This is probably going to be the hardest blog to write because it expresses my true vulnerability of one of my hardest and most God-awe moments of Peru. I am copying directly from my journal and the things that took place... it will be long, but I thank you for your patience and for reading...
Aint no mountain high enough,
Aint no valley love enough,
Aint no river wide enough,
From keeping me from getting to you...
"Hear my cry, O God;
Listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to You,
I call as my heart grows faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Friday (July 8) was such an emotional day and physically challenging.
We started the morning off at 3:45am and got ready. We were in line for the bus at 4:30am. Two of the girls, Mark, and Ricky went to get breakfast sandwiches from a little 24 hour cafe- we had ordered them the night before.
|*Little did I know that I would be hiking that mountain behind me*|
As we approached the entrance- we were approached by tour guides. Mark decided to hire him while we were all a bit reluctant. We walked through various levels and parts and he explained the magnificent-ness of the way it was built and constructed. As we reached the far end of the entrance to Waynu Picchu, Ricky came running up (we didn't event notice because we were all sitting under this hut in wonder and taking a brief break). He told us that 20 spaces were left for Waynu- so we all rushed to check and sign in.
We had three hours total until we needed to leave and head for the bus. We all stopped together and Ricky and our guide gave us tips and advice about the trail, especially that the parts that would be extremely narrow.
We set off- before two long I was towards the back of the group- Taunee, Jessica, and Ariel kept with me but it wasn't a few moments after that we couldn't see the rest of the group in sight.
|*Taken the day before, little did I know that they would be my source of encouragement *|
I remember just praying, asking God for strength, patience, perseverance, endurance. I had prayed that if we got into the hike that God would allow me the strength to do it. But then we were told they were out of spaces and I thought what a relief- we really get to take in the sights of Machu Picchu and take photos and everything. Then here I was at the bottom of this mountain fearful and scared of what I couldn't do, what was beyond my control. But if God us on this path then he would surely get me up this mountain. I fought back tears of fear in doing it and fear of the heights and swallowed the pill of frustration that I felt unable and a hindrance to the team. I KNEW God would allow me the help and grant me the strength because He'd provided up until this point and He wouldn't abandon me.
There's a saying about how God will strengthen your back or lighten your load, if He brings you to it, He'll bring you through it. It is based on 1 Corinthians I believe. We will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. Well, God lightened my load and strengthened my back. I was able to endure the pain. Also nothing strengthens you like encouragement and Jessica was so great at that. Taunee's constant joy in life made it easier. And Ariel's love in serving- he lightened my load. Ariel took my heavy backpack (filled with snacks), 1/3 of the way up the trail, what a blessing.
|* a view of where we just were standing and the above first picture *|
I got up there and I didn't see the team. So I began to crawl the stairs to the next section. Nothing. Again, nothing. At that point Ariel, Jessica, and Taunee were a section below.
Finally I made it to the last section around the corner of what we already thought was the last and top section. It was just rocks and I couldn't see the team. I wanted to cry. Then I saw Ricky standing up on this rock. I shouted his name. He said my name then he saw Jessica and yelled her name and then I heard the whole team cheer, then again with Taunee and Ariel.
After their cheers the first thing I heard... "Jessica, can you take our picture..."
We had just fought and moved up this mountain and the first concern was their picture being taken. I felt that was the concern for them the entire trip. Take our photo here, take our photo there... all the while being left out of a majority of those photos. It hit me... hard. All of the emotion and strength and frustration- I fought back tears. I just wanted to reach the top- to be with the team. We literally had to climb up the side of the rock- hands and feet and position yourself just right. Then up and around a tiny corner was the team. Just chilling, like nothing. Like oh hey, thanks for joining us as I'm exhausted, dehydrated, out of breath, and my vision is blurred.
I push back into the corner and began to take in the view, attempting to breathe... I began fighting back tear by tear trying to breath so no one will notice. Someone spots me as my eyes lay closed behind my sunglasses. My vision is blurred, I don't want to lose a contact. It gets harder and worse as I'm asked if I'm "okay". More tear come, I can't breathe or see. I began to hyperventilate and at this point I've broken out in hives (like I do every time I cry and can't breathe). I manage to drink some water and Mark makes me eat some chocolate.
Not even up there five minutes and they say we must leave shortly. I understand because we have a train to catch up stuck in my emotion as tears stream down my cheeks and I breathe heavily- I'm more frustrated, I just got here and I haven't even gotten to truly breathe and take it in. I've just accomplished so much and discovered a new level of intimacy with God and I have to depart already. As the team slowly comes down Ariel snaps a few photos for me and of me as I attempt to give a half decent smile but I know it won't turn out no matter how hard I try.
|Literal rock climbing.|
We began to make our way down the mountain and its almost harder because of how steep it is, you must crawl down backwards or hold any rock you can grab facing forward or facing the mountain. Ariel and Mark stayed with me the entire way- I feel so blessed but I also feel like a burden. Each and every step they guide me by holding my hand, telling me where to step, or how to step, or where to place my hands.
There is a bible verse that talks about hospitality and entertaining angels without knowing it. They were my ANGELS. I could not have done it without them- God really blessed me. I truly got to see a glimpse of the way God sees those two men on my team, I got to see the love and compassion of God through their kindness.
We are almost at the entrance of the hike and I walk behind everyone by 5 to 15 feet during the last 5 minutes as I can barely breathe. We exit as I take another breathe from my inhaler, we quickly make our way back across the ruins. I fight to keep up- Jessica keeps an eye on me and paces herself for me to keep up. We exit getting our passports stamped. We get in line and take the bus down the mountain.
"The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you". -Psalm 32:8
"I love you, Lord; you are my strength." -Psalm 18:1
Thank you for reading...