Climbing the Mountain like a Turtle

She opened the front door and stepped outside. The bright sun caused her to squint as she closed the door behind her. It was hot – too hot to be outside. Good thing she was heading to her car instead of starting her dreaded daily walk around the neighborhood. She had only taken a step or two when something small caught her eye. A box turtle? What was a box turtle doing on her front patio? And this one appeared to be a baby! She stopped to watch it as she contemplated whether she needed to rescue it or not. Where would be a good place to relocate it? As she watched, it began to move quickly towards a nearby bush.

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The turtle, tired of the hot, rough sidewalk, hurried towards some shade she had glimpsed from across the patio.

I’m like this turtle, she thought. Sometimes my life is as uncomfortable as this hot, rough sidewalk, and all I want to do is cross over it to get to somewhere more comfortable.

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What’s this? She wasn’t expecting such a high barrier of large rocks. They hadn’t looked this big from the other side of the patio. Would she really have to climb these rocks?

Yep, she thought. Always something to block me from what I want. And it’s usually just as daunting as these rocks appear to this turtle.

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If she wanted to reach the shade, yes, she would have to climb these rocks. Resigned, she began climbing.

She thought of the mountains in her life. If she wanted a better marriage, if she wanted a healthier weight, if she wanted a cleaner house, if she wanted a closer relationship with her God, she would have to climb mountains to get to them. Mountains as high and hard and difficult as what the turtle was facing. Did she have the same determination as the turtle to start climbing?

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At first it was kind of easy. “This is not so bad,” she thought. But before long, she felt her balance shifting.

Isn’t that the truth, she thought. Mountains are always so deceiving. They start off easy, but soon, too soon, they have a way of throwing you off balance. Mountains are never that easy.

 

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Oh no! The weight of her shell was pulling her backwards. She was going to fall! In an attempt to stop the backwards momentum, she stretched out all she had, including her neck.

She thought of rock climbers. They never got off balance. Did they? Why not? So what made this turtle get off balance? It was the weight of what it carried on its back. That’s it! It’s the weight of my baggage that makes climbing mountains so hard, she thought excitedly. If I got rid of the baggage – stuff I drag with me from my past, stuff I refuse to let go of because I think I need it – I wouldn’t be losing my balance all the time. And whatever I left behind, God could replace. Right? But… she thought about the turtle shell. The turtle couldn’t just leave its shell behind, could it? The shell was too much a part of it. Just like there were some things she was incapable of leaving behind herself. She watched closely to see how the turtle was going to handle this problem, sensing it would also be an answer for her.

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It worked! She was no longer falling backwards, but she was also not moving forwards. She stretched out her neck even more, giving it everything she had.

Ahh, she thought. The turtle, although it couldn’t take off its shell, did have something with which to counter the balance problem. Its neck! It stuck out its neck! It let itself be vulnerable in order to try to save itself. Isn’t that what Jesus wants us to do – become vulnerable? To open our hearts to Him? To stick out necks, so to speak, in faith, towards others? To love others even when they don’t love us back? To give to those who ask even if it hurts?  But, she wondered, was it going to work?

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Yea! Her shell slowly righted itself and she was back on her feet. Should she go back? This climb was dangerous. She couldn’t have fallen off and landed on her back, not able to move. Besides, all she could see was the rock wall she was climbing. She couldn’t see over the top of those rocks. Was there really shade up there? Or had she just imagined it?

Relief and amazement flooded through her. The turtle was OK. It didn’t fall. It was safe. Or was it? Why wasn’t it moving? Did it change its mind? That’s what she usually did when the way got hard. Insecurities, questions, doubts, and fears all seemed to stop her from getting to the top each time. And each time she was stopped, she returned to the bottom where it was easier. Would the turtle do the same?

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She decided to trust her vision. The possible shade was worth the work and danger of this climb. Deciding to keep her neck out for balance, she began climbing once again.

Nope, the turtle didn’t give up. It knew what it had seen and it wanted it more than it wanted the ease of the sidewalk. That’s what I need to do, she thought. God gives me visions of what’s up there. I need to trust Him and just keep climbing no matter how hard it gets.

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Finally she could see her goal ahead of her. Yes! The shade was real! Excited now, she began to move a little faster.

She was surprised at the envy she felt as the turtle entered the shade. There was shade available in her own life. Promises God had given her. All she had to do was climb the mountain to get there. So why was she envious of a turtle? Maybe because that turtle was more committed than she was?  Maybe because that turtle had more faith than she did? Or maybe because the turtle wanted it more than she did? She knew this turtle had given her a lot to think about.

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She had done it! Here was the promised shade, where she could rest and maybe even catch something to eat. Was the climb worth it? Oh yeah!

Goodbye, little turtle, she thought as she walked away. Thank you for teaching me something I needed to learn today. Maybe someday I’ll make it to the top of one of my mountains just like you did.

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

Their loud cries disturbed her peaceful soak in the pool. Opening her eyes, she watched as two young girls, maybe around seven years old, fought over a doll and a plastic cup of small toy ice cream cones.

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“No!”

“I need the cup!”

“No, it’s my turn!”

“Give me the baby!”

“Ask for it!”

“Give it to me!”

“No, ask for it!”

“Give it!”

The exchange went back and forth but wasn’t getting anywhere as one girl held the toys out of reach of the second girl. Neither girl paid any attention to their grandmother’s voice warning them to stop fighting. A third girl, younger by a few years, quietly watched from a distance.

Finally frustration won over and the girl without the toys began flailing at the girl with the toys.

“Girls! Come out of the pool. We don’t act like that.” The voice of their grandmother finally penetrated their battle. “And leave the toys there.” The girls reluctantly left the toys floating in the pool as they climbed out and went to sit next to their grandmother.

The third girl, the patient one who had watched from a distance, glanced up at the other two girls, then at the floating toys. She swam over to them, quietly gathered them up, and swam back to her own grandmother.

“Nana,” she asked her grandmother. “Do you want to play kitchen? I have ice cream!”

Closing her eyes, she smiled. It reminded her of what she had read in the Bible. “The meek with inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Ps 37:11 had put it another way: “The meek with inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”  This might not be what God had in mind when He said those words, but it sure worked out that way for this little but wise girl as she played with her new toys in the now peaceful pool.

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 3

Here is my third and final quote:

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I can’t see the future. I can’t see how my decisions today are going to impact my future. I can’t figure out everything I need to do today to make my future a good one. I can’t see how all the details in my life – both good and bad – are going to work together for the future God promises me. But I know the One who can. And I can trust that He knows what I need to know and experience today that will get me to that future. All I really need to do is listen, obey, and enjoy the ride.

And that includes becoming the person He made me to be.

And a bonus quote I just ran into…

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just because it made me laugh.

I laughed again at Dorci Harris’ response: “Oh yes, they can swim. They can float, dive and hold their breath. For years. But only God can walk on water.”  Let’s hope more of our enemies are like the Eygptians who got swallowed by the Red Sea than the ones Dorci it talking about!

 

Thank you again Sue Love at Run With It for nominating me for this Three Day Quote Challenge.

Now I would like to nominate  Faith on the Farm for the 3 Day Quote Challenge because she reminds me of my brother and his family who live on a plot of land with all kinds of animals also. Faith on the Farm is an awesome name and just right for this lovely Christian girl sharing her faith!

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)