Climbing

Climbing with Help - Sister Triangle Article

By Katelyn Pippus

When I was little, one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon was playing on the sandstone rock formations outside of Roche Percee, Saskatchewan. The rocks had been weathered and worn over time presenting the perfect spot for a prairie girl to pretend she was a mountain climber. I remember the first time mom and dad took me to the rocks and I got to clamber through the caves. Climbing at the rocks became a fall tradition for my family. Every time we went climbing, dad would show off how he could climb and jump between the rocks that were often more than fifteen feet off the ground. As I got older and more adventurous, dad began to challenge me to climb higher and eventually to take the more difficult routes to the top. Although mom would tease him about showing off, I always admired his fearlessness and his confidence. 

By the time I was about twelve, I had climbed nearly every inch of the rocks. But there was one route I had never tried before because I didn’t think I was skilled enough. I still remember the feeling of determination I felt when dad shouted down from the top of the rock, “Bet you can’t climb up this way”.  

I wanted to prove to him that I could do it, that I could climb anything he could climb. And that like him, I was unafraid.  In the beginning, climbing was easy. The footholds and handholds near the base of the rock face were well-worn where brave climbers had gone before me. Foot here, hand there. Reach up for that ledge. Put my weight on that foot.  

By the time I got about seven feet off of the ground, I started to slow my climb. The path that had seemed fairly easy in the beginning, had started to fade. The footholds were less well-defined and I had to stretch way up to find somewhere to grab hold to, so I didn’t slide down the rock face. The stone around me changed from a natural ladder to unblemished rock. Suddenly, I had nowhere to go. All of the determination and bravado drained out of me as I clung to the rock, hoping I wouldn’t slip. 

The longer I stayed still, the more scared I became. My arms and legs started to shake as my muscles tired and cramped. I considered admitting defeat and climbing back down the way I had come up.  But when I began my descent, I couldn’t find a place to put my foot and I slipped down the face of the rock skinning my knees.  I was really stuck now with no hope of completing the climb and no way to get back down and that’s when I heard dad’s voice from above me, “You stuck?”  

I was hoping dad wouldn’t notice me. I was hoping that he would have become distracted, so he wouldn’t see me clinging to the rock only halfway through the climb. I was supposed to be a good climber. He was supposed to see how brave and strong I was; that I was able to climb it by myself. But instead, he peered over the edge to see me sweating, stuck, and somewhat scared. 

“If you reach up and to your left, there is a handhold you may not be able to see,” he told me pointing to a spot way above my head. He also told me how to shift my weight off of my lower foot and transfer it to my upper foot so that I could reach above my head to grab the handhold.  Once I had myself up that high, dad leaned down to offer me his hand. I hesitated to look for another hidden handhold, but to my chagrin, there were none left and I was running out of energy from holding myself up. So I grabbed his hand and he pulled me up. 

Sometimes, I feel as though I am part way through the climb. When I try to do things my way or all by myself, I find myself getting stuck like on the rock face. I lose sight of where I am supposed to go next and as I am hopelessly trying to figure it out, I just become more and more frustrated and exhausted. 

But we are blessed by a heavenly father who sees us when we get stuck. He sees our efforts and our struggles. When we are willing to surrender to Him and admit that we can’t do it on our own, He reveals the handhold that is just out of sight and pulls us up by His strength.  

“Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine Israel, saying, ‘God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me?’ Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind” (Isaiah 40: 27-31 MSG).

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalms 139: 16 NLT).

 

3 Comments

  1. Sara Pippus on January 29, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Great reminder for the start of this day

  2. Janelle on January 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    He sees us. He helps us. He lifts us. Thanks, Katie.

  3. Jenn Wallace on February 6, 2018 at 2:08 am

    Love this Katie! Thank you.

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