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My friends and I usually do really cool things on our birthdays. As we’ve gotten older, we really try to enjoy our youth and exclusivity, if you will :). Let’s see…in 2014 we went to Jacksonville Beach. 2015 gave us an extremely memorable cruise to Mexico (extremely lol). 2016, one birthday was spent kayaking and another in Puerto Rico where I slept the entire time. Kicking off 2017, one of my friends wanted to go hiking to a waterfall, so we went!
Our journey started by leaving Greenville, South Carolina and traveling northwest to Jones Gap State Park. When we (my friend Kristen and her 2 sisters) got there, we had to wait to get inside because there was limited parking. So, we waited an hour or so. We commenced on our journey taking countless selfies along the way. I had a full breakfast, a probiotic, multivitamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B and an Iron pill plus was drinking a ton of water. I say that because I am not athletic by nature and certainly not on purpose–I was bouncing and skipping all over. I’m also very curious and adventurous, so if there was a spot that enticed danger…I walked towards it. I’ve got a lot of Simba in me, “I laugh in the face of danger”… favorite movie, sorry *eye roll*. I was jumping over boulders and even saved us from a spider! (I’ll do something death defying, but when it comes to arachnids…eh no….no bueno.)
It was such a beautiful day outside. Only the mountainous breeze, birds and the flowing waters from the Middle Saluda River. The scenery from the valley and the surrounding mountains were absolutely breathtaking. So….we’ve hiked seemingly for an hour or so and then we hit the incline. Oh. My. God. From our starting point, Rainbow Falls is only 2.2 miles…it felt like 22 miles! That energy I had? Gone. That anticipation? Disappeared. Seniors with dogs made it up and back down before we made it halfway (lol). We were passing by sooo many people who were coming down.
Us: How much longer? Are we there yet?
Them: You’re almost there…keep going. Don’t give up.
And then we hike some more. Break even more. We didnt hear the water anymore. Signaling we were getting further away. At one point, we went the wrong way until the we noticed the trail disappeared!
It was so strenuous.
Again. We ask more people coming down. “You’re almost there, it will be so worth it when you see the waterfall.” We stopped at one point chatting with a mother-daughter duo that were having an even harder time than us. We hike. We hear the water. We see water leaking from the walls of rocks…We. Are. Close. Next thing we knew…there it was. Rainbow Falls.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5: 3-5
It was so beautiful. We had to skip over a few rocks to get it to it. We took a ton of pictures. Again, I take a leap and go deep to fill my bottle of water. Fresh, untainted water is where it’s at! So pure.
Then we talked to another duo who was waiting for their women. And i’m like, “oh, I think we passed them, maybe they’re on the way” and from around the corner, there they were. Counted out, but they made it. And as I mentioned, my friends are siblings, so I felt a
little lot left out while they were taking their sibling selfies. I wandered off to a huge flat rock and was so consumed with the beauty and the atmosphere, yet I still felt alone. In that moment, I felt a breeze and a voice saying to me “I’m with you”. Next thing, i’m passed out on the rock. Who could not have rest in His presence?
We stayed up for about 45 minutes and hiked back down, continuing the cycle of encouraging and empowering everyone in our path.
- God is in control. Only a creator and innovator could have molded this earth. From the granite, pure water, the ambience of peace. His spirit lives in nature as much as it does in us.
- No matter how hard the journey, God will send us a messenger, an encourager, a friend. You’ve got more people rooting for you than you know.
- When we are stripped of our pride and position, when we humble ourselves in the presence of majesty, we can feel His presence. Actually hear Him.
- Everything we need is in His presence.
Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our lives that we don’t take time out for ourselves. Most of us certainly don’t get outdoors to appreciate the garden we’ve been given. We need to unplug and we should do it often. I did, I do and I will continue to do so. I want more of His presence, to see His creations near and far. Through nature, God is able to teach us, speak to us, and provide for us.
I’ve been so congested with figuring things out, waiting, wanting, trying to be obedient…it’s been heavy,
almost. Nope, has been. I’m trying to obtain God’s best because mediocrity is not an option. Best isn’t easy and best isn’t swift. Best takes work. Pressing. Hiking up a mountain. Taking up your own cross, DAILY. We will only be successful by surrendering to the process. Enduring the process. Will it be easy? NO! But you have people near and far rooting for you. If we focus on our problems and issues (and not finishing the hike and strenuosity) we will not finish.
“Don’t you yet understand? Don’t you know by now that the everlasting God, the Creator of the farthest parts of the earth, never grows faint or weary? No one can fathom the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
God is going to give you the instructions to get the fullness out of your situation. He wants to pour His spirit out on you so these other things don’t weigh you down. Griping and complaining weakens you and empowers your flesh. We’ll only get to our waterfall if we
“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10