Contributed by Karla Mendoza
Pause in the Presence of God
Just a little over a month ago I was on a road trip up the coast of California with two of my dear friends. We went from cities to mountains and oceans to dry lands within hours, but I wasn’t prepared for the beauty I was going to encounter.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I signed up for this adventure, but I knew what I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t expecting to meet with God, if anything, I think I wanted to avoid God. It’s not that I don’t like God, I love God, I just, you know, needed some time to myself. (I am laughing at myself for this one!)
We had been traveling up for a few days when we stopped at a beach in Trinidad, California. Though there were steps to get to the beach somewhere in the park, we decided to wing it and therefore ended up on a trail that was a lot more steep than we preferred. On the last 50 feet or so left, I decided I didn’t want to go all the way to the bottom of the mountain.
I’ll be honest, I was just exhausted from the previous days and decided I didn’t want to go all the way to the bottom because I didn’t want to go all the way up again, so I decided to sit on the side of the mountain. As I found myself surrounded by the beautiful sound of the waves crashing and birds singing, I prayed.
That sounds so deep and scenic, and maybe it was, but do not be fooled! The first prayer that came out of my mouth was me asking God for no spiders or bugs to touch me. I am so terrified of bugs that this is a very real prayer for me. Yet something about that moment made me realize that I fully believed that God could and would do that for me.
In that moment I knew that I was stepping into a faith I hadn’t experienced in a long time, and with that new found faith, I decided I could go back up the mountain, as I knew no bugs would come near me. I was full of faith, but many times when I was climbing the (sometimes very steep) mountain, I was also terrified. All the what if’s came to mind – What if I stepped on the wrong thing? what if my body’s too tired to continue? What if I see a snake?! (I hadn’t prayed for that!).
Here I was climbing this mountain by myself, so I had to make a decision. I could keep going or I could let fear control my next move. I knew I had to connect my heart and body to Spirit if I wanted to keep moving, so I stopped and let air fill my lungs. I paused in the Presence of God. I breathed. I trusted.
I’ve heard the mountain analogy a million times over, and each one tells me that I will make it to the top, but in this moment I realized that if I never made it to the top, I would be okay. If I wasn’t the best, I would be okay. If I wasn’t the smartest, I would be okay. If all the words I have written were never read by anyone else, I would be okay. If life didn’t go the way I wanted it to go, I would be okay. I am okay. Not because I can or can’t climb the mountain, but because in the climbing I can pause in the Presence of God, I can breathe and I can trust. In the in-between spaces He can always be found.
I no longer have to make it to the top, as long as I know the One who’s climbing with me.
Pause in the Presence of God
P.S. If you’re wondering, I never did see a spider or bug!