Facing My Fears With Faith
I was standing at the top of Grouse Mountain, looking down at the city of Vancouver. I was about to face my fear head on. My best friend was holding my stump. The elevation was approximately 1200 feet and we were about to sit-ski (mono skis with a metal seat molded onto the board, making it more accessible for skiers with disabilities) down an Olympic–style run. Once again I could feel FEAR creeping up from the bottom of my prosthetic toes and into the pit of my stomach. Spirit – do not fail me now. Saying a little prayer, I reminded myself that, with the Lord on my side, I could embrace all my fears. I was facing my fears with faith.
I thought back to the rough winter we had experienced at CiLi Forest. It felt as though I had spent the last two months focused on facing my fears. Winter had brought with it many opportunities to do so – icy parking lots, exhaustion by the time I reached the car, snowstorms. But, it was early April and I was in Vancouver to speak at a conference. When I left home, the snow still covered most of our property. Often our snow banks could be anywhere from three to eight feet high.
I Could See Our Back Field From my Kitchen Window
I could not help but think back to a day in late March; the sun was shining, there was nothing but blue sky above me, and I could feel spring in the air. I wanted to feel that same spring in my legs, and I was determined to hike to the back trails for the first time that winter. I could see our back field from my kitchen window. Our stables form an entrance way to the field. It was torture; I had spent my summer days in that field, but the winter had prevented me from accessing it.
I longed to hike up the little trail and sit on my bench. It was highly unlikely I would get that far, but I was determined to at least get as far as our stables. I was facing my fears with faith in the God Who had brought me through so much already.
Take a Leap of Faith
There was a four-foot snow bank in front of me – almost as if it was mocking me. With the pain in my hip, this was going to be very difficult to do. Yet I could feel the sun on my face, the trees and the blue sky calling me. I had to do this.
Walking up to the incline, my feet didn’t seem to be in the right places and I could not get momentum. I walked away fearful.
Fearful. I had not felt that feeling in quite some time. Was it because I had achieved so much I was no longer fearful? No, my inner spirit, my heart, told me it was because I had avoided facing my fears. I had avoided situations in which I would be afraid. Winter had taken its toll and, as a result; I was losing my faith. I had always welcomed fearful situations, yet there I stood, allowing fear to push away my faith.
“Oh, please God, let me get up this hill,” I said. Take a leap of faith, I heard. My heart raced. I knew that, in going up this incline, I would likely lose my balance. Thoughts of falling on my hip and breaking it overwhelmed me.
But I looked at that incline again and took several more steps toward it. The four-foot incline and I faced each other several times over the next 15 minutes. I would start towards it, and fear would take hold and I would walk away.
It hit me that, if I did not climb this hill, I would lose part of me. Facing my fears with faith. Fearless faith. If I lost that, I would become stationary. That was not an acceptable option. Suddenly, I noticed little lips in the snow, as if they were carved out spots for my feet. It was time.
Halfway up the incline I tipped. But something caught me and before I knew it I felt the warm and welcome sun on my face. I could hear the birds singing in the trees reaching for the top of the blue sky. What an incredible view. I had climbed a mountain. Not alone, never alone.
Little did I know a month later I would be standing at the top of a real mountain. The fear was back, but I was prepared this time. I was facing my fear with FAITH.
I pushed off, the wind in my hair, joy spread across my face, and the feeling of freedom coursing through me.