7:11 am. I’m up and ready for the day, feeling rested and relaxed after sleeping on
a bed an air mattress back at Ryan and Susan’s house in Emmett, Idaho. As I step outside, the air feels cool and refreshing – the kind of brisk morning that you know will turn into a hot summer’s day. I glance at the sky and notice a few dark clouds and reflect: that last morning on the river we did think a front could be coming in. Unmotivated to run for the sake of running or fitness, I pop back inside and boil some hot water for a cup of instant coffee left over from the trip. Not a run first thing? Instant coffee? Boy – things have changed. As I sit with my cup of coffee, now back outside, I munch on a piece of toast with PB, raspberry jam and a smushed banana, contemplating the events of the past few weeks. After 74 days of being on the road for our film tour, a week in Golden, BC for Wilderness First Aid, a week prepping for our Survive & Thrive trip and two full weeks on the water, I can fully say it’s been a time of back-to-back (to back-to-back!) goodness. The word that sums it up for me right now is “contentment.” I feel content to have had these experiences, content with their outcomes, content to now be going back home, and content in where Mikey and I are at in life.
The trip this last week was with a group of 40-50+ year old women from Anacortes, Washington who are part of a counselling group. It was a week of embracing new, uncomfortable experiences, meeting and overcoming fears head on, physical pushes, and real life change.
The whole group at the Rome, OR launch site.
Peeing in the river becomes the norm plus cute Amy at Weeping Wall (natural springs where we fill up our water). Can you spot me in the background of the first photo posing away?
Judy and I warming up in the natural hot springs plus the women hiking in Chalk Basin.
A killer team of female guides (Susan, Katherine, Megan, me & Kady) giving it some HEAT plus new meaning to the word “pothead” in The Cave.
Middle-aged women who are fearful of the rapids don’t eat as much, it turns out, as fearless teenage boys. Here, Katherine is trying to get the group to eat the first of 5 bags of ‘Nilla Wafers we had throughout our trip!
Dawn, being crowned the “Adventure Babe” after facing her fears on the river.
A view of the kayaks plus the group leader Cindy, post-flip and spill on a rock a few days earlier, which left her with rough back spasms throughout the trip. She was a trooper and made it through the trip and this day chose to eat her PB + honey pita in the river while floating!
Me getting my kayak on through some small wave trains!
It was a trip that forced us as guides to be aware, alert and on our game. it was a time for us to bond as women and to embrace the sharing, the tears and the life stories of one another. It was a time to watch women, all but one of whom are moms of 2 – 7 kids, do something they never thought they could do. Along the way, we saw people overcome fears, learn life lessons about a deeper trust in Christ Jesus and encouraged one another to “drink it in!” as we saw the beauty of God’s creation everywhere.
Me near the top of a new hike from a new-to-us campsite, Pothole Arch; Susan and I with an incredible view behind us! Two trips with this girl this summer!
A soaring red-tail hawk and the Owyhee River snaking before us.
There were so many neat moments on this trip, and as I reflect I am struck with how many incredible moments God crafted for me to enjoy over these past few moments. As soon as we got off the river and Ryan picked us up, the first bit of news I heard from him was, “Oh – Mikey got that job!” I couldn’t help but clap my hands and fist pump into the air. “He got the job?!” I exclaimed, excited for what he’ll now be doing part-time across rural Alberta, training young adult cancer survivors to be leaders in their communities where there is very little support. It was as if the trip finished and God punctuated it with a provision exclamation point; He is taking care of us. We feel so provided for and so content with the direction God is leading, albeit one tiny step at a time.
This morning I read some words from I Timothy that resonated with my heart:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content…For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils….But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, steadfastness, gentleness…As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasures for themselves as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. – I Timothy 6:6-8, 10-11, 17-19.
I was thanking God for that feeling of contentment and then opened my Bible to this passage, where I was reminded that adding godliness to your contentment yields great gains. In other words, being content with life if you’re financially stable and set is good, but you’re kind of missing the point. If we can be content in who we are in Christ regardless of our circumstances and at the same time can pursue faith, righteousness, and living a life like Christ as generous people, we will be truly living life.
We are provided for, not only financially but with new direction from God, great families and friends who support us and experiences that push us out of our comfort zones and grow our stories, all within the realm of pursuing Christ. I am quieted and feeling peaceful this morning as I reflect on all that I have and all that God has provided and feel content. Tomorrow I will be back in Calgary where the hustle and bustle of my sister-in-law’s wedding prep carries on, where I turn my routines from morning sunrises on the river to reading the morning paper, getting my workout in and job searching. Yet in every circumstance I want to say with Paul in Philippians 4:11-13,
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
So here’s to the unknown, which really isn’t so uncertain; to more new experiences as God leads and guides; to his continued hand of provision acting in ways to bring himself glory; to more incredible adventures that remind me of what really matters and help me be content. Back to Canada tomorrow! Now that my cup of joe has settled, I think I’ll head out for that morning run.
Live well & be well, friends!
**edited to add: I did indeed go for a run and enjoyed it so much! Out of my 6 miles, 4 were in the rain and it felt refreshing and fun to be back on land again.
**edited to add: I finally have internet & am posting this from the Boise, ID Airport where I’m en route to Portland, OR & then Calgary-bound! It’s been a fantastic adventure.