Picture this…

It was a cold, snowy day in the Appalachian Mountains. My boyfriend and I were looking for an adventure, so we decided to go skiing. We started off on the bunny slope so we (read: I) could get the hang of things. Then we advanced to the next slope. The first time down consisted of a few wipe-outs but nothing major. So we tried that slope a few more times until it was time to take a break. While sitting in the lodge, we were watching people go down the steepest, most difficult slope. He was so excited to try out his skills on that slope, so we boarded the ski lift to the top of the mountain. I apparently didn’t know what I was getting myself into. When we got to the top, I was in shock.

On that particular day, the snow blasters were going full force, there was actual snow falling from the sky, the whole slope had turned into an ice sheet, and the wind was so strong you could feel it pulling you side to side. Needless to say, I became a nervous wreck. Not wanting to endure the wind any longer, we started our descent. This journey down the mountain was treacherous. Not only did I fall, but halfway through, my legs started shaking. I thought I couldn’t go any further. After words of encouragement and some silent prayers, I felt a new confidence that I could reach the bottom.

All of a sudden, I started to gain speed due to a large ice patch and I continued the descent without any control, thinking to myself, “I’m going to fall and - wow - it’s going to hurt.” My silent prayers had quickly become full-blown verbal cries to God. As I neared the bottom, I started to slow down despite my own doing. God had heard my prayer, of course, and had been with me the whole time to get me safely to the bottom.

The new year is a time of new beginnings, a clean slate, a freshly snow powered ski slope. When reality sets in, however, our world begins to feel like it is crashing down. Our resolutions are broken, our promises we made to be more diligent in our quiet times are ignored on busy mornings back at school, our yearning for more of God may be clouded by the cold reality that it may be a new year, but it's the same slope of life. 

There is hope in this. See, we may be slipping down the mountain, falling every five seconds, but God is there to pick us up. God is there in the snow storm of tests, temptations, and glistening things that take our eyes away from Him. God is there to wrap us in a warm hug, comfort our weary hearts, and remind us — we are made for His purpose. His purpose for us is to bring glory to Him no matter the weather conditions. His promise is that we will have help every step of the way. Sometimes, it may feel like He isn't there. Sometimes, it will feel like we are just sliding down a sheet of ice without any traction, any control. All the while, He is smiling at us because He knows that the best is yet to come. He knows that He will lead into safety. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.
Isaiah 41:10-11

As we continue this year, be reminded that even though you may feel like you are sliding down a massive, icy slope, you have nothing to fear. In fact, we can be fearless. There is nothing in this world that God doesn’t have a hand over. Even Satan shudders at His name. Even when the winds rage, the storms come, the temptations rise, He is there with us. He is there to guide us and give us strength. 

PS: if anyone needs a skiing partner, I wouldn’t suggest my boyfriend. 

-JesseRuth Parrish // @parrish.jesseruth

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