Stupid Rocks!!! – by Ashley Foxworthy

June 8, 2015

{Ashley Foxworthy is an adaptive athlete. This means she participates in various athletic activities using people, specialized equipment and God’s strength to overcome physical obstacles. Although Ashley’s challenges are many the most obvious are her incomplete spinal cord injury and her use of a wheelchair. Ashley was blessed that her spinal cord was no completely damaged but she experiences differing levels of strength, sensation and movement from mid-chest down.}

This photo was towards the end of my first day of adventures in the ice gorge in Ouray, CO. Up until this spot I had been crawling on my hands and knees, carrying my large pack of gear, wearing more gear and using short crutches or ice tools (ice axes) to help maintain my balance. It had been well over an hour since I cheerfully, crazily accepted the challenge and adventure of getting myself out of the gorge on the same trail the hikers used. When I came in I was shuttled via snowmobile, rope rigging and some amazingly strong backs carrying me.

Now, that cheerful smile had left my face. I’m not sure I could describe the look that was on my face because my mouth never stopped moving with all of the expletive terms I expressed. My thoughts had quickly faded from “I got this. Nothing can stop me.” To “What the hell were you thinking? What are you doing here in the middle of nowhere when you can’t even walk upright? What are you trying to prove and to whom are you proving it…OOOOUUUUUCCCHHHHH STUPID ROCK!!!!” That is the moment in this picture.

I had already scaled two ice faces, crawled for well over an hour through deep, drudging snow. I even crossed a huge log. (Fear not, those hilarious pictures will be shared later.) I am now ascending what is conveniently called the “Crampon Trail.” Normal climbers do not use a rope system but are required to wear crampons. For my non-climbing friends, those are the orange long spikes you see affixed to the bottom of my orange boots. With crampons, stepping on someone’s toes takes on a whole new meaning.

IMG_4051After everything I had conquered and overcome, this rock stopped me dead in my tracks. I could not move forward. I tried multiple times to hump my leg over the top, ultimately wasting more energy than I had left. I looked up thinking “the top is right there, I just have to make it over this one obstacle and I’ll be there.” I couldn’t trick myself. I have been in mountaineering way too long to not know about the false summit mentality. Honestly I had never touched this trail and I had no idea where the end was or how many more obstacles there may be. I was stuck. Stupid rock!

I have heard the term perseverance applied to me as a person and to my circumstances so I decided to figure out what it really means. Dictionary.com has two separate definitions. “1. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. 2. Theological definition. Continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition; the action or condition or instance of persevering.”

There are many verses on perseverance in the Bible. We also hear amazing stories of people conquering mountains and surviving unthinkable circumstances. Perseverance is definitely a gift God has given to us. “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11 NIV.

I love God’s promises. I live off of God’s promises. They are food for my heart and mind, far from the street scraps this world feeds me. The rock in this picture was very small compared to the many things I had persevered through and overcome. Yet, somehow it stopped me. This is how my life seems sometimes.

Honestly, this is how my life seems right now. I am at a standstill. I feel like I am out of energy. I have no more ropes or tools to overcome the rock. I am looking up at the top dreaming of seeing the summit and praying that it comes very soon. I will continue to persevere and am thankful that I have the Holy Spirit crawling along with me, groaning and interceding when I don’t have the words. Along with blessing us in our persevering, He blesses us in our rest. I wish I had pictures to share with you of what it looked like when I finally gave up on my own strength, collapsed on the trail, and lifted my head in awe of His amazing creation. However, these wonders are only memories to remind me of His promises. I will keep climbing but right now I am exhausted and will rest.

God will bless you in your persevering. Never forget that He will give you the strength to climb on, whether the rock is big or small. Call out to God in your struggles. Ask Him the questions of your heart. He already knows the question and the answer. Ask Him for rest and most of all thank Him for blessing you with the strength to overcome the “stupid rocks” in this world.


About Ashley

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I 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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