The Mountains are Calling…

Rose and I have a piece of slate hanging on the wall in our living room that is inscribed with the words “The mountains are calling, and I must answer.” My brother Bob and his wife Sherry gave it to us when they came to New Mexico from Michigan for a visit. This rings true in our hearts—and we spent the last couple of days “answering the call” to the Jemez Mountains in central New Mexico.

I remember a time several years ago when I was driving south out of Denver – headed toward Colorado Springs – as Sandi Patty was singing “How Great Thou Art” on the radio. That majestic moment is forever etched in my mind—the visual reality of the greatness of our God as he revealed himself in the Colorado Rockies.

But mountains do not have the same appeal for everyone. My Grandpa Johnson used to say the mountains are made up of the stuff God had left over when he was finished creating the earth. They are akin to the ruble on the sculptor’s floor that was chiseled away from the masterpiece hidden away within the block of marble. Grandpa said God never intended for the mountains to be inhabited—or visited—by people.

Even so, we all have things we are drawn to—things with which we feel a deep kind of connection. What we are “called to” is a part of what makes us who we are. And as far as I can tell, nobody decides what they are going to find appealing and what they are going to dislike. These things are built in as standard equipment and are unique to every human being. And our interests change over time—just because they do—not because we decided they should.

Celebrate the uniqueness of who you are today by pursuing the call God has placed in your heart. Pursue your passion in a way that honors your Creator. When Rose and I have an opportunity to come home to the mountains, we are rejuvenated. The unobstructed flow of His Spirit infuses us to continue on with our daily assignments with renewed vitality. That’s how we celebrate the passion he has placed in our hearts.

How do you celebrate the call in your life?

It happened on a hike in New Mexico…

It happened on a hike in the mountains of New Mexico, the very first time we met after connecting on Rose had invited me to come to Albuquerque for the 2004 International Balloon Fiesta. I lived in Michigan at the time -1613.3 miles away. A “safe” distance, we thought. No chance of anything “happening” other than meeting a new friend.

Rose took me hiking in the mountains, and it was on one of those hikes I encountered the grace of God in the form of woman. As we were descending the mountain, I told her my story of moral failure, and my eventual spiritual healing. I was totally unprepared for the response I got from her as she stopped on the trail, turned and embraced me, and told me she saw a man transformed by the grace of God.  She says that’s when she first fell in love with me…in the midst of my “mess confession!” Imagine that!

A few weeks after our first encounter I traveled to Kenya to deliver medical supplies to an orphanage. When I arrived back in Detroit, Rose met me at the airport, and we enjoyed our second “date.”  A few weeks later Rose and I were married in New Mexico—the 3rd time we met. We recently celebrated our 7th anniversary.

There’s something about the grace of our Lord that creates a bond that is beyond our ability to explain. For Rose and me, our personal stories are a living illustration of God’s amazing grace–and our love story is the Divine punch line!

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