Meeting your mountains // Estes Park, Colorado

I took off en route to the airport at 2 AM to catch my 5 am flight out to Denver anticipating the sights of the beautiful mountains + cooler air and a change in scenery. I had NO clue what I was getting myself into, and I most definitely did not bring enough clothing. I was headed to CO to finally meet up with my dear friend Molly with For The West and Wild Photography. I knew we were going to capture plenty of beautiful content, but I didn't quite know just what I was in for.

I found Molly about a year ago on instagram and instantly fell in LOVE with her work, style, and original, raw content. Molly is someone that I look up to as a woman after God’s own heart, + of course as a fellow photographer. After meeting Molly for the first time I can say that she is one of the most bubbly, genuine souls in my life at the moment, and I am so thankful that she is here!

I hopped in the truck with Molly and we began pondering on ideas and trying to figure out the vision we wanted to capture. There are plenty of places that I have dreamt of going in my 20 years in this life, but I NEVER imagined seeing the beautiful sights that I got to see this week. Without God rerouting my plans, I would not have faced my mountains.

Molly said that we should go to the Rocky Mountain National Park and I agreed right away. I didn’t know what it looked like, nor had I ventured there before, so in true 2018 fashion, I went to Google. I couldn’t believe the beauty I was seeing and I was STOKED! I had always heard how beautiful Estes Park, Colorado was and I had never seen true snowcapped mountains- much less had I ever seen more than a foot of snow! I had plans in the future to visit, but I had no clue I would get to explore such a beautiful place this week. While taking part in a 40 day prayer challenge called “Draw the Circle”- after reading the book “The Circle Maker”- I had been led to pray to God for a place, in which I could feel his presence, and a person in which I could share the victories that my Father is working in this season of my life with. I prayed for these two things to surface in due time, but little did I know that I would encounter both of these within 3 days of each other, and only 4 days after praying fervently. The place that God provided to me was the mountains, and the person that I got to share these victories with was my dear friend Molly. We exchanged stories and talked about the work God was doing in our lives, and in these moments I knew I did not end up here this week by happenstance.

I am certain that people live their whole lives and never see places this beautiful, and for that reason I want to take a second to talk about the season of life that I am enduring. I want to talk about my mountains. Lately, God has taken my comfortable and inevitably created the uncomfortable. He stripped away everything I had known for the past year and pulled my heart in a completely different direction. I think it is important for us as believers to understand that sometimes God wrecks our plans, before they wreck us. I had always heard this but I had never actually put the phrase into perspective, or understood it. Take it from me, when you aren’t doing things God’s way, he will intervene. He will pull you away and send you down a blind path- At first this new path will be flat out scary, sad, and it may leave you feeling hopeless. BUT, you must have hope! God doesn’t want you to know you’re growing, he wants you to trust his grace. If we knew that we were growing- If we knew the ending before it even began, we would think that we could walk through this life alone. God teaches us to bend, but not to break, because we can lean on His word and His promises. God’s Will will have a way, & His way is immensely better than our way.

When it seems it has been pouring for months and you can’t catch a break, grab hold of this- The storm is a sign that grace is on the way. If you’re going through a storm, don’t think for a second that God has left you. The devil does not attack what isn’t valuable and God would not guard someone who isn’t in a position to score. What God has for you, is for you, and not one person nor thing can get in the way of that or take it away from you. I think we have to share each other’s pain, step into each others struggles, and bare one another’s brokenness in order to truly feel and be at home- to build God’s home- which is one another. Molly and the mountains built me up this week. Seeing the mountains made me realize that God has created things far larger than myself. I have always told myself that if God can move mountains, he can move people to. If God can spread the waters, he can heal your heart, and my heart, and his heart, and their heart.

If you’re facing a difficult season in life, I want you to know that you can find your mountains, too. You can find peace in God’s word. There you will find hope + new beginnings- New beginnings filled with bravery, strength, beauty, and success. God does not take a single thing from you without the intention of replacing it with something far more significant. Today, I hope that you don’t stop knocking- on your dreams, on opportunities, on people, on yourself, on your mountains. I pray that you come to your mountains as you are. Flawed, broken, hurt. God loves us where we are, but he loves us far too much to leave us there. More times than others God teaches our feet to dance upon disappointment, but good things come to those who keep the faith. When it seems everything’s going wrong, we must stay right. C.S. Lewis said it best. “Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.”

In whatever season of life you may be enduring, hold fast to your strength. Hold fast to the hope that God has placed within your soul. This week I caught a last minute flight and I faced my mountains. I fell, and I got back up. It takes courage to stand when you have been pushed flat on your butt. It takes hope to know that better days are coming. It takes faith to trust the process and believe in things that you cannot see. My friends, it takes Jesus to pull you out of the waters, love you unconditionally, and make you new again. He makes us new when we rejoice in the pain, when we trust the process, when we overcome the small hills on the way to our mountains, and when we trust that within the promises of Jesus Christ, better days are coming.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. -Psalm 30:5

Madi Wagner