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It took us three attempts, but we finally made it to the top of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, AZ.  My husband and I were able to go on a much desired retreat, and we had a blast resting, exploring a new place and seeking God in prayer together for our future, our kids and our personal lives.  Our favorite aspect of each day was the early mornings, partly because it gets so hot during the day that the mornings are quite nice, but also because we were both wide awake and ready to connect with God and each other.

The three-hour time zone change left us with 5am mornings feeling like they were 8am mornings…which for you parents out there, you know that is sleeping LATE!!  Our resort was quiet that early in the morning (imagine that!) so we had plenty of time to grab coffee, read the Bible, pray and just enjoy being together around a fire-pit table in the courtyard of the hotel (with Camelback in the background).  Here’s a visual: if you know me, you know it doesn’t get much better than this!

After enjoying our coffee and watching the sun light up the mountainside, three mornings of our trip we headed out on a mile walk from our hotel to the trail head of Camelback.   When we arrived at the trail for the first time we looked at the mountain ahead, we looked at each other, and with slight smirks on our faces we journeyed upwards.  We are both totally flat-land people…check out the background of this picture!  That was a big mountain to us…some of you may thing that is a mole hill, and if so, please humor me! 🙂

The first day we made it 1/4 of the way up, thinking we did well (having no idea how long/difficult the journey to the top may be).  We were pacing ourselves.  The second day I was convinced I could handle more.  My sweet husband was overly gracious and patient with his pregnant wife, giving me every option out, but I was determined to get to the top.

We thought we were so close and I just had to see what it was like up there!  We made it up 1/2 way, but not wanting to overdo it we came back down.

The third day I was a bit sore from supporting myself on the rocks with my hands for so much of the hike, but still really wanted to make it all the way.  I wanted to do it not only for myself, but to take on a challenge with my husband and experience something new together. We took our time, stopped often (for me to catch my breath), and eventually made it to the top.

At the top of Camelback Mountain

It was a sweet moment of reflection, satisfaction and awe when we saw the peak just before us.  It was so satisfying to have accomplished something new and totally different as a team.  Daily life in our flat-land suburbia can get so monotonous and busy that it’s easy to high-five each other as we pass by and act like room-mates instead of soul-mates.

When we stood on the top of the mountain we both instinctively paused, held hands and with such an awesome view before us and a few deep breaths, we just wanted to stop and talk with God.  My husband grinned as we stood there silently, and then said rhetorically, as if he was repeating an inner-conversation he was having with the Lord, “What do you want?”  He began to pray for the most unreachable, most impossible, most out of our capability dreams and desires; God-sized dreams.

Among other things, he simply prayed for the glory and the bigness of God to consume our lives and the earth.  I was challenged by his prayer and quieted my heart to ask myself that question.  What do I want??  The importance of the question struck a deep chord in my heart.  Also, I was hit with the reality that I didn’t have an answer to offer immediately.  I had to stop and think for a minute.  If I was on the top of a mountain, like Moses, standing face to face before God in all the glory of His creation, what honest desire would I confess to Him?  Wow.  Such a key question to a life well lived.

It’s a hard question, but so worth asking.  What do I want?  World peace?  Obviously. Healthy kids?  Most definitely.  Long life?  Of course.  But honestly, deep down, what do I want?  What is it that God created me to be passionate about and to desire with my whole being? 

What do you want?  

What is it you were made to live for?  

What purpose does God have in His heart for you to take hold of and to fulfill on this earth?  

God is tuned in and listening to your answer to this question; not like a genie in a bottle or a teacher expecting the right answer, but more like a wise and all-knowing counselor, an infinitely powerful being, and a genuinely interested friend.  He wants us to be fully alive on our journey through this life.  He already knows what is buried deep within our hearts.  He wants us to be still before Him long enough to get a vision for what it is He made us to do and be.  He wants us to explore and dream about how we could live that out.  He wants us to know our own heart’s honest desires, the desires that He placed in our hearts for eternal purposes; the desires that will drive us to live out God-sized dreams.

So, what do you want?  Take a deep breath, imagine the world before you with God at your side, and let’s dream God-sized dreams for the glory of His name.

~Wrapped In His Affection~