It’s raining hard today. I’m grateful for it, as it’s keeping me indoors for a bit, allowing opportunity for some reflection. Quite a lot has happened in this past week. I’m realizing already here I move from one thing to the next so quickly, with long work days and adventurous weekends, today rain is a blessing.
This week I began working at my job for the summer, Juneau Trading Company. It’s a souvenir shop right off the docks where the cruise ships board, each day hundreds of people come through our doors from all over the world, we’re usually the first stop for them in Juneau. It’s an enjoyable job, I work with five other people from project and our boss is the greatest lady. Already we’ve had the opportunity to tell many tourists about what brought us here to Juneau this Summer and it’s only the first week of work.
Wednesday was a bit of a challenge. After a long day of work I was exhausted, but the women’s project was told to pile into cars with rain gear, a backpack and journal. We were driven to the head of Perseverance Trail, the trail that leads to mt. Juneau. For those of you that don’t know, Juneau Summer Project is split into Men and Women’s projects, and though we do lots of things with the guys project, a large amount of our teaching is focused on womanhood development, which was the focus of this night on the trail. At the beginning we were told to journal lies that we as women encounter throughout our lives, and how these lies have manifested themselves into our lives personally. After that we began our hike in a single file line, each of us connected to the girl in front of us. Some of us were blindfolded, some were told we couldn’t talk and some could hike uninhibited. Throughout our hike at certain checkpoints we were told to collect large rocks and put them in our packs, each rock representing a lie we’ve experienced personally. Throughout the hike our leaders would speak lies to us, common things we believe about ourselves such as, “I have nothing to offer” “Nobody really knows me, and if they did they wouldn’t like what they’d see” “I am unable to lead others spiritually because of my past” “You’re not good enough.” One of our leaders however spoke truth throughout the hike, how God sees us despite the lies we face each day. As the hike continued the rocks representing the lies accumulated, and I grew mentally, physically and spiritually weary. Forced to reflect on the lies I fall into believing, seeing myself differently than God sees me. Our hike ended when we reached a wooded lookout over the mountain’s waterfall. At the beauty of the rushing water we rested, reflecting on the lies that were weighing down our packs. Then one by one we threw those rocks and burdens into the waterfall. Gone. A weight off our back. Lost to the rushing water below us. Covered continuously by the white foam of the rapids. The hike down was silent and full of reflection. I began thinking how my life would look now that those lies have been identified and surrendered to Christ. It was painful realizing it wasn’t going to be as easy as throwing a rock off the mountain, but I do believe this hike has put me on a trajectory of change for this summer.
Friday we had off work and spent our morning volunteering and serving the city of Juneau. My group served at Love Inc., an organization that provides resources to those in need in Juneau. We worked at their warehouse, putting together bed frames before they will be delivered to needy families. Some members of our group actually were able to make deliveries, to share love and furniture with those in need. I spent a good amount of time weeding around the warehouse and office.
After serving a large group of us set out to climb Mt. Juneau, a mountain rising 3,500 feet from the trailhead that begins at sea level. The hike was incredibly challenging. I had never hiked something quite as steep or rocky. We traversed winding brooks and waterfalls, patches 30 feet long of snow, boulders, all while experiencing breathtaking views of the city of Juneau as well as neighboring mountains. After summiting I felt as though I could accomplish anything. My hikers endorphins were pumping and amidst the magnificent creation I could feel nothing but immense peace and happiness. I can’t believe how blessed I am to have the opportunity to experience such amazing things here.
Yesterday we spent a good amount of our day in the downtown area of Juneau with the intention of initiating conversation with locals and tourists. We used the tool of soularium cards, a set of 50 photographs that we use to have people describe their lives to us. Through hearing about their life and showing we actually care, we can learn a little of where they’re at spiritually and share a little about what God has done in our lives. Some members of our project had some really great conversations, where people really opened up about their lives and were open to hearing about what Christ has done for us, and the love He has for them. I was a little discouraged as our group didn’t have any conversations like that, but God really showed me that often times this impact isn’t seen by us, and the change that occurs because of that day isn’t up to us but Him.
Today I attended my second service at Calvary Fellowship Church. The worship there is absolutely incredible, and simple, and it’s apparent that congregation has a huge heart for God. Today we sang one of my favorite Jon Foreman songs, “House of God Forever.” These words really stuck out to me:
He makes me rest in fields of green, With quiet streams.
After this busy week of work, outreach, serving, mountain summiting and some hard realizations of lies in my life. Today I am resting, and I’m grateful for that.