the mountain before me


Hot tears poured down my cheeks as I attempted to explain to my husband how I was feeling. The fire burned in the fireplace. The lights were dim. I closed my eyes as if to dig up words buried deep beneath hardened soil.

“I feel like I’m one of those movie scenes where the character is lost, and starts to turn, around and around, faster and faster, and the camera spins and spins, around and around, faster and faster, and it’s all a blur.”

How did I get here?

We had just gotten home from a movie last night with some friends. And as we pulled into the driveway, Clay asked me if I was going to write the following day {today}. My eyes immediately welled up, my throat got that lump in it, and I cursed it as I attempted to swallow it all away.

I had taken a two-week writing break over the holidays, and honestly the thought of diving back in was just so overwhelming it felt paralyzing.

I’m exactly a year and a half into writing this book. I’m sort-of-maybe-almost halfway finished. And I have no idea how this is all going to pan out. Will I ever finish it? How will I ever finish it? When will I ever finish it? How will I get someone to publish it? Who’s going to trust a first-time book author? Who’s going to want to publish a book written by a “nobody” with no special degree in seminary or psychology and without a huge social media following? Who’s going to buy the book? Read the book? Am I wasting my time? What am I doing with my life?!

Doubts spun around in my mind like sopping wet clothes in the dryer. Thud. Thud. Thud. It felt like the breath was taken out of me a little more with each loud shout from the Enemy.

The truth is, I don’t know how this will all pan out–finishing it, finding a publisher, figuring out how to sell copies. And the unknown has been known to cause great anxiety and fear within me.

I told Clay as I shut the car door behind me, stepping out to head up into the house, “I feel like I’m standing before this mountain in front of me, and I have no idea how to get to the top.”


We made our way up the steps and into the house. I changed into my pajamas and met Clay downstairs on the couch. And after he listened to more of how I was feeling, he paused and he asked me a question that was like a maglight that shined into the darkness of the abyss of doubt.

He said “Why do you want to write this book?” And before I could answer, hot tears rolled down my cheeks all over again. I could scarcely get out the words. “Because I want to help others.”

Because I want to help others. I let that truth wash over me.

And I remembered back to how it all began. And I found my way back to the heart of the “why” of it all.

I felt God had given me the idea for the book, called me to write it, and I wanted to do so in order to be obedient to that call. {Putting acting on hold wasn’t necessarily my first choice in life direction.} I wanted to share my story with others. God’s Story with others. I wanted to help other people with their own journey. I felt it was an important story to tell. I felt it was one I had to share. One that I couldn’t not write.

I still do.

Clay helped me see I had let all the other details–the much less important details–overshadow the most important one, the true reason I am actually writing the book.

It’s not about becoming a famous writer. It’s not about how much money I might make. It’s about helping others. My doubts had merely clouded my true vision. My doubts and my sin, that is.

And yet even as we pulled into that driveway and those doubts began to surface, I thought to a quote I’d read the other day when cleaning up my desk:

Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith. – Elisabeth Elliot

It’s amazing how even in the midst of the abyss of darkness and doubt, God’s Truth is able to break through a crack and shine its light.

The truth is: God has planted this idea within me. God has called me into a season of writing this book. I have been planting the seeds of this book for months and months now in faith. And yet Satan would love nothing more than for me to dig up all that I have planted in doubt.

There’s a saying I love that my sister-in-law has printed on a t-shirt that goes a little something like this:

Not today, Satan.

Not today. Not this year.

. . .

This morning I awoke, rested, with fresh ideas spoken to me from God for my book, and with a fresh determination to continue planting and watering and tending to this calling in faith.

I poured some coffee, turned on the fire, cozied up with a blanket and opened up my She Reads Truth study on Moses that I am about a week into. And lo and behold, today’s lesson included the following passage from Hebrews:

By faith, after Moses was born, he was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin. For he considered the reproach because of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention was on the reward. But faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees Him who is invisible. By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites. {Hebrews 11:23-28}

By faith. By faith. By faith.

Not in doubt, but by faith.

Not in fear, but by faith.

{I mean, okay Moses did have fears and doubts at times, but he was truly a man who acted obediently in faith and by faith.}

By faith I write this book. By faith I scale this mountain. By faith I crawl out of this darkness. And oh, how God leads me with such crisp, twinkling lights.

The next little light He shined? From a book called The Artist’s Way.

It’s one that has been floating around my bookshelf for oh, you know, about the last six years or so. An old acting coach suggested we read it. And well, maybe God had been saving it for when I really needed it, or as Mordecai tells Esther, “for such a time as this.”

In the intro chapter I read today, author Julia Cameron writes,

It is my experience both as an artist and as a teacher that when we move out on faith into the act of creation, the universe is able to advance.

On faith.

By faith.

Think God is trying to tell me something? Is He trying to tell you something?

What is it that you long to create this year? Whether it is a book, a film, a business, a family, or a myriad of other possibilities, our desire to create is one that has been planted in us at the start of Creation by a creative God who made us in His very image. After all, the very first thing God did was create.

In the beginning, God created. {Genesis 1:1}

And yet we must approach them with care and intentionality and surrender because when The Fall happened, our good desire to create was twisted and tainted by sin.

As Adam and Eve ate that fruit and their sin led to shame and blame, to fear and hiding, and by Genesis 6 “all the world had corrupted their ways,” so our own ways have been corrupted, our own creative desires have been tainted by selfish ambition and vain conceit.

We must continually check in with our motives, desires, and driving reasons to create. We must continually plant in faith, by faith, on faith.

And we must stop comparing ourselves to other’s stories and paths of creation.

Cameron writes,

“How do you know if you are creatively blocked? Jealousy is an excellent clue.”

I’m guilty of being jealous of others, of their creations, of their success, of their following… And then I am slacked jawed at the Psalm that I “happened” to read just prior to opening up this chapter that says this:

But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve of their sayings. Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feel on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. {Psalm 49:12-15}

Creating out of obedience to God is not about an end result that can be measured by this world, but by an act of faith that is honoring to Him.

In a world that tells us otherwise, we need constant reminders of this Truth.

Cameron lists out some truths to recite to yourself regarding creativity. Among others,

  • Stop telling yourself, “It’s too late.”
  • Stop telling yourself that dreams don’t matter, that they are only dreams and that you should be more sensible.
  • Stop fearing that your family and friends would think you’re crazy.

If God has planted the seed in you, tend to it in faith and He will take care of the rest. In His timing. It’s not up to us to have all the answers at the start. It’s up to us to take that first step. Martin Luther King says:

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Cameron continues,

“As you learn to recognize, nurture, and protect your inner artist, you will be able to move beyond pain and creative constriction… Damaging old ideas about creativity will be explored and discarded… The experience will make you excited, depressed, angry, afraid, joyous, hopeful, and, ultimately, more free.”

Answering the call of creativity is sure to be an emolicoaster. {Emotional rollercoaster}. But God is sure to be there, shining His light, each step of the way.

Cameron describes The Artist’s Way as “a spiral path.” She says, “You will circle through some of the issues over and over, each time at a different level. There is no such thing as being done with the artistic life. Frustrations and rewards exist at all levels on the path. Our aim here is to find the trail, establish our footing, and begin the climb.”

If you draw a spiral you’ll find your pen must go backwards in order to continue the trajectory forwards, over and over, around and around.

When we feel like life is spinning, let’s remember God is merely penning the spiral that is our life, getting us closer to Him, more near to His path, to His calling, to a life founded in and on Him.

When we find ourselves standing before that mountain, let’s remember that while when we make it to the top God will be brought glory, but that in the meantime He’s very much concerned with the journey. And it’s in the journey where He is brought just as much glory.

Cameron continues, “We begin to excavate our buried dreams.” And she speaks of how this is not always the most delightful process. She writes that “we must undergo a time of mourning.” And she says that, “Our tears prepare the ground for our future growth.”

The Enemy would love nothing more than for us to bury the creative dreams God has planted within us. He would love nothing more than for the despair we feel and the tears we cry to paralyze us from answering His call. But our God is a God who wastes nothing, who brings beauty from ashes, growth from that which feels barren.

What if every tear you cry will seed the ground where joy will grow? {Jason Gray, Nothing is Wasted}

In the hands of our Redeemer, nothing is wasted. The Gospel is a redemption Story. Your life is a redemption story. My life is a redemption story. And in all great redemption stories, the main character, the hero, rises up from the ashes and walks a path of new beauty, overcomes all the oppression and difficulties and trials and mistakes and burdens and moves on to create something great with their lives.


He brings us from fear to freedom.

From paralyzing fear to limitless freedom.

Books and people are great sources of truth and reminders of it. But one thing is constant: God’s Word.

Just this morning in my faith-based Anchored Press planner for today was the verse,

“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” {Hebrews 4:12 ESV}

And the advice underneath?

You  know that friend you turn to, who gives you the best advice? Well, imagine having her with you at all times–no phone call, email or text necessary. And now imagine that she gave you infallible advice? You have that in God’s Word. You don’t have to look further than your Bible to guide you through your life.

Praise God for that.

I’m grateful for the truth my husband speaks, for the ways in which He points me back to my Savior when my spiral has gotten stuck down that path to the left. But I don’t need to rely on Him for it.

God has given us His Word. It’s His way of being our constant companion on this crazy, messy, and beautiful journey called life.

Praise Him. Glory be to Him who brings us out of the darkness and into the light. Who brings us out of despair and into hope. Who brings us out of chaos and into peace. Who brings us out of slavery and into freedom. Who brings us out of the grave and into the fullest of life–both now on this earth and eternally with Him.

As I soaked in all God revealed to me today, I lay on the couch like a corpse–a posturing of surrender, of dying to myself, my will, my sin, so that I may be raised to walk in the newness of life, in His light, with His will, His righteousness, His vision and direction and heart and purpose.

Praise be to Him who brings us out of our selves, into the great unknown, to walk in faith, by faith.

Praise be to the One who brings us out of all our “in betweens” and into infinite new beginnings.

As we go about our day, entering into this new week and new year would we breath deeply and recite this truth:

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is with her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. – Psalm 46:2-5

I can see God so clearly speaking to me from all these different angles, bringing it all together like the spokes of a wheel that will carry me through this journey, out of the dark abyss of the middle and into a new beginning of clarity and direction.

I had this epiphany this morning, that all that I am writing about–how God’s Great Story mirrors our desire for a love story in our lives, and all that I am experiencing now as a writer–how I feel like I am stuck in this middle place, in this “in between” the calling I have heard and the completion of the assignment, is all mirroring that same journey… of the gospel, of the book I am writing, of how I feel right now.

In the middle of God’s Story and in the middle of my book is Redemption. And redemption requires both a crucifixion and a resurrection.

I feel as if today God was showing me that I am in this very “redemption section,” that He is breaking me down, getting to the heart of why I am writing this book, having me die to self and sinful desires of selfish gain and proving myself and self-worth and all that garbage, to get back to the heart of why I want to write this book, of that first spark, of that desire of wanting to help others.

All the things I worry about–money, significance, producing something, recognition, success, the ability to have this book published, figuring out who might even read it–all these things are just details and unimportant ones in light of the heart of why God has given me this calling and why I have and am answering it.

And so I strip away the distractions, the muck. And I tend and water that garden that holds those seeds which I have planted. In faith.


This year I’m starting out each day in gratitude. Today as I wrote things I was grateful for, the lyrics “You are faithful; God you are faithful” came to mind repeatedly.

He is faithful. He was faithful to Moses and the Israelites. He was faithful to so many in the stories of the Bible. And He’s the same faithful God today. Scripture tells us God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thanks be to Him for this great faithfulness. For this great grace. For all these things we don’t deserve.

For His presence, His callings, and His carrying through.

Sometimes things take longer than we want. Sometimes in the midst of it we can’t see what He’s doing. Just like the Israelites in the desert for 40 years, or during the ten plagues when they were still stuck in Egypt… Just like sometimes we feel like we are in that movie scene, stuck, lost, the world spinning around us so we can’t see…

And that’s when He calls us to be still. To be quiet. And it’s then that He slows the spinning, that He brings the madness to a halt, that He opens our eyes to His Word, His Truth, His unending love, His great and lasting and enduring faithfulness.

It’s then that He allows us to continue on planting in faith.

It’s then that He allows us to begin to truly scale the mountain before us.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *