This morning I was pondering what I have to be thankful for, this being the time of year especially dedicated to remembering our blessings. One thing came out on top of the list: Monument Ridge, the mesa on the side of which rests our home.
When we moved here 12 year ago, our first family walk along its top resulted in little Nebs fastidiously picking up the many quartz that lay strewn on the ground until our pockets bulged. Since then, we have loved and used Monument Ridge for many reasons; sleeping under the stars, worshiping God together, taking walks to unwind, watching the full moon on smokey nights during fire season, building monuments with friends (from whence the ridge received its name), a proposal spot for friends to become engaged, and so many other things...
Perhaps 6 or 7 years ago, its primary use in our lives changed when some of us began daily using it for a quiet place out in nature to pray. Over the years, more of us began to use it for that same purpose, until a small path was beaten into the side of the mountain, made by the feet of young people on a quest for God.
This morning I went up there again, camera in hand, and took these pictures of the view along the length of the mesa. My thoughts trailed back over the past 3 years especially. During those years I’ve been up there in nearly every external and internal condition possible. I’ve walked in the burning heat, in biting cold, in wind, rain, mud, snow, and when the sun-baked earth cracked for need of moisture. I've been up there in the early morning, during all hours of the day, and had to run its near mile length for home as darkness gathered after sunset.
And as for internal conditions, I’ve been up there during the happiest moments of my life, when songs of praise have not been able to express the joy within me, as well as when tears rained down for a mile. I’ve pled for neighbors, friends, family, strangers, orphans, slaves, authorities, nations, and most of all for my own heart so much in need of divine grace, along its paths. I’ve been up there in peace and in turmoil, in weariness and energy; to thank God for dreams come true, or to hand Him the pieces of shattered ones; been up there asking for guidance, or to commit to tread the path laid out for me; and the list goes on, with the accumulated memories of hours of prayer throughout the journey of years...
As I slowly walked the same path this morning (I nearly always walk exactly the same route every time I’m up there), I drank it in with different eyes. Memories flooded through my mind. Most of the time I’m up there with a mission, my mind far too full to absorb the beauty or recollect the past. Today, I looked around me, and remembered. And for the first time in quite a while I realized how much I have to be thankful for in that massive mound of rock covered with dirt, trees, and grasses. Up there my relationship with God took deep root during the most pivotal years of my experience. And not just mine; my sibs could easily say something similar...
And so today, I’m thankful for a ridge... Or better said the God that has been so loving as to listen to me up there.
Do you have a place and time for prayer? If you do, I know you can relate to me. If not, by all means get a spot and make the time, my friend. Come next Thanksgiving you’ll be singing hosannas too.
And yes, that's home down there. :)