If you missed part one of this great insightful interview with Marybeth, I encourage you to read part one first. You can find it here.
ICB: Would you please tell us about the day you were leading a hike, the last one to receive your certification, a hike after having run afoul of a rattler on a previous hike?
Afterwards, when the group hike you were leading was finished, how did the sum total of the day’s events leave you feeling?
A: Greg, after previously standing on a rattlesnake, I was plagued with unreasonable fear, I was terrified of making the same dumb mistake and just how many more near-death events could I possibly escape? I even feared the phantom snake in my home, unable to get out of bed without turning on lights, sweating and shaking violently. I had greatly overreacted when a rattler warned me of its presence during a solo hike a few days after the incident and I really could not allow that to happen again. This day, as a leader, I needed to pilot calm and confidence. I’d trained for this and knew what precautions and safety steps to take. I had already led two other group hikes; I knew how to adjust a hike to fit the group and how to make the outing a fun, educational and impressive event. I knew that I needed to approach the trail with composure for the good of the group and for my own sanity. The wilderness is no place for panic and high drama! I thought about this while driving to the trailhead, when suddenly from the foothill of the mountain, out shoots this white bird, flying past my vehicle and up and away. I’ve not seen white birds this size in this particular neck of the woods, not even in this part of the state. The manner in which this bird shot up and over my vehicle really was startling, notable. Simply pleased with another “chance” sighting, I continued my drive and went on to lead the hike with calm and assurance and, thankfully without any mishap. Later, the image of that white bird came back to me with important clarity. Then it hit me: it was a symbol of His Spirit in the form of a dove (just like in the Bible!) that His Spirit was with me and would guide and protect me and the members of the group. A sign that, as I listen to His promptings, I would not “meet” another rattle snake under my boot again. This is so profound, so very important: I was not to focus on what I did (that horrific, accidental misstep off trail, ending with standing on a rattler) but to focus on what He did! He protected me so obviously, no matter how much adrenalin was pumping, no way was I able to outrun that rattlers strike! God prevented that snakes fangs from penetrating me! He manifested His protection and care that day, as well as in my past, and will continue to in the rest of my days. He continues to be protective and in control as I submit to His will and instructions. I’m learning; it’s an ongoing process. End of the day feeling? Humbled. Humbled by His interest in me, in my life and in the lives that I touch. I recognize that my faith is stretching, growing. He’s actually nurturing my faith! We all have our tests-of-faith and once one has invited Jesus into their heart, into their lives, we are more than a conqueror through Him during those trials and faith-testers (which build more faith, how cool is that?). I can no longer imagine going through the various challenges that life or my health, presents without His interaction, His help. All I have to do is remember: It’s not what I did, but what He did! When memory wanders back to that situation, and it does quite frequently, when I’m tempted to shutter and focus on the mental picture of a big, fat, coiled snake under my boot, still feeling the softness under me as I put my weight onto the step, that memory turns. And what I see is His Hand closing that rattlers mouth, and holding it back from moving as I ran, screaming like an insane person, from it. He turned that near-fatal situation into an impressive faith-builder to last me the rest of my days! I only need to draw from that deep pool, that deep well of knowing that through Him, it is done, He’s got it handled. I’m liberated from having to judge or deciding whether the particular outcome is what I wanted or not, because He has only my best interest in Mind and only gives good gifts.
ICB: At the end of chapter sixteen, you launch into a great commentary on God that is so encouraging; this is just a small sample of that commentary from the book: “He has a multitude of different ways to reach you and me, an infinite number in fact; He knows what is most relevant to you.”
Is there anything you would like to add to this Marybeth?
A: Creative God certainly has a limitless supply of methods to best communicate to us. He knows what is most significant to each person and He responds Personally to each of our needs, big, small or in-between. He cares about the most infinitesimal thing in each of our lives; physically, spiritually, mentally. His Word tells us, and it is Jesus Who is speaking, that He even knows the number of hairs on our head. (Matt 10:30) That is knowing someone quite thoroughly! He knows precisely how to speak to each of us, what will “hit home” for each of us, He knows each of us that well! Our contribution in this is to listen for His promptings and directions (key: be obedient to them) and to have relationship with Him. Worship, love and an ever-increasing faith simply follows, naturally. Greg, when I piece together a quilt, I know precisely where the weak points are, where the strengths are. Because I created it, I know that quilt. From selecting the just-right materials, to cutting up that beautiful fabric, then re-shaping it, then piecing it all together, all of this to make a symphony of useful beauty. Then I join and unite top, insulating middle, and bottom together into a single, valuable, warm and pleasing unit. Something like that, He “pieces” us together (our experiences, skills, weaknesses, preferences, talents, etc) He knows our strengths and weaknesses because He created each of us, individually. He knows what makes us tick, He has been watching us all of our lives. He created each reader reading this, into a warm, useful, beautiful creature and He certainly knows what is most significant and important to us individually. What He does for me, He will do for others in a unique manner because He has limitless, intimate knowledge of the inner and outer workings of each of us. He has invested Himself into each of us and He wants to wrap His warming Self around us in harmonious relationship!
ICB: Marybeth, based on your life experiences, what is the one thing you would share with people who are going through any kind of serious struggle in their lives?
A: I acknowledge that every single one of us is facing a challenge or many challenges, of varying degrees; it’s called “life”. Some of our lives hold more serious issues than others, but each life is equally important in the Eyes of God. Whether our “survival skills” are enduring chemo, wilderness exploring, stress management, caring for a disabled loved one or just getting oneself up out of bed today to brave one’s individual battlefield, they are all excellent accomplishments. But until we broaden the parameters of those techniques with faith in God, they’re just techniques with limitations. We need to conquer our fears, expand our horizons, and think outside the parameters of our circumstances. We, each and every one, all need supernatural help, divine intervention, enduring faith, and a personal relationship with God. Let Him capture your heart. We were designed to need Him, that is why trying to go about it alone feels so insufficient, so off balance, so frustrating. As one who has struggled, and was rather independent about it? If I could change the past, I would so that I could include my participation in the battlefield of my life to be co-soldier with Christ. I can’t so I move forward and not alone anymore, but in vital union with Him. I sometimes look at my life as a big puzzle. All the pieces need to fit together for it to make sense. The people around me are pieces of that puzzle as well. My sister’s elbow fits snugly into my abdomen, my foot into my neighbors arm, etc. There is a Vital Piece to my puzzle of life that is needed in order to complete it. 99.99% of it is there, but without that one Piece, it’s incomplete. You can’t frame and truly appreciate an incomplete puzzle.
ICB: I want to thank you Marybeth for being gracious enough to do this interview!
Do you have some final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
A: Greg, you are the gracious and generous one, and I justly appreciate the opportunity to chat with you and to be able to answer your insightful questions. Thank you for sharing this on your site. My desire is for anyone reading this who doesn’t already know, will come to know that the Lord Who is so good to Greg and to me, that He can be equally good to them. Getting to know Him is not a difficult thing but it is something that each of us must intentionally admit to 1) being a sinner, we have all sinned. 2) that each of us need a Savior, because good works won’t cut it, never has never will. 3) and that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, equally God, to save us from eternal damnation. All we need to do is admit, repent and accept. As always, God has the perfect plan and He is waiting for our acceptance of it and of Him. Be blessed, my friends with happy, fulfilling pursuits both on & off trail!
Pick up a copy of Marybeth’s book Wilderness Training: The Novice, for more information, please visit Marybeth’s home site here.
Editor’s Note: Your book really did touch me Marybeth; I enjoyed it and will read your other ones as well. I felt a connection with you Marybeth, almost like I was there with you at times; your writing is very good. I was I admit brought to tears in some places. This book is a blessing for sure! I hope others will read what you have striven to impart, that God is a vital part of our lives, no He is the reason for our lives. May the readers be blessed by your stories, and by the obvious love you have for our Father.
About the author: Greg is a strong believer in Jesus Christ and is also a political analyst and author. By day he is a self-employed non-emergency medical transport driver, as well as being an author and blogger. His articles are first published on True Conservative Pundit and Inspirational Christian Blogs, and from there the articles are widely published on many well-known conservative websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so leaving all links intact and crediting the author and the website that the article appeared on.
Greg is the author of the newly released book: Spiritual Darkness is Destroying America and the Church
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