The Big Hike

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“This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and gave His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” –1 John 4:10

God loves big! He does not love when we deserve it; He loves all the time! He does not love with just words, but He loves with everything He has! He gave His son, His one and only Son, so that we could have a relationship with Him!

Now that’s a big love!

“Big” is a great word to describe my 4th of July experience. The fireworks were BIG, the mountain was BIG, The climb was Big, the view was Big, and the love we shared as a family was BIG!

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We were in Tahoe Donner on the North shore of Lake Tahoe. There was a fireworks show down at Donner Lake, and we had been told the view was spectacular from the side of the mountain. We had been told where to go to find the trail, and where to park…but we had NOT been told how far the hike would be! After a delicious BBQ dinner, we loaded up the car with all of us, and headed out. There were 10 of us total, two young children, two elderly adults, and six adults in between. We got to the foot of the mountain where the trail head was, and we saw many other families, with the same, wonderful idea.  We excitedly exited the cars, grabbed two blankets, and followed the line up the trail head. The first few hundred steps only revealed a few more hundred steps. Then we looked up, and in front of us we saw nothing but a long trail! We walked on, still in great anticipation of the spectacular show that we would view. We walked on, and we walked on, and on and on and on! We walked on for a good 30 minutes, only to see that the trail was veering left and we were now going to hike up to the mountain side. We had come this far, so we were not going to turn back now! This was going to be a big adventure! After all, Papa is 83 and he was hiking it, and Grammie is 75 and she was hiking it too! The example of their big adventurous spirit was an encouragement to all of us! After a good 15 minutes more of hiking, we reached the mountain side where you could no longer take the trail. We walked over bushes, plants, rocks, and fallen tree logs. We decided it was best to allow Papa and Grammie to sit on one of the closest logs we found. My mom zipped up her puffy coat clear to her chin. While I had laughed at her earlier for bringing a puffy coat in July, I was now envious of her. They cuddled together as the wind picked up on the mountain side, and the sun began to go down. The rest of us went forward a bit more and found another log. We lifted the children over the top of it and sat down in anticipation of the fireworks show. And what a show it was!  I have watched many fireworks shows in my life, but I have never been on top of the fireworks themselves, looking down on them!

The walk was big, the mountain was big, the fireworks were big, and the love that we felt for each other was biggest of all!
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I believe that God calls us to love big, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.  There are times in life–like on the 4th of July for me–that are easy.  Surrounded by my family, God’s beauty and splendor, and the flashing lights of the fireworks, I had big love for all of it.  I easily expressed to my family how much I loved them and how much I loved doing this activity with them. But as the mountain itself exhibited to me, I could walk up it and be on a literal high, and love big; and within the next hour, I had come down from the mountain, and could have easily felt the low, making it harder to love big.  God is so amazing, because He always loves big!  And He gives me the strength and encouragement I need to love others big-when they are deserving of it, and when they are not. When you love big, you pour your whole heart into another person, and you give all of yourself for their well-being.  And when you do, that big love is not always reciprocated.  And when that happens, your first response is to draw back that big love.  But God calls us to continue to love others big, just as He continues to love us BIG.

I have recently experienced hurt and disappointment from those I have loved big and trusted. Let’s be honest: more than likely, each and every one of you could say the same thing.  When we love big, we make ourselves vulnerable to those we give ourselves to.  When that love and support is needed, and yet not given, it makes us want to recoil, to draw back, and to not give out that love, so that in the future we won’t be hurt again. But that is the opposite of what God desires for us. Instead, I must seek to follow His example. I have to receive His big love, and then love others big in the same way He loves me.  Only through His strength can I love BIG like He does.  Once again, this practice draws me to my favorite Bible verse:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Truth Bomb

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When you love BIG, you hurt BIG. .Love BIG anyway…Jesus does!

The truth is, God loves me big all the time, even when others don’t.  My desire is to love others big, just as God loves me, whether it is deserved or not. Then and only then am I truly showing the love of God in my life. 
Speak Truth Love

One thought on “The Big Hike

  1. Wow what an adventure! Sure hope mom & Mel fared ok. Missed celebrating together. Great memories. This post speaks loudly to what I’ve had to deal with over the past 10 years. Through the most painful time in my life, when I desperately needed to be loved, those closest to me weren’t often able to provide what I needed. However, that’s how great God is… He continued to love me through it and draw me closer to Himself. Praise God for that Big love. There are often times when I continue to face the hurt, when I don’t feel loved by others as you describe, and I need to ask God what he’s teaching me in it… I see He’s still at work teaching me how to love others like He does.
    Thank you sister for your words. May God love & Bless you as you continue to share.

    Like

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