My wife is learning to be a hiker. Me, well, I’ve grown up outdoors and I love to mountain bike, hike, trail run, and spend just about as much time meandering through the great outdoors as possible. So this last summer, when she made reservations for us in Estes Park over our first anniversary, I was shocked!
Rocky Mountain National Park sits right outside Estes Park, a town well worth visiting on its own even if you don’t want to go into the national park. Yet, RMNP is magnificent with the purple mountains that help make Colorado a rocky adventure.
People visit the park to find adventure and many, like me, come for the wildlife and time in God’s creation so they can sense his power and love in the stillness of nature.
Making our way slowly up to the lake I could tell April was discouraged. It was hot and our breaks were often. As we sat for a minute and and guzzled our water, a father and daughter approached us quietly from the opposite direction.
“There is a Moose up ahead,” said the dad in a whisper. I have always wanted to see a Moose in the wild. They are wild, powerful, and majestic. Might this Moose be the miracle I was hoping for and help make April an avid hiker?
We plodded up the trail. My eyes were wide open for any movement. As much as I desired to see a Moose, I knew how dangerous they can be. About ten minutes later, we turned a corner and saw, not one, but two Moose wading through a small lake. Majestic doesn’t begin to describe it.
The baby Moose stood behind its mom. Both were long and lean and had their heads dipped in the water. We watched as they mucked through the water, not minding us as we stood amazed.
It was an awesome experience to be granted on our first wedding anniversary. Yet God wasn’t done. A month later we decided to go back to Rocky Mountain National Park. As we drove past the entrance and parked near Beaver Lake Trail, I longed for that magic again. Maybe if God sent us another Moose, April really would love hiking.
We hiked up the trail, past Alberta Falls, and on toward the lake. The trail was packed with visitors. April was not enjoying this hike. It was hotter than last time and flies buzzed around our heads. I forced us on.
You don’t see wild animals from your couch, but neither did we as we trekked on. We reached the lake and April informed me that we wouldn’t be hiking up into Sky Pond. She was done. We had to make our way back down the mountain.
Marriage is not all about compromising. It is more about giving up of yourself so that you can love your spouse. Maybe I could have kept hiking and found that elusive experience. Sky Pond is breathtaking and I wanted to capture that movement with my wife. Maybe turning back honored my wife and acknowledged I can’t always have my way.
My choice was clear, march back down this trail with my wife and trust that the best is yet to come.
As I hiked down the path, my legs swinging on their own, my mind was on my prayer life. I had prayed for another Moose to show up, but logically I knew there were too many people for any wild life, let alone any Moose to show up.
I am the type of man who likes to be consistent. This shows up in much of what I do. I work out consistently. I walk consistently and I pray consistently. Sometimes I pray while I go on my walks. Not every time that I pray do I feel God. Sometimes it just feels like I am checking a box off my list, but I know that by spending time in prayer I am making my heart more receptive of the times God does show up.
But God shows up.
And right as April asked for me to slow down and take another water break a Moose showed up. He walked right out on the trail right in front of me. There were about five other people near April and me. Like frightened animals, they all scrambled off into the wild. The Moose made his way straight toward me. My heart soared!
Maybe I should have run, but I felt God tell me to stay. He reminded me that he is in control. And so I trusted him. The Moose turned off the trail, in the direction everyone had scrambled. What an adventure!
Sometimes, like with my prayer life, when I am out on the trail nothing shows up, but I am not going to experience God or any wild life if I am not looking.
My prayer for this year has been that my eyes, my ears, and my heart are all open to all that God has for April and me.
Maybe God has more Moose for me, but most likely he is up to more massive adventures in my life.
This year April and I realized we were ready to move. God blessed us with a beautiful basement apartment, but my heart had become strained by the stress of renting and the call to own our own home. But here in Denver, the home buying process can take months. Yet, He had something more magical in store. As we dream to start a family, I knew moving needed to happen. We started our house hunt with our eyes wide open. After two weeks we found a beautiful house we wanted to make an offer on. I doubted that our offer would be accepted. I had heard stories, but I wanted to try because if you don’t try to buy a house, you will never buy a house.
On Tuesday March, 12th my friend Luke, who is also an awesome agent, called me and asked if I was okay. I said I was, but I really was not. My stomach was in knots. I wanted God to show up again and bless us with this house. I also knew that we would be okay if he didn’t. We could hunt on. “Well good,” he said, “Because they accepted your offer!” So we bought a house and are moving!
But I know that the best is yet to come because God has not failed to show up when I have stepped out to connect with him. But dang he is wild.