“God doesn’t tell you to do hard things so He can stand back and laugh and watch you struggle. He tells you to do things the things that He knows are gonna work out to your good in the end.” Joyce Meyer
Arriving atop of the overlook of Swan Falls Dam I could see the entire valley below with the Snake River running from one end to the other. It was breathtaking! We unloaded our bikes from the trailer with the intensity of the thunder and lurking clouds rolling in. “Hopefully it will just pass us by,” I commented to my husband. The winds started picking up. My son and I carried Nate out of the truck and loaded him into his hand cycle. This routine isn’t quick as we strap on his helmet, buckle his gloves, tighten his chest strap, and help him find his balance. Our new Chair The Hope shirts start to be spotted with rain and we soon realize, we may need to postpone our Plan A until the storm passes. We quickly undo everything that we just secured Nate into his chair with and we fireman carry him back to the truck to gain shelter. “Come on! It was sunny 10 minutes ago,” I yell in my mind, “How can we make a 1,200 mile ride if every time we load up the entire family, including the dog and 6 bikes, the weather decides to throw us a one, two punch?”
We drove the steep windy road down to the bottom of the canyon and watched the droplets dance off the swiftly running river. Clarity came to me as I watched the clouds part and the rain slow. “I give you challenges not to just push you, teach you, and help you rise to new levels. I give you challenges to see if you will trust in me!” These thoughts flowed into my mind as if someone were speaking to my heart.
With the clouds heading northward and the pavement freshly rinsed of dust, we unloaded the bikes again and set out for Plan B. We decided that we were going to take on a bigger challenge, we would bike up the strenuous switchbacks of Swan Falls Dam. Climbing 700 feet in elevation in 1.2 miles! This was not in our earlier plan, but when you stare at the road less travelled and know that God has other plans for you to grow, you need to take them.
Nate drove the truck and trailer to gravel pullouts along the path to give us small goals to reach and allowed us to know that we were not alone. We could stop and receive help at any point if needed, but as we would hear Nate’s encouraging voice, we all continued to conquer the hill together. All four of our kids and I made the taxing ride to the summit and the sense of accomplishment was heard throughout the gorge below as we all screamed out our excitement.
To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure all of what God has in store for our family by doing this 1,200 mile bike ride. But I do know that the lessons we are learning from cycling are creating lasting memories and strength that we will always cherish.