An hour south thru the winding mountain roads brought us over the ridge to Asheville, North Carolina. I’ve read for years about this quaint little town nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains and my eyes have finally feasted on its beauty. After a quick check-in to a hotel room with a shower (Praise! because we have been in a tent and the stink is overwhelming), we grab food and race the sunset to the heralded best-lookout view around, Craggy Dome pennacle and overlook. As the Blue Ridge parkway lives up to its name of America’s most beautiful highway, we ascend through tunnels and over small ridges climbing in elevation. Mount Mitchell in the distance reaches into the clouds while clear skies and vistas provide 'ooh and ahh' views around each bend.
Higher we climb until the Craggy Ridge sweeps us right up into the approaching clouds. I’ve never been in a cloud outside of a plane, so the swirling fluff around me and dropping temperature takes away my breath. We park and hike 3/4 of a mile to the peak amid rhododendron trees arching, twisting and folding themselves around the well traveled path. It’s apparent this site is desirable for memorable events as pretty girls in flowy dresses smile adoringly for photographers, all waiting for the perfect moment to capture greatness. However, my view ends 5 feet ahead.
We made a plan, hiked the trail and have absolutely nothing to see for it as our eyes scan the misty gray nothingness. Blinded by the all encompassing cloud, I stand in the visual stillness huddled against my oldest son. It’s cold, windy and silent as my heart wrestles with its longing for a magazine-worthy view and a dreamy experience. After what seems to be an eternity waiting, we turn to go while I hear my third son saying over and over, 'I want to go, I can't see anything.'
Dejected, I take a few steps and then glimpse a ray and choose to continue my pause. I'm awestruck as the wind blows a hole through the cloud and I drink in the view. The curtain cloud is rolled away to reveal ridge after ridge fading away in ombré hues of blue. Rays of sunlight shine through reflecting off the saturated sky providing depth and interest in the peaks and valleys that you can almost hear singing praises to God. "Behold his glorious workmanship, for now we see in part but then we shall see in whole." Hand in hand, my son and I squeal with glee during our moments of gazing. Then, as quickly as it opened, the clouds sweep back in and obscure what lies beyond, but it’s not disappointing. Instead I’m reminded that what we often want in life is the sunshine sky with no cloud in sight. The picture perfect view to adore and capture for the story of our life while we run from ridge to ridge. What we find instead while standing in the clouds is time to rest and breathe, to look around and wait for the light, when its breakthrough reveals sights we’ve longed to see and hoped to find. The clouds give depth & interest to places we would have otherwise overlooked and provide a reflecting point for God to gloriously shine. In the midst of the cloud, his presence envelopes us and his quiet voice is wrapped up in the intimacy of seeing only a few steps ahead. Hand in hand he also delights with us when the view opens up for miles. Although I may not see it now the truth remains...His majesty is still very present, just beyond the veil.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
What having you been hoping to see and haven't yet? Linger a little longer so you can contemplate His glory.
The Shadow of My Porch Swing
You will usually find me on my porch swing or trying to get there at least. Warm drink in hand and the best view in the world...4 boys digging a hole. Seriously tho, I enjoy the chance to sit and rest but mostly ponder the life that happens in between each of those sways of that swing. As the sun rises and sets, the shadow of that swing moves across my porch reminding me that Jesus is always shining on each moment. May you find hope and rest in Jesus here.
Partnering with YouVersion and The Bible App, The Shadow of My Porch Swing - 7 day devotional is now available in the Plans section of the Bible app. Click link above or search by title or 'God's Presence.'