Remember this picture? Life Changer.
Well, here is the story behind my comment. Nathan is from beautiful northern California. And I mean NORTH; about 100 miles south of Oregon. It is gorgeous! Before I knew anything about where he was from, I made a comment like “I want to live where it is seventy degrees all year long.” He told me that he is from somewhere like that and I didn’t believe him! If there was such a utopia in this country, why on earth was I living in Florida? Eventually I would know the answer to that.
So my first visit to northern California was wonderful. Actually dreamy and for a variety of reasons – like Nathan proposed to me! But also, I met his family, visited Patrick’s Point (now a HUGE family favorite) and walked among the redwoods. I had never seen such beautiful cliffs with the ocean spraying up over them nor had I ever seen a tree big enough to drive through! Add an engagement and it was pretty much a dream come true!
Nathan has a favorite place he loved to visit and he calls it The Loop. It is a trail through the Redwoods and it is very peaceful. Well, until the sun starts to go down. I vividly remember sitting on the bench like halfway through The Loop talking about everything under the sun. It was perfect. No one was around. It was quiet, peaceful and spiritual. We lost track of time and Nathan said we needed to hurry to get back to the car before it got dark. We did not have a flashlight. No, we did not have a flashlight and we were alone in the middle of the forest.
With a sense of urgency, Nathan grabbed my hand and we began what felt like an extremely long way back. This was my first time on trail so I felt a bit of panic. The trail was no obstacle for Nathan. He was very deliberate in his movements; He had been on it so many times he walked with confidence. I, on the other hand was about to give up and spend the night in the forest where grizzly bears would come and kill me or giant bugs would crawl on me in my sleep. I was stressed.
But then in a moment, I had a sort of vision. I imagined Adam and Eve. I imagined as they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Leaving behind an amazing place full of beauty, life and peace. Forced to journey into an unknown place where danger and unhappiness could be around every corner. Eve, I am sure was worried just as I was. But as I held Nathan’s hand (tighter and tighter) I felt more hopeful. Adam was likely as Nathan; faithful, determined and feeling the responsibility that was on his shoulders.
It grew darker and I could not see anything in front of me, beside me or behind me. Yet, as long as I was holding on to Nathan (with both hands by that point) I knew we would make it. As we exited the trail and returned to the car, I was nearly overwhelmed. It was like it was a vision for the marriage we were going to create. We did it! It was dark and scary and we could have given up but Nathan led us back to safety. It was a life changer.
Nathan and I have been married for 15 years now. Often I forget this experience. Often I try to win the battles on my own. But if I just remember that if Nathan and I stick together and trust completely on the Lord, we will be led THROUGH the darkness and scary places. We won’t be able to avoid them completely because we are here to show that we will choose God despite trials. But together we can do anything.