May 4, 2021

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” – Isaiah 55:6

I spent a lot of my childhood on our family farm in the red hills of western Oklahoma.  I loved my grandmother’s flower garden, my pony “Midnight,” the chickens and cows, and the freedom that came with being in that wide-open space.  Just north of the modest farmhouse was a hill where my brother and I spent many happy hours hiking, digging, and exploring.   My grandparents had a rule that we weren’t to go on the other side of the hill where they couldn’t see us, and we were to watch out for snakes.  I don’t remember ever seeing a snake on that red hill, and we never went over to the other side.  I guess my grandparents had their bluff in on us!  My brother and I have happy memories of that hill because we were obedient.  Had we wandered over to the other side, I’m sure we would have been banned from playing there, and if we had encountered snakes, we likely wouldn’t have wanted to go back.

In my life, some of the most difficult hills I’ve had to climb have been because of poor choices I’ve made.  Sometimes it was because I didn’t listen to wise advice, other times it was because I didn’t seek advice, but just plowed ahead with what I wanted to do.  And every time it was because I didn’t pray about it first!

On the contrary, some of the easiest hills I’ve climbed have been when I’ve earnestly prayed and asked God for His guidance, and I listened and obeyed.  When I retired from public education and my children were out of high school, I did just that!  I prayed, “Lord, my life is a blank slate.  Show me where you want me to go and what you want me to do, and I’ll follow you!”  He had a plan for me to work in ministry and opened a door for me to work at a church where I learned about Children’s Ministries.  I had a wonderful mentor at that church, and I’m so thankful for the time spent there before coming to St. Luke’s.

Sometimes our challenging hills are created by others.  These can be the most difficult ones to climb, because we can easily get caught up in blaming, which leads to unforgiveness, and unforgiveness leads to other negative things.

We know in this life we’ll always have hills to climb, whether self-induced, or other-induced.  How can we get up and down them?  By asking, listening, and obeying!

– Susan Easttom, Director of Family Ministries