please give her sickness to me! Let her go on this hike to the top of the mountain instead of me! I have already been there, she hasn't! Please let her go!" I lay down that night fully expecting to wake up ill.

It didn't happen. I hiked the mountain that day without my sister. Every step, I poured out my bitterness and disappointment to God. The closer we came to the top, the more guilt, shame, and remorse I felt that I was there, and she was not. How could this happen? Where did I go wrong?

Disappointment is a difficult emotion to swallow. It leaves us with a bitter aftertaste.
Disappointment is a difficult emotion to swallow. It leaves us with a bitter aftertaste.

Take the Challenge

Find hope in the midst of despair, find light when its dark everywhere. Find faith when you are surrounded by doubt, find friendship when there really is no one about. Find time when there is not a minute to spare, find food for the hungry though cupboards are bare. Find order mid chaos, find peace when without, find quiet and solace when others do shout.

Find love when hatred around you abounds, find life when the clang of the death toll sounds. Find laughter when tears cannot help but be shed, find words when you don't know what needs to be said. Find virtue though others have chosen the vice, find wisdom though others don't seek your advice. Find helpfulness when no one wants to kind; find obedience when you do not want to mind.

Take the challenge; stand up for the right. Don't run away when you have to fight. Don't take the easy road just to win, take the tough one with thorns and chagrin. You see the way that you know is the best, take it and you will have passed the test. Remember that others will follow your way, they may just need your strength today.

Stand up and be counted, you are the one, but a new life for you has just begun. You make a difference; you will win the fight. The lights may be out but it’s not a dark night. Now is the time to do what you must, now is the time to build up your trust. Remember that you do not come here alone; many have passed this way yet unknown. They stand around you as ghosts in the night, and bring you strength as you stand for the right.

When I pulled myself up to stand on the summit, my breath was momentarily taken away. Once again, I was awash with the awe inspiring beauty of the mountains around me. I felt that God was encircling me with the arms of his love as if to say, "It is okay. I did this for you!" I reached my hands up to the heavens and wept as though my heart would break.

The bitterness I felt from not having my beloved sister there with me was washed away by the sweetness of God's love. I was reminded of the feelings I had when I first stepped onto that summit the summer before. Once again, I approached the throne of Almighty God with a closeness that endeared me to him forever

Each and every one of us has our mountains to climb. Sometimes we take our loved ones along. Other times, we climb alone, in spite of every effort to take them with us. Then, for whatever reason, we must walk away, knowing full well that we will not be followed.

It is only after the difficulty of that climb; the discipline of putting one foot in front of the other. the hanging on to rocks and trees on steep embankments, and side stepping up the gravel slides, that we appreciate the breathtaking exhilaration of reaching the summit. Yes, it is only after the trial of our faith, that we are able to taste the sweetness of heaven that comes from being on top of the world!

Do it today! Take the challenge! Make the climb! Experience the view! Know what it feels like to be on top of the world, for only there will you come face to face with God, for your emotional health!

©2014 by Denise W. Anderson. All rights reserved.

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Comments 33 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Wow!

I mean it...Wow!

That as powerful, Denise. What a timeless message my friend, and you delivered it perfectly. I'm sorry it took me so long to get here; customers kept demanding my time today, but I'm sure glad I ended my writing day with this work of art. Beautiful, Denise, simply beautiful.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Wonderfully done and inspiring. I felt for you there as you climbed alone but I get the way such matters are washed away. We must assume your sister made it the following year.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Bravo! This is such a blessing to read and a powerful testimony to read for all. I love every word, and I especially love this line, "Yes, it is only after the trial of our faith, that we are able to taste the sweetness of heaven that comes from being on top of the world!"

Voted up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

God bless you.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

There is a wonderful vulnerability in loving I think--even the pain we feel is a completing of ourselves--great response to Bill's challenge I think


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

You have certainly made us aware of this challenge. It sounds a good idea to take up this challenge. Some challenges are are difficult to cope with and just to have someone with you all the way can make a huge difference.


Anil and Honey profile image

Anil and Honey 2 years ago from Kerala

mountain, flowers, rivers, smile, mercy, grasps...... everything are the wonderful creations by our father(God), nice hub thanks.


AliciaAH profile image

AliciaAH 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

Beautiful, thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope one day I'll experience being at the top of a mountain.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

What a glorious addition to Bill's challenge...much in the way of his two girls named Hope and Mercy....finding our way.

I love the way you told the story about climbing the mountain and the disappointment of her sister not being able to go, but, the glory and majesty of God providing her comfort.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Bill. That means a lot to me. When I saw the picture of your wife on top of the mountain, I thought of this experience. Sharing it brought me back to a time that I had long since forgotten. It has opened up a whole new point of view for my future!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

You know, Eric, I don't even remember! This experience was such a turning point in my life that what happened before and after it are kind of a blur! I have had many challenges in my life, and each time I climb the mountain, I find God at the top. There is nothing like it!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Faith Reaper, that statement is the essence of my testimony. God is there for us, but we don't often find him until we have suffered and struggled. I want to share this with the world, thanks for helping me along!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Yes, Audrey. Sometimes we hold back our love for fear of the vulnerability. At that time in my life, I didn't know that fear. I believed that God would answer my prayer, as he had done many times in the past. It was probably the first time I wanted something for someone else badly enough that I was willing to put my own life on the line. Thanks for reading and commenting.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

DDE, we never know when the challenges we face will bring about our own personal growth and development, or that of others. We think we know and understand what is happening, but in reality, we don't. There is someone, who does, though, and no matter what happens, we can turn to him, and he will be there.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

God's creations are all around us, Anil and Honey. Sometimes we don't see them because we are too busy with our own affairs. We forget about God's love because we become immune to what he has given us. We have to make a conscious choice to look up and around in order to refocus and feel once again the majesty that is ours. Thanks for reading and commenting!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

I hope that for you, too, Alicia! There is nothing like it! The closeness we feel with our Creator is magnificent when all we see around us is the beauty he created. When we climb the figurative mountains in our lives, we have a similar experience. We come to see ourselves as God sees us, and the view is suddenly spectacular!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks tillsontitan! In writing this hub, I could feel that disappointment keenly. It was a difficult day in my life. I went from the depths of despair to the heights of mercy and grace! What more can a person ask for?!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Your article offers a challenge of its own: "Each and every one of us has our mountains to climb." You gave great motivation for us to do it. Thank you.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a very inspirational hub with a very important message about taking the challenge. Thank you for sharing it.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

To me, that is the message, MsDora. My experience is an example that none are immune to the challenges of life. We all face them. When we do, we often feel alone. We think that we suffer in private and others do not know or understand what we are experiencing. It is refreshing to find out that others do know. First and foremost, God knows, and when we share our challenges with others, we find that they have experienced similar difficulties.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Alicia. I appreciate you reading and commenting.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Encouraging and inspirational words of strength and courage, Denise. Great piece of writing and wonderful contribution to Billy's Challenge. God bless you for the spiritual insights.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thank you manatita44. I appreciate your kind words.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

This was amazing, and yes we all have our mountains to climb, wonderful addition to the challenge! loved it!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Nell. Life is full of mountains. Choosing to make the climb will bring us much closer to our full potential, as well as peace and happiness.


Nicholas Pollock profile image

Nicholas Pollock 2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

The two best places to experience the divine: love and nature.

Thanks for this. Inspiring, no matter your faith.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Nicholas. I like to think that faith is a universal experience. Religion tends to be more specific. Thankfully, God sees all as his children!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Your described how I have felt on top of the mountain. It's so awesome to see the world from this high peak. You have made a great add to the challenge.


Carol McCullough profile image

Carol McCullough 2 years ago from U.S.

That was very inspirational, I could feel you speaking from your heart.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, teaches. It was an awesome experience to be so close that I felt that I could just reach up and God would be there! I appreciate you sharing it with me!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Carol. I appreciate your comment.


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 2 years ago

Very beautiful and inspiring article!

"I approached the throne of Almighty God with a closeness that endeared me to Him forever." Amen* God bless you*

Voted up and shared!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks for your encouraging words, mothersofnations!


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 10 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Great article. I love the power and majesty of the Tetons. It is one place where I feel close to God.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

Namaste

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