Rachel Awtrey

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Tree Hugger

I promised to share my stories of how the Lord fulfills His promises; be encouraged!

Today I worked on a ropes course named “High Ropes.” It’s exactly what it sounds like, a course 50 feet up in the trees of California. I was stationed in an evergreen waiting for guests to climb up in order to help them transfer their equipment safely to cross the obstacles.

I like the idea of interaction with the guests; however, the idea of climbing the tree and belaying myself through a process called “lead climbing” scares me (this was the exact way my daddy fell).  What an opportunity for the Devil to roll out his red carpet and walk into the situation. Without thinking, my eyes watered as I stared up to the small platform I would be stationed on for three hours.

I heard His voice again, “Rachel, sometimes you have to climb a tree in order to see what I have for you and receive.”  So I climbed. I reached the platform and asked, “What do you have for me up here today? Why do you have me here?” Guests came through, guests crossed my path, guests followed my instructions and then the routine broke. 

A sweet older gentleman that I had seen on the ranch during the week, quietly and anxiously waited for my next instruction in order to get back on the ground as soon as possible. He told me his name was Michael and that he was very uncomfortable. He transferred his carribeaners and started walking across a floating bridge of wooden slats. As his gripped his ropes with white knuckles he exclaimed, “I trust you, I trust you!”

At first I was flattered. But then without thinking, a word came out of my mouth and I responded to him, “Why? Why do you trust me? You’ve known me for thirty minutes at most.” 

He answered, “But, you know what you’re doing.” I reflected on the training we had that lasted about one and a half weeks and laughed. I then invited the Holy Spirit to use me and knew that this was the moment I asked for when I summited the tree. “How would your life be different if you trusted the Lord similar to the way you trust me?” the Holy Spirit said through me. 

Michael wept and knew the answer. He told me the burdens he was carrying up the tree and I prayed and encouraged him to leave the burdens in the tree with me and zip line back down without them. 

Later, I had other staff come up to me and tell me that sweet Michael had told them about our Devine encounter in the tree. I quietly thanked my God for everything I had learned. 

A leader makes us do something we don’t want to do in order to learn something we’ve always wanted to learn. My God is a leader. 

I had to climb a tree to summit in order to learn something and have an encounter with my Savior while encouraging another.

What tree are you climbing? Persevere. Keep climbing. Not only is the view worth it, but He will meet you there. 

Rachel AwtreyComment