The fact that I haven’t written a blog in months is a great indication of what I’m about to describe – this pandemic has hit me hard, and I haven’t been doing very well. For the first couple months I was often disappointed about things like everyone else, but even moving back into some normalcy of going outside the house again wasn’t enough to help me get out of the funk I was in. I started to feel symptoms of depression I hadn’t experienced in years; recalling how much it took out of me to overcome that exacerbated the hopelessness. I lost enthusiasm for the things I used to enjoy most and I found it uncharacteristically difficult to maintain a positive outlook about the future. The worst part was that I knew turning to the Lord during this dark season would be the only way to work through it, but my flesh did not want to. Have you ever been there – knowing that God would bring you solace but feeling as though you had no energy to receive it from Him? That’s where I was at: wanting God to help me but holding back from Him without much of any reason. I wasn’t mad at Him, but I wasn’t excited about Him all the time like I used to be – and I resented myself even more for it. A vicious cycle.
Here is where the wonder of nature comes in. I was finally able to take a long-awaited trip, a time away from the mundane and the tediousness of life as I felt I knew it. The anticipation of spending a week with my best friend Jasmine was one of the only things getting me up in the mornings, but being there was more therapeutic than I could have imagined. National Parks are one of the only things in the world that get my heart racing just thinking about them, so visiting two of them together was exactly what I needed. We gained 5,800ft of elevation over 22 miles of hiking and drove 1,020 miles over 26 hours around Northern California. An absolute dream.
Lassen Volcanic NP and Yosemite NP are some of the most idyllic places I’ve ever been. It was impossible to not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as I stared at the infinite starry sky above me at our campsites, or as we reached the summit of the most challenging hike I’ve done to date, or when the truck would round a bend to reveal a new landscape that took my breath away. The mountains, forests and waterfalls spoke to me in a way that humans simply cannot. All of creation worships the same King I do and this week I was reminded of that. It only took a moment, a week immersed in God’s most magnificent handiwork, for me to feel alive again.
So as I head home to Virginia, less than four months away from a world of opportunity opened to me, I will take this perspective with me. I will relive the exhilaration of the brink of physical exhaustion mixed with zestful exploration until spiritual rejuvenation washes over me like waves all over again. I want to stay myself the way I feel when I am in the wonder of nature, and I am motivated to put the work in to achieve that. The Lord has been unwaveringly sweet and gracious to me for allowing me this time to recenter on who He is and who He is still making me to be.