Sep 7, 2013 - Inspirations    2 Comments

The Mountain Speaks

Three in the morning is an ungodly hour to wake up and do anything!  Who in her right mind would jump out of a perfectly comfortable bed in the middle of the night, lace up hiking boots, strap a light to her head and start walking up a mountain?!   Yep, you got it.  Me!  For those of you who were teetering, you now can confirm the fact that I am certifiably a bit ‘off’.

My climbing partner, Dr. Juli Slattery, is a graduate of P90X, a runner who works out regularly and she is a veteran of climbing Pike’s Peak.  I had climbed a Fourteener (the term used for a mountain over 14,000 feet high) a decade ago when my lungs were younger and my legs were used for more than going up and down stairs to do laundry.  Though my partner and the mountain seemed several categories above my half-century old body, I knew the mountain was calling.

PP SunriseWe were on the trail by 4:30am, our lights shining only as far as our next footstep.  Our conversation remained steady through the wooded trail as Juli led the way.  After two hours of walking, the eastern horizon turned bright magenta – a color only God can paint.  Just as He promises every day, the sun rose bringing light to the trail.PP sunrise2

I wasn’t gasping for breath nearly as much as I had anticipated and the forest ended up hearing a rather candid, animated conversation between two deep-thinking, spiritual women seeking to speak and live for God’s glory.  We had been walking on a real-life inclined treadmill for over 3 hours and I only felt a little tension in my right hip.  It is funny how deep conversation eases the pain and makes the trail seem easier.

Half way up Pike’s Peak we stopped at a cozy little cabin respite called Barr Camp.  After almost 4 hours on the trail, I ate the best tasting protein bar of my life and the cup of coffee offered by the camp host soothed and awakened us at the same time.  The short rest invigorated my legs and I was ready to tackle the top of the mountain.  Juli had warned me that the last two miles were a grind but to just keep going and the view from the top and the sense of accomplishment would all be worth it.  I believed her…so we climbed.PP2

Several points along the twisting trail allowed us opportunities to look back and see how far we had come.  The city of Colorado Springs sprawled out below us and the lush beauty of the vast green forest mixed with red granite was a sight I will never forget.  We also saw vistas of the awesomeness of how far we still had to go.  After all this walking, a huge mountain still loomed before us and the hospitable shade of the forest now gave way to a bare landscape where trees do not grow and very little oxygen exists.

PP1

With ten miles behind us and only three to go, I looked up and said, ‘Crap!  What have I gotten myself into?’ I debated walking ten miles back down instead of reaching within to find the strength to climb this mountain.  It was then that I started to pray!

Lord I need You now.  You know I don’t have what it takes in my own strength to get to the top of this mountain.  I want to quit!  I want to stop here and call it good.  Isn’t this enough?!

The Lord was silent.

 

I was thankful for Juli’s bright pink shirt so I could still see her in the distance.  I used what breath remained in my lungs to yell at her,  ‘If I wasn’t so nice, I would say ‘I hate you’.”

PP Juli

She chuckled back and encouraged me, “You can do it!”

I passed a sign that said ‘Pike’s Peak – 2 miles’ and I realized I had gone the last mile on willpower, a little water and a lot of prayer.

The black clouds now starting to roll over the Peak were extra incentive to try to force the non-existent oxygen into my numb legs.  This quite possibly could be the worst two miles of my life!   I yelled ahead to Juli, “I want to swear…but I won’t.”  She assured me it was ok to swear but throwing off my old life, I screamed ‘SWEET JESUS!’ instead.  Prayer sustained me as I continued to cry out for strength I did not have.

With a little less than 2 miles, uphill and over boulders, I realized I literally could not go more than 30 to 40 feet at a time without stopping to breathe in and allow my heart to pump oxygen to my weary muscles.  Only with these short but frequent rests could I continue to put one foot in front of the other and make it to the top of this mountain.  During one of these rests, God finally spoke…

 You need me Kathy.  Like the air in your lungs, you need Me.  It is only when you stop to rest that I can breathe My life in you so you can take your next steps.  Rest and be prepared.”

 Thunder cracked in the distance.  “Ok Lord!  Lesson learned.  Now please get me to the top of this mountain before I am fried by lightening!”

Lightheaded from lack of oxygen, I passed a rusted sign that I swore said ‘16 Golden Steps’.  Anticipating 16 strategically placed rocks, I stopped counting after crawling over 25 boulders and wanted to put a curse on the person who lied and is telling people there are only 16!  Two men passed me like mountain goats and said, ‘Only 300 feet to the top.  You can do it!’ This encouraged me until I realized they meant 300 vertical feet which equalled at least 6 more switchbacks.

Stop.  Breathe.  Breathe.  The miraculous ‘thump, thump’ of my heart carried life blood to a body too weary to move.  All I could do was put one foot in front of the other until I was farther up the trail.

Stop.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Thump, thump.  Move.

pp4

Stop.  Breathe. Breathe. Thump, thump.  Move.

One foot in from of the other, one step at a time.

In a daze I looked up and saw a small woman in a bright pink shirt waving at me from  the now reachable Peak.  I smiled as Juli beckoned me up the last few feet of the trail.  I saw tourists who had arrived by sensible means such as a car or the Cog Railway and though they looked much fresher that me, I was sorry that they did not feel the same sense of accomplishment as us.  Juli met me with a hug and said “You did it!”  I saw the view from the top of the mountain and I smiled.  I was still in pain…but I smiled.  We did it Lord!

Thunder cracked and the first hail hit just as we entered the Pike’s Peak Welcome Center.  I sent a text to my husband and told him the climb was REALLY hard but I was at the top and still alive.  I’ll forever treasure the message he sent back…

Great accomplishments are never intended to be easy.

 The next day I climbed a different kind of mountain.  Juli recorded 3 podcast interviews with me on different subjects and God allowed me a chance to stop and see my life, to look back and see how far I have come.  What I saw behind me was ugly but is now painted in beautiful colors only God can create.  He took every step with me and speaks with love and encouragement as I raise my eyes to see the rest of the mountain.

Stop.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Thump, thump.  Move.

Stop.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Thump, thump.  Move.

The path ahead will not be easy – but then again being a warrior for the Lord has never been easy.  I accept Your invitation to climb.

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 29, 2013 - Fear    20 Comments

In God I Trust…

In his book ‘The Wild Goose Chase’, Mark Batterson says: 

“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.” 

Wow!  Isn’t that how most people live?  We can so fear being uncomfortable that we never go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.  I believe our own self-imposed fear may be the greatest barrier to experiencing the fullness of God and more importantly, developing an intimate relationship with Him and others.

As a life coach, I help my clients overcome fear as they accomplish goals and move forward toward their purpose.   The coaching relationship often uncovers fears which have been hidden for years… fears that keep a person tied to bondage and insecurity.

Fear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Top 5 fears I coach around:

                               1. Abandonment –the fear of being alone

                               2. Unworthiness – the fear that we don’t matter

                               3. Rejection – the fear of not being loved

                               4. Failure – the fear of not being significant

                               5. Being out of control – not trusting others, including God

 

These 5 fears will lie to us and say we can never move beyond what a condition, an event, a person or the world has said we can be.  Paralyzing fear not only keeps us stuck, it is a silent assassin…a killer of dreams, passion, love, freedom and excitement.   Fear wants to steal our joy and perpetuate a mediocre, ho-hum, boring life.    But John 10:10 says Jesus has come to give us life and give it to the full!  May fear no longer keep us from our God-given purpose!

Overcoming any paralyzing fear is a call to personal bravery as we learn to trust in the God who promised He would never leave or forsake us.  God wants to show Himself mighty over our weakness so we learn to depend on Him.  Courage is not found in perfection and control – rather it is found in surrender, submission and release.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid. 

                                                                     Ps 56:3,4

Courage, even more than being an act of bravery, is trust in God and the power of the Spirit in us, trusting in His plan and not ours.  Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the presence of trust.

 

 

 

 

Mar 2, 2012 - Inspirations    No Comments

The Art of Waiting

Wait. Don’t you just hate that word sometimes? In our fast-paced society full of fast-food restaurants, drive through ATMs, high-speed internet connections, text messaging and microwave ovens, even ‘instant’ pudding seems slow these days. I think the ‘art of waiting’ is being totally lost on us and our culture as we expect immediate results and become more and more impatient with processes that just take time.

There is nothing ‘instant’ about finding purpose in life. It may take time to delve deep into your thoughts and find where your passions lie. As the world around us goes faster and faster it becomes harder and harder to slow ourselves down and allow patience for anything. We can even be impatient about waiting for our future to happen. We want it all NOW! The younger the woman the more ‘presto’ she expects her world to be because that is the only world she has ever known. But when something comes up which forces her to wait, she finally begins to realize some things just take good ‘old-fashioned’ time.

Waiting doesn’t mean we just sit around and watch TV, twiddling our thumbs until our problems are solved. Not at all! Waiting is hard work and it takes conscious, intelligent effort! Some of the hardest waiting we will ever do is waiting on God. We never know how long we have to wait on Him which is what makes it seem agonizing! We can’t just ‘click’ a button and force God to make things happen in life and that can be so frustrating! David knew of God’s promises that lay on the other side of the wait and in Psalm 27 he wrote:

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

The art of waiting means we can begin to rest in knowing…some of the best things in life take courage and patience as we wait and give it a bit more time.

We have all used the word ‘perseverance’ but what does that really mean? Is it just rolling our eyes instead of swearing as we patiently wait for a slow internet connection? Is it not giving in to the temptation to honk our horn at the old lady who sits through a green light ahead of us? Is it being kind to the 16 year old kid at McDonalds despite the fact that it took more than 4 minutes to get our Big Mac and fries? Ummmm…no! Perseverance indicates endurance in relation to circumstances which may not be pleasant and may last a while. It also means to ‘remain under’, ‘bearing up under’ and my favorite ‘a quality of character that does not allow one to succumb under trial.’ Sometimes we may have to persevere for longer than we would like. Some things just take time.

Perseverance is often a quality which is necessary in order to stick with the process of overcoming anything. Perseverance may come naturally but most often, it is learned through the heat of trials. A woman might have to persevere through loneliness, isolation and fear. She may have to persevere through relationship struggles or feelings of extreme frustration, unworthiness and failure. Sometimes it is necessary to persevere through opening old wounds and allowing them to heal again. Then there is the perseverance while going through physical pain while battling untruths that make you want to give up. We may have to persevere for months or it may take years. Sometimes it may seem to be taking forever, but you must know…sometimes it just takes a little more time.

It seems crazy doesn’t it? I mean come on! To most people this ‘persevering’ stuff looks like lunacy! Wouldn’t it be easier just to give up than to put yourself through the torture of waiting? What could possibly drive the mind of a woman to persevere?

The answer is hope! Hope is not just wishing to get something we would like to obtain. The hope of a woman who perseveres through fiery trials runs deep. This deeper hope is the concept of a positive outlook toward an expected end! The main underlying factor toward this type of hope is belief…belief in your goal, belief in yourself and a belief there is a Strength deep within you to help you through.

“But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Perseverance. Character. Hope. Patience. Belief. Strength. All positive attributes – and all produced through the art of waiting. Some things just take time.

Waiting can be hard, it can be very hard! But with the right attitude, the art of waiting can teach us many of life’s toughest lessons in the process. That is if we let it.

I hope you all make the most of your time.

Mar 2, 2012 - Inspirations    No Comments

The Wall

Picture your life as a journey and you are on a road that has been chosen just for you.  The road winds and turns and goes up hills and down hills.  Sometimes it is pleasant and warm and other times a cold wind can be whipping across your path.  There are potholes and hurdles and obstacles that block the road but you take them in stride and somehow find the strength to get past each one and keep moving forward.  Sometimes there are detours taking us on circuitous routes but
you still seem to end up farther on your journey than you were before.

Then one day you come to a wall.  It looms ominously before you, casting a shadow right in the path you know you are to follow.  There you stand, shivering and cold below the wall, staring up wondering how you can ever pass.
There are no detours, no holes in the wall and no doors to pass through.  The options are few; either climb the wall or take it apart brick by brick.  The task seems immense but you realize there is no other way.

I may be dating myself here, but I’d like to share the lyrics to a song that helped me identify one of the walls in my life.  It was written in the late 1970’s and was made famous by the rock group “Kansas”.  If you get a chance to listen to it I encourage you to do so but the lyrics alone are powerful enough and speak for themselves.

 The Wall by Kansas 

I’m woven in a fantasy, I can’t believe the things I see

The path that I have chosen now has led me to a wall

And with each passing day I feel a little more like something dear was lost

It rises now before me, a dark and silent barrier between

All I am and all that I would ever want to be

It’s just a travesty, towering

Marking off the boundaries my Spirit would erase.

To pass beyond is what I seek

I fear that I may be too weak

And those are few who’ve seen it through to glimpse the other side

The Promised-land is waiting like a maiden who is soon to be a bride

The moment is a masterpiece, the weight of indecision’s in the air

It’s standing there, the symbol and the sum of all that’s me

It’s just a travesty, towering

Blocking out the light and blinding me

I want to see.

Gold and diamonds cast a spell

It’s not for me I know it well

The treasures that I seek are waiting on the other side

There’s more that I can measure in the treasure of the Love that I can find

And though it’s always been with me

I must tear down the wall and let it be

All I am and all that I was ever meant to be

In harmony

Shining true and smiling back at all who wait to cross

There is no loss.

Oh yes, I have had “walls” in my life and to tell you the truth there were many times I would just bump into the wall and turn around and walk away because I didn’t want to face it.  I walked backward on my path trying to find a detour around this wall but every time I was led right back to it and had to face the wall all over again.  How frustrating!  I just wanted it gone but it stayed there until I faced the reality of having to climb it, or take it apart brick by brick.

The bricks in our walls can be mortared together with various cement such as bitterness, guilt, depression, failure, shame, frustration or loneliness.  The wall itself can take on the guise of a new job, marriage, divorce, an illness, going back to school, a hard relationship, buying a house, having children, addiction….and the list goes on.  So what does your wall look like?  Is it too tall to even see the top?  Does it seem like you are doomed to forever live on the cold side of the wall?  Some of you may be in various stages of tearing down your wall while others are still standing at the bottom in it’s shadow looking up and wondering how it can ever be tackled.  Whatever stage you are at, I pray you will have the strength to get beyond this barrier and see the light shining through on the other side.  As long as you are continuing forward…there is no loss.

There is one other aspect I’ve learned about tearing down walls:  it is a little easier when you have friends to help you.  The support of a Life Coach working beside you will help take some of the load off as you remove those bricks.  Some days will be harder than others but at least you know that when the wall finally tumbles down you will have a friend to cheer you on.  That in itself is very encouraging to know. One-by-one…brick-by-brick…step-by-step…freedom can be found.
And thanks be to Jesus who lays His cross down over the rubble in the path of our life so we can use it as a bridge to walk from our past to our future.

Mar 2, 2012 - Inspirations    No Comments

The Awakening

A while back I received an email that  touched my heart deeply.  It awakened questions in me that had been laying dormant my whole life.  Questions like:

  • When is enough ‘ENOUGH’!?

  • Is there a ‘happily ever after’?

  • Where can security truly be found?

  • Am I living a life of integrity?

  • Is it ok to say ‘no’?

  • Can I live a thankful life?

  • Am I a woman of courage?

This email just showed up in my inbox one  day and helped me change the way I viewed life.  I have no idea who wrote this piece and therefore I have no author to thank so I will direct my thanks toward heaven and give praise to the Author who provides all the information we will ever need.  I hope you enjoy ‘The Awakening’.

The Awakening 

A time comes in every woman’s life when in the midst of her fears and insanity she stops fighting, avoiding and struggling and cries out, “Enough!”  And when she blinks back the tears, she sees the world through new eyes.  This…is her Awakening.

She now comes to terms with the fact that any guarantee of ‘happily ever after’ must begin with her and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. She learns the importance of loving and championing herself and in the process a sense of new-found confidence is born of self-worth.

 She learns to stop complaining, judging and blaming and she stands on her own to take care of herself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of reliance on God.

She realizes that the view she had of herself and the world is the result of the messages and opinions that society ingrained into her psyche.  She begins to open up to new worlds, fresh ideas and different points of view as she allows herself grace and begins to redefine who she is by who she was made to be.

She learns that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which she builds her life.  She learns to set boundaries and to stop working so hard at putting her feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring her needs.  She learns that she alone is in control of her body and that it is a temple to be cared for and treated with respect and dignity. She begins to believe that life was meant
to be lived in abundance and when she asks, she’ll truly receive.  She learns that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.  She learns to achieve success she needs direction, discipline and perseverance and that it is ok to risk asking for help.  She learns the only thing she must truly fear is the loss of faith in her Sovereign Hope.  She begins to step into and through her fears because she learns the Power within her provides courage born of faith.

She learns to be thankful and to take comfort in the many simple things she used to take for granted.  Slowly, she begins to take responsibility for her life and she makes herself a promise to never settle for less than her heart’s desire.  She makes it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, to stay strong and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.  Finally, with courage in her heart and God by her side, she takes a deep breath and begins to live the life she was meant to live.

Being honest with yourself might just be one of the hardest things you ever do but asking the hard questions and answering truthfully can bring you to incredible places of new insight.  May you have the courage to ask the tough stuff as you overcome your fears and put into practice the Freedom Steps that will define your future.  Welcome…to your Awakening.

(The original content of “The Awakening” has been shortened and edited)

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