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Chris and I stayed at a lodge last week that was beautifully nestled in the high hills of Ohio. While we were driving up what felt like endless hills, we wondered how in the world we were going to ride our bikes in the area.  I mean, we can manage some hills but realistically, neither of us would make it up the constantly rolling hills that just kept going up and up for miles. When I asked our host if there was a flatter area where we could ride, he suggested that we ride to the edge of the property and turn right, rather than left – there weren’t any hills that direction.

The first afternoon, I headed out for a ride by myself and because I was told there were no hills, that’s what I experienced. It was really hot but it wasn’t hilly.

The second day, I talked a new friend into joining me on a ride. She borrowed Chris’ bike and helmet and off we pedalled. She pre-asked about hills and I confidently told her there weren’t any but as we settled into the ride, she began to get tired and asked if we could get off our bikes and walk. This was the first time that I noticed that there WERE hills. It was another hot day and as we headed back towards the lodge, she began to ask me, “How many more hills? I kept answering, “I don’t think there are any more hills” but we seemed to be constantly at the bottom of them, looking up! By the time we got back to the lodge, my friend was completely wiped out. She was a real trooper but I felt so badly that I had misled her.

The third day, Chris and I headed out in the hot afternoon for a ride. This time, I warned Chris.  “Just telling ya, there are some hills, so be ready”  but Chris is a seasoned cyclist so I figured he could handle the hills. We weren’t riding five minutes before he said, “I feel like I’ve been coasting downhill for the past ten minutes. The return ride is completely uphill, Diane.  We better turn around soon because it’s going to take us twice as long to get home.”

So, here’s what I was thinking —  I’ve been climbing hills all my life but I didn’t realize they were hills.

I didn’t see the hills until people told me about them.

I just kept going, no matter how steep the hills were.

That’s resiliency.

God gave me a resilient spirit.

Two weeks before, in preparation for this retreat, I was asked to draw “a landscape of my soul” and this is what I created.

Notice the uphill journey . . .

my life's ascent2


. . . but more importantly, notice the H-O-P-E that hovers.

Now that I think about it, I could have ridden up those hills.

May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15.13


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