Today I welcome my new friend Katie Axelson to the blog. I first met Katie through a writer’s community, Tribe Writers, and invited her to guest post on Walking Deeper. I read her ebook, Jesus Shoes: Following His Footsteps Through the Latin American Mission Field, and it’s a-ma-zing. Check out her bio at the end of her post and learn how you can grab your free copy. Thank you Katie, for inspiring us to live a story worth telling.
I cursed the cross once.
I’m not proud of it but it happened.
The month we lived in Ecuador my friends and I picked up a new favorite hobby: hiking volcanoes.
I didn’t hate it.
But neither did I love it.
It stretched me, grew me, and challenged me.
And I don’t just mean physically.
That’s how I ended up cursing the cross.
We were told the volcano would take forty-five minutes to hike. Oh and you could do it in heels.
We skipped the heels but used that time estimate when we planned our day.
The bus schedule left little margin for error and time adjustments.
Forty-five minutes into the hike we figured we were getting close.
SURELY we HAD to be getting close.
Spoiler alert: we weren’t even close.
We rounded a corner of the trail and saw the cross—the destination, the top of the volcano—still further away than we’d already come.
That’s when I said a naughty word.
It wasn’t meant at Jesus. Though His name might have come out with it.
It was in frustration. In desperation. In exhaustion
And that’s where Jesus always meets us: in frustration, desperation, and exhaustion. tweet
It’s in those moments when nothing but the naughty words come, those moments when we don’t think we can take another step, those moments when we’re done.
When we’ve been lied to.
We’re ready to call it quits, turn around, and go back to where we came from.
Those moments are just plain hard.
But I learned a long time ago that hard journeys are better traveled in pairs.
So my hiking buddy and I started to laugh.
First at my naughty reaction to the beautiful symbol of our redemption.
Then at how muddy our tennis shoes were—because after all, this hike supposedly could be done in heels.
The time constraints of the day faded away as we looked around at the picturesque scenery.
Yes, something good was indeed happening.
Both around us and within us.
We were walking in, breathing in, and dwelling in His presence.
He was walking along side us—giving us the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
He was walking before us—guiding us, leading us to the top.
He was walking behind us—pushing us upward closer to Him.
He was walking within us—allowing us to see what He sees.
And He was offering us more grace, love, and mercy that we could have ever imagined.
Even to the missionary who says dirty words.
Even to the son afraid to come home.
Even to the daughter too exhausted to lift her head.
He reaches out His hand, lifts it for her, and holds it gently to His chest.
He takes the angry words, swallows them, and transforms them into love flowing from His eyes.
Let Him love you—even if you don’t want to be loved.
Even if you don’t think you deserve (or need) the kind of love He’s offering.
Let Him offer grace—even if you think you have to earn it.
Let Him offer freedom—freedom to dance, to sing, to hike, and to laugh.
Let Him be both the destination and the journey partner.
We eventually made it to the top of the volcano (and back down again).
Our mud-caked clothing recovered, our sore legs strengthened, and our hearts refreshed.
It was worth every step, every slip, every missed bus, and every foul word.
Because it reminded us that He is indeed faithful.
What in your life reminds you of His faithfulness?
God calls Katie His daughter and lets her earn a living as a writer, editor, and speaker. She’s striving to live a story worth telling and in 2014 that story took her around the world as a missionary. She used those stories to write a book called Jesus Shoes: Following His Footsteps Through the Latin American Mission Field. It’s available for free at KatieAxelson.com. You can also find Katie on all of the miscellaneous social media sites (@KatieAxelson).