This past summer I went on one of the most beautiful and most trying hikes of my life. We started on a very rocky path with lots of twists and turns. I was told it would be a short hike, so I brought a granola bar and two of the tiniest water bottles. It was in the middle of the day and the sun was blazing hot. At one point, I started to fall off a steep ledge, thankfully I was rescued by a good friend watching out for me. After making it to the end of the rocky trail and seeing no other possible path to go, and the group with me wanted to keep going further, I started to panic not seeing a straight path ahead.
As we started to venture on a course that didn't exist, I noticed my leg started to itch like crazy with a sting that was so uncomfortable. I looked down and we were walking through stinging nettle. Pretty soon there were huge bushes of them and we were having to plow right through. My whole body was starting to sting by this point which only made my anxiety ten times worse.
I was hot, I was tired, I was out of water, I was not expecting a long hike, I was terrified of getting stuck on the mountain with no way to get back down, and I was so scared the elevation I was at was going to make me sick, oh yeah, and my body itched and stung like crazy. I said a prayer in my heart as we kept on trekking.
We started to see the peak of the mountain that still looked so far away from my perspective, but my group made it their goal that that was the destination we were going to arrive at. I was terrified. Trail blazing with no path and no service on your cell phone is miserable. I didn't know if we were going to survive quite honestly. My anxiety was becoming out of control and I couldn't say enough prayers in my heart. Thankfully the people that I was with were so patient and kind to me and they started coaching and cheering me on. One of the guys let me share their water so I could have the energy to keep moving forward. Slow and steady with each step of belief and support, each step started to seem more doable. I felt strength from the Heavens start to pull me up.
Finally, we arrived at the peak and it was beautiful. The view was so glorious and I had never seen anything quite like it, especially in person. I knew I wouldn't have made it without the support and guidance of my friends that were with me.
I think life and a testimony is sometimes like this hike. Sometimes we think we can do it all on our own and we don't need anything more than what we brought with us, then life throws us some curve balls and we start to panic. We know there is no way we are going to survive without extra help and support, for we have used all the strength we have been given.
A testimony has never just been handed to me, it is something I have to work at every single day of my life. Quite honestly I have moments in my life where I find myself asking the question "Why do I need a testimony, isn't life a lot easier without all the rules and restrictions? Without all the checklists? Wouldn't everything be a lot more simple if I could do what the world is doing?
Sometimes in life it seems like we don't need to prepare, like the small amount of water we have will be enough. We can also get in that trap of thinking with prayers, and scripture study, thinking we have read enough or prayed enough and the days we are skipping don't really matter, but little do we know the journey ahead will require us to have prepared a little bit more.
Never let a day go by without morning and night prayers and scripture study. You're not going to make it without it. Happiness, a joy that is unexplainable until you experience it awaits you on this journey. Give it your all! You won't regret it.
"With the Lord at your side, you can experience miracles. You can do the thing that you first thought impossible. You can overcome any problem. You can rise above anything that would pull you down. You can reject evil and embrace everything that is good. You came to earth for a purpose, and with the Lord’s help you will achieve that purpose." - Russell T. Osguthorpe
This quote came from my all time favorite CES devotional