Lead Me To The Cross

Catherine Ballard

Catherine Ballard

Today was our last day in Costa Rica, what a bitter sweet ending to such an amazing journey God placed us all on.

Yesterday we went on a up mountain hike that was about five or six miles. On the way up were three gigantic crosses about every mile and a half or so. I can truly say I’ve never witnessed Gods beauty like that before. The scenery that I saw was a prime example how creative and beautiful our Father really is. Every little thing on earth has a purpose. From the tree cutter ants, to rocks, and even “cow patties.” They ALL serve a purpose in Gods kingdom.

I’m not one to participate in as much physical endurance as I did yesterday, but by the grace of God, I was able to push myself to my max. Hiking up that mountain was the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life.

As we made our way up to the first cross we all felt a sense of accomplishment. We had a view of the beautiful cities. After we spent some time in reflection we moved on to the second cross.

At this point I was SO physically exhausted I really wanted to give up. I kept telling myself that I was not going to go to the third cross, that I couldn’t do it. I had almost made it to the second cross and that was good enough for me.

During the entire hike, most of us were listening to our ipods, and as I was walking up to the second cross, the song “Lead me to the Cross” just happened to play on mine. Coincidence? I think not. I knew God was trying to open my eyes to the bigger picture. This hike wasn’t about me, it was about my walk with the Lord. My tiredness didn’t matter. I imagined Jesus carrying the cross up Mt Calvary after being brutally beaten and here I was complaining that my legs hurt and only having to carry my ipod. I felt so foolish. I knew if Jesus could do that, I could hike the rest of the way to the third cross for HIM.Hiking to the third cross was definitely the most difficult. The incline increased and now we were having to walk on rocks of all sizes, and slippery clay, compared to grass and dirt on the way to the other two crosses. The anticipation grew as we knew we were getting closer to be at the final cross. With each corner we’d round, and each step we took , we all knew we’d be rewarded with the sense of completion and satisfaction that we’ve made it to the top.After making the last few steps over the last hill, it was as though I was walking through the gates of heaven. I was no longer tired, I seemed to have stopped sweating and my heart rate began to decrease. As I walked up, all I could do was drop to my knees and begin to pray. I could hear Jesus say, “I knew you could do it.” It wasn’t meant to be easy, it was a test. It was Gods way of saying, “Catherine, things in life aren’t meant to be easy. Things are going to get hard. You cant give up on things when they do. With me, you can do anything, you can get through everything that’s put in your path. Whether its climbing this mountain or finally letting go of things you cant change. “ I could hear God saying, “ I’m all you need, I’m all you’ll ever need!” Gods voice spoke volumes to me. I’ve never felt more comfort and peace than I did kneeling down to Jesus at the cross. My faith in the Lord grew drastically over a period of a couple of hours, but even more through the whole experience of the trip.

This trip changed my life in so many ways. In ways that I cant even being to explain. It pulled me closer to God. My relationship with him is finally where I want it to be. I know im going to continue to grow in my faith with each passing day, and God is going to continue to work in my heart in the areas that need it.

Thank you to everyone who kept us in their prayers and those who’ve been able to comment on the blogs we’ve posted. We appreciate it more than you know! God bless you all. We love you.

Catherine J


~ by Celebration Missions on March 22, 2009.

3 Responses to “Lead Me To The Cross”

  1. I have 3 words for you, Journal Journal Journal!!! I’ll never forget that feeling going from the 2nd cross to the 3rd cross, but it was one of the most amazing days of my life and though I have nine hundred pictures (literally), there’s nothing like going back and remembering what God was speaking to you at that moment, how he got you to the top, and the thankfulness and praise you gave Him when you got there. Hold it dear to your heart and don’t ever forget how awesome our God really is 🙂 Praying for your safe return and adjusting back to “Jacksonville life”.

  2. Wow. Such a powerful experience! I’m so very proud of you and all your acomplishments this past week. I have such an amazing daughter! You have warmed my heart beyond words and you are an inspiration to many! I know your experience will make an impact on many lives. I love you baby!

  3. All of you seemed to have grown so much on this trip and been touched deep in your hearts by the things you have seen and the sweet people you have met. Treasure these memories; don’t let them fade away with time. Make sure you’ve got it all written down and have your pics developed right away so you can write the names of the places you visited and those faces you don’t want to forget! Thank you for representing Jesus and Celebration in such a godly way!

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