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Peace Be Still


Join me as I unpack my journey, onwards and upwards up the Red Tarns track, Mt Cook National Park, New Zealand.

In preparation for our New Zealand trip, I researched several tracks, but my focus was on the Red Tarns track. I literally knew that track word for word from my research. Nothing prepares us for the ‘real thing!’ Does it?!

The track involved my life. And perhaps yours too! A series of steps, some short and of good height, whilst others were deep and steep. Sharp twists and turns, switchbacks that were so relentless they were almost tormenting.

As I made my way across the bridge, which was suspended across the river, my mood was buoyant. My backpack weighed 5kgs with my precious photographic equipment. In my naivety I was clothed with generous layers of clothing consisting of a light puffer jacket, 2 jerseys and a long-sleeved thermal vest. When I reached the other side of the river, I immediately knew I had my work cut out. Within 5 minutes I’d removed all my upper winter clothing except for my thermal vest! 

The weight of my backpack started to make its presence known, early. I started using my tripod as a pole. It was heavy. And its weight became more obvious too as I ascended the mountain!

From approximately 40% of the way up, the temptation to surrender was acute. When we’re in a war, it’s too easy to surrender to the lies of the devil. God gave me the ability to run like the wind. But this was another sort of athletic challenge. Particularly as I’m in my 60’s!

When opposition is intense, seek God for a way through. I sought God for a strategy to make it to the top of the mountain. One of the things He put on my heart was the only time you look back is to see how far you have come.

The battle to override the exhaustion and from stopping my heart from bursting through my chest was to walk for one minute and to rest for 30 seconds. Each step was taken with intentionality. The steps became steeper with sharp turns towards the top, including encountering a moment of attempting to scale a sizeable rock, with waning energy.

As an athlete, I was taught to never look ahead of you when the incline was almost impossible to accomplish. To do what you can in that moment!

God reminded me of an App. It gave me an indication of the distance left to reach the top. My desire to quit so close to the top was so strong that I was on my hands and knees climbing steps, to accomplish what God asked me to do.

Each stage of the momentous climb was a reminder of different stages of my life, and, again, perhaps yours too, when the devil wanted you/me to throw in the towel. This story is for God’s glory. Not self-glorification. At times I used strong bushes to assist me in regaining my strength. Without uprooting them! 

As I neared the ‘summit’ I thought, ‘yes, going down was going to be easy.’ Well, it wasn’t. When I reached the top of the mountain I almost wept. I did a photoshoot up there. The moment was miraculous and sweet!

When I was about to descend a lovely mature man arrived, I encouraged him. He was exhausted too. We shared a moment and took each other’s photos.

I prayed all the way down the mountain. As I was descending, a mature couple were ascending. God helped me encourage them. I’m strong for my age. But my legs and knees had taken a hammering! God most certainly helped me descend.

Keith met me at the bridge, I handed him my heavy backpack and we walked to our vehicle. It is a time I’ll remember how God assists us in being more than conquerors, in Him!