On Belay? – by Ashley Foxworthy

February 2, 2016

Who’s Belaying Your Life?

“Belay (verb): to attach (a rope) to something so that it is secure: to attach a secure rope to (a person) for safety.” (Merriam Webster) When we are rock or ice climbing most climbers use a systematic approach to their set up, climbing, fall protection and equipment maintenance. It is a matter of life or death. Out of all of those systems choosing your climbing partner or guide is paramount.

Climbing Equipment,image of Rockclimbing Gear backgroundOnce you have your trusty, wedgie inducing harness on, you clip into your safety rope. This rope runs through a device, most likely top belay for starters, and back to your partner. Your partner will use a belay device to use weight and friction to stop your rapid descendant should you slip. This system is checked time and time again. All of the equipment, conditions and attitudes are considered. Now the fun stuff begins! Foreign language classes, just kidding. At this point I would say three words I really would like you to know. “Rock” which means a large part of earth is headed in your direction. “Falling” I’ll catch you and I’ll catch what is going on just as soon as I feel my rope go taunt. Finally “belay.” Belay essentially means safety. When we are ready to start playing our own crooked version of cliff hanger the climber looks at his partner and states “on belay?” To which they either delay for safety/set up reasons or state “Belay is on.” Finally. “Ready to climb?” “Climb on.”

I May of 2004 I came to learn just how important that check on your partner and his attitude was. I attended a state-wide firefighting conference right after the academy. I choose a course entitled “Firefighter Safety and Survival.” I knew going in I was going to be put into some pretty extreme scenarios. One of which was the firefighter bail-out. This technique is taught for firefighters who get trapped in a survivable room and must choose to bail out of the window. We all agreed to jump from a third story training tower window… with safety lines and belayers in place. My particular instructor did not pay attention to detail and I leapt 3 stories to the cement ground below.

How thankful I am that my belayer in life is far more attentive.

“Because he love me” says the Lord…. (Wait, wait, wait. Shouldn’t this say “Because I love him?”) “Because he loves me “says the Lord, “I will rescue him; for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16 (NIV)

This week started out as quite a difficult one having to approach secrets I had been hiding. I sat in my truck and begged him to let me down. However, there is no way through this time except to keep climbing up. The best of belayers know the details of the pitch you’re climbing, they know when to take the weight of the rope and let you rest and shake out your hands. They are your cheerleader and coach but they will NEVER let you give up and be let off the wall. If you fail you take a break and tackle it again. Christ is our safety. Not only because He loves us but because we have loved him. There is no better person I can have holding the end of my line and pushing me forwards.

Ashley and Mark Ice Climbing

Ashley and Mark Ice Climbing

As I write this blog it’s January 30, 2016. It’s the anniversary of a tragic moment for my heart and for many of my friend’s hearts. One of my ice climbing guides and overall mountain extraordinaire fell while guiding two European climbers in the San Juan Mtns. Not a single day has gone by in the last year that I haven’t thought of Mark and the many, many lives he touched. This brought me to tears the next day in church. I do not truly know Mark’s heart or if I will see him hanging with Jesus in the next life. NOW is the time to face the reality of heaven and hell. It’s not a nice biblical story you were taught growing up. It’s not those nice sayings at funerals and memorials which we say to comfort family and friends. Heaven and Hell are just as real places as driving to New York City or Montana. Even if you’ve never been there, they exist.

Get bold! You don’t have to go door to door annoying neighbors. Choose Love. God is Love. Show Him to others through your Love reminding them that the ultimate act of love came when Christ gave His life in Love. We may not always get it right, but don’t miss those awesome opportunities to show God’s Love to others.

The more you give the more your own reserve will overflow.

Copyright Ashley Foxworthy


Ashley bio picI have always had an adventurous soul and proudly an “adrenaline junky.” I love to live life not knowing what is around the next corner. Some of these adventures I have chosen, others I have and would not. The combination of adventure, adrenaline and living in Colorado has naturally led me to enjoy the outdoors in ways more than a peaceful hike. Although I used to always enjoy a quiet, relaxing hike. Some of the sports I enjoy include climbing both rock and ice, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, camping and whatever other creative way I can get out and play. As I dig deeper and deeper into the word I relate so much of my adventures with the adventure of following the Holy Spirit. I hope that through sharing those adventures you may be encouraged to step out in faith and follow the crazy adventure God has for you in this life. The climb is most definitely not an easy ride to the top, but the view from the top beats any ache, pain, stumble and fall along the way. So clip into your rope and get ready for the hardest, most rewarding climb of your lifetime. I can’t wait to be at the top with you and view all of God’s splendor.

Ashley is an adaptive athlete. Although she has always had a passion for enjoying the outdoors that passion increased after having a spinal cord injury at 24 causing incomplete paralysis and muscle weakness throughout her trunk and legs. She continues to enjoy wild adventures with the help of adaptive equipment and assistance of others. There have been many ups and downs throughout the years but each reveals more and more of God’s grace and faithfulness.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

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  • Connie Bond February 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Thank you for this insightful and encouraging blog.

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