Photo: Copyright Brendan Henry, Fox Glacier, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ https://goo.gl/7Yw320
So much of climbing is preparation. In order to defeat the ice wall you have to prepare your body, gear and your mind. This is a picture of the mess that was strung throughout my hotel room after my first day of ice climbing in Ouray, CO. Yes, you read that right. No, this was not me embarking on Everest. This was my climbing armor for a single day in the ice gorge. Being an adaptive athlete means more equipment and more specialized equipment. I lack the ability to regulate my body temperature so not packing the correct layers means not only being uncomfortable but serious consequences.
Ephesians 6:14-17 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Anyone who has grown up in the church or Sunday school has probably heard of the armor many times. I feel like when I first reread the passage my brain went “belt of truth, breastplate… yada, yada, yada.” Whoa, wait a second. I know that is most definitely not how I read through my packing list when I prepare to embark on a climb. Every single item must be found, bought, inspected, fitted and possibly altered. See although the group taking us climbing provided some of the equipment I didn’t show up in shorts and a t-shirt and get handed a pack of perfect gear to make the climb. I found everything that I could on my own, then turned to others to help me obtain the rest. Every piece meticulously inspected and packed.
The more you are involved in these activities the more you learn which gear you need to invest more in. However that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried adventures with some really old or cheap gear. After the adventure, success or failure, I get to learn which of my gear needs to be upgraded for the next adventure.
So it is with our spiritual armor. Maybe you’re brand-new to this and are just learning about this armor stuff. You can’t wait until you have every piece of gear exactly as it should be. Maybe you have been lugging around old rusty gear for years. You also can’t buy the cheap stuff and think it will get you through every adventure to come. As you embark on the battles God has for you in this life don’t be afraid to take what you have and enjoy an adventure. However, when you return don’t forget to continuously focus on improving that armor. The tent you camped in the backyard with as a child will not hold up on Everest.
Overall, remember that the Spirit will provide you with your gear but you have to choose to put it on and fight the fight.
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