What Are My Kids Learning?

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By: Amber Harder, Communications Specialist

 

It was Sunday morning and I was tired. It had been a particularly hard night with the baby, and not just that night but the 100 nights prior to it too. The thought of making it to church early to attend 9am Connect seemed overwhelming, exhausting, and next to impossible.

We broke the news to our kids over breakfast. “We’re not going to make it to 9am Connect today. We’ll just be going to church today.”

This did not go over well. What ensued was a mixture of whining, debate, and heart-felt promises of “I’ll get ready right away if we can go to Connect!”

I looked at Zac. He looked at me. Our kids were begging us to go to church. In the grand scheme of things, this was a really good problem to have. So, with the energy of a team breaking from their huddle, we finished breakfast and scattered to our separate corners of the house to get ready and GO!

I am grateful that my kids like going to church. I appreciate that enCompass has a nurturing, energetic, Bible-based place for my kids to soak u

 

p what it means to follow Christ. My oldest, Feven, is learning amazing information about the Bible and its history through her 9am kidConnect group. I’m in awe of what she tells us on the car ride home and throughout the week. Recently I shared a Bible passage with her from the book of Luke and she said, “Mom, did you know that Luke wrote Luke?!?” Incredible. My 6-year-old is learning who wrote specific books in the Bible!

My daughter is also learning what it means to be in community. On one of our car rides home from church recently she said, “Mom, some of my friends and I have been talking. You know there’s a Dad’s Night Out group and a Mom’s Night Out group? Well, we think there should be a Girl’s Night Out group for me and my friends. We were thinking maybe on a Wednesday. We want to build community.” Yes, my 6-year-old actually used those words “build community.”

Through her experience at church, she sees the adults in our congregation building community by checking in, praying for one another, and spending time with each other. She sees that as important, and it’s further emphasized in her Sunday mornings at church with her Club E! class. Cate has stressed to her students the importance of building community, and they have taken it to heart and are looking for more ways they can do so.

 

I love it. I love everything about this. I’m grateful God is working through our church to teach my children what it means for them to follow Him – both in their personal lives and in their social lives.

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…And That’s How You Make Lemonade

lemonsBy: Deron Vaupel, Ministries Administrator

Just like any other August, I expected our conversation to be about budget revisions for the coming fiscal year, but I was very mistaken. Instead, I was hearing from Kevin about his new job with Young Life, and my mind started going several different directions. What does that mean for me? What does that mean for enCompass? What time frame? What needs to happen in the next few months? How much of that do I need to do? What other questions need to be answered? What haven’t I thought of yet? That all went racing through my mind over the next several days.

I’ve had similar conversations in the past, but this one was a bit different. In some form or another, Kevin’s been my boss longer than any other supervisor. I’ve learned a lot from him and grown to appreciate several aspects of his leadership style. I remained a bit numb for the rest of the week, but as I began having conversations with other staff and people from the congregation, the numbness started to turn to hope, expectation, and excitement.

Change is an inevitable part of life. How we handle those changes says a lot about our character. That applies not only to individuals, but also to organizations. enCompass is a church of doers, and in my conversations, that doer attitude really came out. I found that there were several other people asking the same questions and taking the same steps to prepare for what’s ahead. There are many new faces around on Sunday mornings, and that’s especially encouraging because if I were the one showing up to a church right around the time a significant leadership transition was happening, I’d seriously consider moving to the next one on my list. In the past few weeks, a significant number of people, especially young adults, have stepped forward to say they’re invested in the future of enCompass by becoming Church Community Members. Connect Groups are going well, exciting things are happening with Childrens’ and Student Ministries, and the teaching series that are coming up are very intriguing. There’s a lot happening that gives me hope.

Yes, there’s a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of uncertainty. But in it all, we’re called to keep coming back to the truth that a congregation isn’t solely defined by the identity of the lead pastor…it’s about how the members of the congregation use their individual gifts and abilities to follow God’s call for the sake of his Kingdom. From all I’ve seen in my years at enCompass, we’re ready to take this next step. The essential thing in approaching the transition is to keep coming back to the mission and values of the church, asking how our unique abilities contribute to God using enCompass in the world around us.

Teamwork in Marriage

nestBy: Amber Lynch

My Dad grew up in functioning, but VERY dysfunctional family. There was substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, infidelity and a whole lot of anger. As my Dad witnessed these struggles, he prayed for a spouse that loved him just as much as he loved her. I’m happy to say that my Dad found that spouse and he and my Mom have been happily married for 41 years.

After hearing about how my Dad prayed for my Mom, I decided I should also pray for my perfect teammate. Little did I know I had already crossed paths with that teammate, when I was five years old, at Little Lambs Pre-school in Hugo, MN. After 14 years of marriage, I will say that it feels like five minutes. Steve will joke that it feels like five minutes…underwater (I really hope he’s joking).

We purchased our first home together in Northeast Minneapolis with the intent of diving in and making it our own. We refinished hardwood floors, painted, updated landscaping, remodeled a bathroom and a kitchen, as well as many other updates. Through all of these projects, we would work tirelessly…day and night, after work and the entire weekend. In order to get us through these brutal days of hard work, we would name a “Most Valuable Lynch” or MVL. It was a way to make days of physical work more fun and a way to entice the other one to get the job done.

In the middle of our kitchen remodel, Steve once visited Home Depot eight times in one day. Without a doubt, he was MVL that day. I remember crouching over all day in an attic (but soon to be bedroom) edging hardwood floors and you guessed it, I earned MVL that day. While these projects were hard work and at times very stressful, there were a lot of laughs, a lot of high-fives and a lot of hugs. Teamwork was critical to our success and when one was dragging, the other would somehow muster up enough energy to help the other one cross the finish line for the day. Whether it was a run to Home Depot, making lunch, or letting someone be the first to “shower up” for the night, these were the days when I was so thankful that God gave me the ultimate teammate in Steve.

Though our focus is much different these days, I am still incredibly thankful for my teammate who provides for our family. Or, when he can see that I have had my fill of negotiating with a four year old, steps in to take over to give me a little relief. I think he also appreciates it when he gets into a vehicle that has been filled with gas for him, comes home to a freshly mowed lawn, or takes a night off of bedtime duty to go play soccer or basketball with friends.

With teamwork in marriage, we are living God’s promise, “Two are better than one…for if they fall, one will lift up the other.” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10. And each time when Steve picks me up, I wonder how I could be so fortunate, but I guess I should stop wondering and just say thank you.

NOTE: Ask us which house project we called “The Marriage Tester”.

Take It Easy

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By: Kevin Thomas, Lead Pastor

Ah, summer. Birds chipping in the morning, warm sunshine in the afternoon, quiet conversations in the evenings.

Ahhh!  It’s summer.  In the midst of all the chirping, sunning and chatting, my brain races to track the various bunny trails of my life’s endeavors—phone calls to return, emails to compose, sermons to write, meetings to set-up, events to prepare, gatherings to attend, conversations to continue, meals to plan, drives to coordinate, repairs to complete, outdoor projects to start, appointments to schedule, social opportunities to initiate, interruptions to navigate.

We all want to relax: to take deep breaths, enjoy the people around us, and soak in a deeper sense of God’s peace. Yet it’s quite obvious that we’re really not very good at it. I often find myself reflexively growling at the on-going responsibilities and ever-present interruptions that flare up in my over-booked brain and over-loaded life.

Can’t the world just stop and allow me to catch my breath for a moment?!?

We don’t have the power to stop the world. Instead we have to pull off an even more astonishing miracle: to stop the noisy, frenetic, impatient, panicky world that spins inside of each of us.

This isn’t going to be easy. We’re far more comfortable with over-packed schedules and constant demands. It makes us feel important. It also makes us rather miserable human beings. God didn’t create us to go full-tilt each day. It’s simply not humane. He created us to work diligently, then rest artfully. Even He took a full day off every once in a while. (e.g. take a glance at Genesis 2:1-3)

Over the next four Sundays (June 18 & 25, July 2 & 9) you’re invited to join me as we attempt to “Take it Easy”. This sermon series is designed to teach me (maybe you, too) how to unwind from a stressed out life and discover new pathways to personally and patiently enjoying God’s goodness.

It won’t be easy to “Take it Easy”. Yet, if we’re going to truly enjoy the summer ahead, it’s probably exactly what we need.

Growing Through Connect Groups

By: Deron Vaupel, Ministry Administrator

In my time at enCompass, I’ve had the privilege to be a part of several different Connect Groups – Dads Group, Men’s Groups, House Groups, Sunday Morning Connect, etc. Of all the different ways I’ve been a part of the enCompass community, my involvement in these groups has probably been the most meaningful. I’m generally someone who prefers interactions in smaller groups of people, and the relationships that have been built in these different groups have been quite formative in many different areas. A couple examples:

For the past several months, I’ve been getting together with other dads from enCompass every Tuesday night to discuss a book about raising life-ready kids. There’s something special about younger dads coming together with ‘seasoned veterans’ to talk about our mistakes, successes, challenges, and hopes (not to mention the interspersed YouTube videos). We’ve learned a lot from each other about different ways to teach our kids and how to incorporate our faith into the day-to-day of parenting. I might even go so far as to say that we’re all (at least a little bit) better dads because of this group. This group has been a great respite for me and a source of a lot of wisdom.

Sunday morning Connect Groups always have a lot to offer. While the topics vary quite a bit, following along with the sermons or focusing on more topical content, the discussions are always rousing. There’s usually a range of generations represented, which means a lot of different perspectives when it comes to interpreting scripture. There’s something unique about young adults and retired people interacting over topics of faith. Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of leading several of these sessions, and I’m always challenged and energized as a result of the time we spend together.

Connect Groups exist at enCompass to give people different opportunities to grow in their relationships with God and others. Along with the other ministries of enCompass, they’re guided by 3 core values: Belong, Grow, Serve, and over the years, I’ve experienced each of these values to varying degrees. For me, when it comes to building a meaningful relationship with God and others, I’m not sure there’s any better way.

Even though some groups are wrapping up for the season, my encouragement to you is this: If it’s been awhile since you’ve been a part of a group, start thinking through what it might look like to join something in the near future. If you’ve never been a part of a Connect Group, see what will be a good fit for you. Or you could even consider what it might look like to lead one yourself. You may have the perfect idea for something new, and the passion to make it happen – and who knows…there might be someone else looking to connect in the same way. If you fall into one of these categories, I’d love to talk to you more. Click here to get in touch with me.

Thoughts on Happiness

By Mark Deisinger

Let’s talk about happiness. What is it and what isn’t it and how important is it? Merriam-Webster defines happiness as a state of well-being and contentment. If that’s what happiness is, then what isn’t it? I would say, and here I’m disagreeing with Merriam-Webster, who offer this as a synonym, that happiness is not joy, especially as the Christian tradition has defined joy. I think the key difference is that happiness is fleeting and depends on our circumstances, while Christian joy remains even when we’re suffering or in some sort of pain, because joy is based on the belief that God loves us and has secured our salvation even in the midst of worldly grief. C. S. Lewis said, in Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer: “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Maybe, like Lewis often did, we should capitalize this definition: Joy.

So, if Joy is sort of the eternal counterpart to happiness, then how important is happiness itself? We certainly do seem to give it a lot of our attention. It’s easy to get wrapped around the axle because of a lack of happiness, and that can stunt our ability to navigate through our days and function in our world. Lack of happiness colors our view of the world in gray. I would say, then, that it seems unwise to neglect our own happiness.

Social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) amplifies the “turn the world gray” effect. It’s widely understood that the overwhelming majority of people on social media portray only the positive, happy parts of their lives. This leads to an insidious trick we play on ourselves. Here is the lie we tell ourselves: A lot of people, maybe most people, are happier than me.

We see the lives of others through social media at a carefully-selected distance. From that distance, their lives look amazing. They are always smiling, their Christmas gatherings are picture-perfect, and their children have straight teeth and are beautiful, respectful, and successful.

What we don’t see are the things they don’t want to air in public. We don’t get transcripts of the arguments that ruin dinners on normal, boring Tuesdays. We don’t get anecdotes about the child falling into drug abuse before she’s out of high school. We don’t see video and hear audio of slamming doors and a strained marriage. The gatekeeper of social media keeps our understanding at bay, and from that distance we see people with better lives than ours.

But it’s not true. I think of a gal with whom I attended elementary school and college. She grew up a block from me, and she was a  lovely and gracious person. The last time I saw her, at college, she was engaged to a basketball star from my high school (he’s a great guy, too). Their four beautiful kids are athletic and smart. Every picture of them just bursts with fun and good feelings. They all seem to live charmed lives, moving from success to success. The very picture of happiness. Privately, though, I learned from her that her father died not long after we were in college. That part wasn’t on her publicly-available page. Life has not been an unbroken chain of happy moments for her.

During the second week of the enCompass Clues teaching series, our illustrious pastor Kevin was talking about happiness and said this in a facetious aside:

[T]here’s always a few obnoxious people in every church who got it all. They always get the parking space, they have the happy family, their job is miraculous, and they go around looking at the rest of us like “What’s wrong with you? I’ve got the parking spaces and the happy family and the perfect job. Jesus does this for me; why doesn’t he do that for you?”

This got me thinking. If there were any such people, then my earthly nature would probably indeed find them annoying, but I don’t think there are any perfectly happy people in our church, or in any church, or in any community of any type anywhere on the planet. Happiness just doesn’t work like that. It comes and goes. It’s fleeting and hard to grasp and elusive. It isn’t Joy.

Romans 12:12 (NIV) says “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Patient in affliction and joyful in hope at the same time? That seems hard to do, but it’s what we’re called to pursue. Speaking of the Macedonian churches, Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:2 (NIV) says: “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” Right in the midst of a very severe trial and extreme poverty, they had overflowing joy. Wow. Pretty impressive. Very unusual. Very unlike me, I’m afraid.

But also attainable for me and for you and for Joe or Jane Average Christian, because it’s been made available to all who believe in Jesus. Learning to live in Joy in the midst of trials, no matter who you are, where you live, or the degree to which others judge the severity of your trials, is something we, as Christians, should all do.

I mean, what’s the alternative? Be sourpusses? No thanks. I choose life, with all it implies, including Joy. Choose it with me.

Weird Uncles, Crazy Cousins, Wacky Aunts – Our Family

By: Samantha Sir

SamanthaHey, enCompass family! This year has been transformative for me, to say the least. It was my second year of coming to enCompass services, but really my first year of coming regularly. Although I haven’t been able to get as involved as I would like, I have finally let myself feel a part of this family. I am going to talk a little bit about the ways I see God working in enCompass and what God has been doing in my life, and how they work together. I hope it is encouraging to you.

When I first came to enCompass, I did not let myself get attached. I have been hurt by the Church in the past and have been a part of several church families, causing me to stay guarded. Through a combination of the authenticity of the sermons, music, and most importantly the people, I have really felt accepted and valued in this family. This is also significant because it is my first church (as an adult – without my parents). As a college student, I long to be a part of a family that includes people of all ages since I’m used to being surrounded by other students in the same stage of life as I am. The adults – the sisters, mothers, fathers and brothers – of enCompass have taken me in, just as the body of Christ. This started to occur as I came more consistently and did other things such as Connect group, leading worship, and prayer meetings.

This semester was a very rocky, twisty, sometimes dismal chapter of my life. It was a time that I was trying to complete an education in a major that I was not meant to do, but God led me to try it – and fail – so that I could learn to trust Him. I felt useless, incompetent, and frustrated, but God showed me that I can do more than I imagined, and that he can give us more strength and joy than I ever thought possible. The words of encouragement and exhortation I received at enCompass were one of the ways that God did this.

When He finally ended that journey, showing me a different path, I learned to listen to him. He had been telling me deep down that I was not using my gifts and passions fully, and that I was not a fit for the job that I was striving for, but I didn’t listen until very late in the process. Even though I was not very connected with enCompass throughout this process, they were praying for me. Also, the truth that I heard on Sundays lingered in my brain and heart throughout the week, and the Lord used it to speak to me. As the chapter ended and I was freed, I started getting more connected, and found that even though I felt as if I had offered nothing these past months – because I was physically and spiritually not able to – the people of enCompass were not bitter, guarded, or annoyed. No, instead, they embraced me and showed me that I am valued for just being there, not for what I accomplished.

This year, I have seen what sets enCompass apart from a lot of other churches. We still have room for improvement, but we are acting more as a family and a body of parts working together. I have seen growth, not necessarily in numbers, but in becoming a family in which we have the weird uncles, crazy cousins, wacky aunts, and everyone has their issues, but we love each other. As believers, we need to be real. We need to accept our own flaws and the flaws of others. I have seen this developing at enCompass. In fact, the weirdness makes me feel so at home that I almost feel… normal!! … Well, I don’t believe in normal, but seriously, I feel a part of this family. I have room for improvement too, but I look forward to seeing how we continue to grow together.

We can’t do this alone. Jesus made us to live in community with each other, loving and serving as he showed us to by example. Let’s keep striving for this and learning what this means in our own lives. As I learned this year, there are seasons in which I may have nothing to offer, but I am still valued as a part of the body! We are all called to love each other and be loved, and we do this by being open and vulnerable to God working through each person.

 

 

Fortifying the City

By: Sarah Arend

PillarsI’ve had some thoughts rattling around in my head recently. They’re about being equipped to stand against the enemy’s attacks. I’m a senior at Concordia Academy and oftentimes I feel really safe at Concordia; I know that I have people who will support and love me, I am comfortable there, I’ve been there for four years. But the fact of the matter is, in reality I’m not that safe [5]. In fact, nowhere that I go will really be safe. Nothing is safe because we have an enemy. And this enemy is going to attack, because he seeks our destruction at all times [1]. This means that no matter how safe I may feel like I am, I must be on my guard. And when I am in a place that is protected, that is the time to spring into action to prepare for an attack. It is not the time to get lazy or complacent.

It’s the idea of fortifying the city in peace [2]. If a city waits until it is under attack to fortify itself, its efforts will be far less effective and it will weaken itself because it must divide its forces. As Christians, we are far more vulnerable if we wait until we are under attack to go to the Word and to seek God. We need to internalize the truth before the attacks come so that when they do (which they will) we will already be equipped. In times of peace, or even when things seem mundane, it is so easy to get lax. It’s easy to look at past hardships and think, “Well I’m glad that’s over so I can rest,” or even to think, “Hey, you know I deserve a break after all this hard work.” And rest is a good thing. In fact, the Lord sometimes will grant us times of rest, but we should not equate resting with doing nothing. In 2 Chronicles where it talks about the Lord granting rest to Judah (footnote 2), that is for the purpose of fortifying the city. For me, I want resting to be a time of settling Truth within me so deeply it will not be moved. I want resting to be finding verses that speak the Truth of who God is so that I know His voice and character when under siege [6].

There is always more hardship to come, and sometimes it will be worse than we think because the enemy doesn’t play nice [3]. If there is a crack in the wall, he will take the whole thing down. Open the door and he will charge right on in. This is why internalizing the Truth, knowing undeniably who God is, and fortifying the “city” (ourselves)  is paramount. If we do not internalize the Truth in times of peace, we cannot reach for it in battle [4]. If we do not know undeniably who God is when He is easily accessible, how much harder will it be to find Him when we are under attack? And if we do not fortify in peace, we will become quickly depleted when attacks come because we must both defend and strengthen ourselves. The word of God, His Truth, is our weapon, our armor. The more than we can saturate ourselves in it, the stronger that we are. It is a mighty defense so that when evil comes, we can stand our ground. And when the war is over, we will remain standing [7].

 

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
  2. 2 Chronicles 14:6 He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the LORD gave him rest.
  3. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
  4. Jeremiah 12:5 “If you have raced with men on foot
    and they have worn you out,
    how can you compete with horses?
    If you stumblea in safe country,
    how will you manage in the thickets byb the Jordan?
  1. 1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
  2. 1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
  3. Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

The Cherith Experience

By: Maran Halverson

CherithHave you ever stuffed 12 marshmallows in your mouth at once? Or watched shooting stars at 2am? Or eaten pudding through pantyhose? Or had a food fight with week old oatmeal? Or dressed up like a clown for dinner?

At Camp Cherith, these are just everyday, “normal” activities. Campers and staff alike have the opportunity to be their goofy, authentic selves while learning new skills, making lifelong friendships, and getting pushed outside their comfort zones.

Camp Cherith has been an essential and life changing part of my life for over fourteen years. Like many other staff and campers at Cherith, this camp has impacted my spiritual life, friendships, and sense of adventure in countless ways. As a camper, I had the chance to learn fun skills such as archery, kayaking, outdoor cooking, guitar, and water skiing. Camp also created a safe space that encouraged me to try things I would have never tried at home. If you had told my nine-year-old self that someday as a camp staff member I would dress up in an 80’s business suit and charge through the camp dining hall holding a live duck as part of a skit, I would have said you were nuts. But somehow the environment and community at Camp Cherith fosters a sense of goofiness and fearlessness – all while confirming that no matter what, we are all fully and equally loved by Christ.

The staff that poured their time, energy, and love into me at camp ensured that I connected each activity back to my relationship with God. The schedule at Cherith provides a perfect balance of having tons of fun, making connections, and learning about Christ in different settings. As a camper, Cherith provided a refreshing reminder of my identity and worth. Then as a staff member, Cherith provided me with the opportunity to pour prayer and biblical truth into campers while they in turn taught me about faith and authenticity.

Volunteering at Camp Cherith to prepare it for the summer is a wonderful ministry opportunity because it gives you the chance to invest in and serve its many staff and campers. Cherith is truly an incredible place, and I think that investing your time, energy, and prayer into this camp will reap incredible rewards this summer. AKA if you haven’t signed up to volunteer over Memorial Day Weekend, GO DO IT! I can guarantee you’ll have a blast and that your efforts will make a huge difference!

Mind Mountains

By: Ben Behnen

Mind Mountains PicAbout a week ago, I had a conversation with my parents over the phone. I was recently accepted into the marriage and family therapy program at St. Mary’s University, and I wanted to settle with my mom and dad that this was the right choice. The conversation began delightfully because my parents are the sweetest and silliest. Soon enough, however, we got down to business. They started asking questions about what my schedule would look like, when I would have to start making payments, how much those payments would be etc.

My head started to ache and race as I realized that I had no idea the answer to most of these crucial questions. I became defensive and shut down inside, to no fault of my parents. They were just looking out for my best interest. However, I felt really inadequate, really small and incapable.

After I hung up, my thoughts started to race faster and I could feel anxiety building up inside me. It got to a point where I knew I had to go for a walk and get some air. I talked to God about it and that helped some. But for the rest of the week these thoughts loomed large, like mountains I’m trying to climb over or push away.

Recently I have been learning just how prominent these “mind mountains” have been in my thought life. For a long while it seems like I’ve been surrounded by them – whether it’s worries about grad school, or if I’m doing this Christianity thing right, or if I’ll ever find that special someone. These formidable, scary thoughts form this mountain range in my head, and it always seems like I have to tackle at least one (usually multiple) of them right now. And I can’t. I just don’t have all the answers or even know where to start. But I still feel like I have to do something about them, so I’ll ruminate over and over about them.

After a long week of this worrying cycle, the glorious weekend showed up with beautiful weather. I thought it might be nice to watch the sunset, so I stuffed my hammock and a blanket in a backpack and drove to the superb lakeside view on campus. I found a friendly pair of evergreens, strung up my hammock, and sunk in. I probably got there about an hour before the sun would fully set, and felt a little restless. I checked my phone a couple times but thankfully it died on me. Eventually I decided to just sit and watch.

I sat and watched for that full hour. I saw muskrats swim calmly on by the shore. I heard birds cut through the cool evening air. I smelled the damp freshness of the lake. And when the heart of the night emerged, when the soft, heavenly pink toward the west mingled with the deep blue of the north, a thought slipped into my mind: maybe all of this is good?

And with that thought, it was as if my soul heaved a deep sigh.

I don’t know how to handle these mountains of mine. I don’t have the strength to move them or the know-how to scale them. Regardless of what I’m capable of, though, these are good. These mountains – scary and daunting and insurmountable as they may be – they are good.

I think they are good because God formed them. And I think they are good because God led me up the one I’m standing on now. I look back and realize the mountain range is only in front of me. Behind me is this rich view of a million miles travelled with my God. Sometimes I forget we’ve been going at this for quite some time now. Nevertheless, he’s sure to remind me and he’s sure to point out all the little good things he’s done.

So if all that has been is good, why not all that will be? I may get scared and confused and lost, but I’d like to think at the end, when I’ve worried my last, God will look me in the eye and point behind me. And there we’ll just sit and watch. For an hour, maybe two. Maybe the time won’t matter at that point. And we’ll look over this great mountain range and everything will seem so small, so good.