The Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful places in the Lone Star State. Traveling the winding backroads of the Texas Hill Country is therapeutic for me. The farther I travel on two-lane Ranch to Market roads the better I feel. And, of course, the hills serve as a reminder to me of Psalm 121, one of my favorite Psalms. This beautiful Song of Ascents pictures God’s care, protection, and vigilant watch-care over His own.
This morning Cheryl and I drove from Johnson City to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. We loved driving past windmills and farm houses. But the best part of the trip was when the pink granite dome known as Enchanted Rock came into view — a massive island of stone rising above the surrounding green sea of cedar and piñon pines. Seeing Enchanted Rock in the distance reminded me of Psalm 121. When the psalmist felt threatened by danger he lifted his eyes to the hills and, more importantly, beyond those hills to the One who had created them.
Cheryl and I hiked the Summit Trail, not a long distance but one that rapidly gains in elevation. I was proud of Cheryl for making it all the way to the top on two artificial knees. She had expressed some concerns about the hike but steadily put one foot in front of the other until she made it all the way to the top. I’m glad that we shared this adventure together on the first day of our thirty-fifth year of marriage. Just as Cheryl reached the summit one step at a time, God has walked every step of our journey with us whether in the valleys or toward the mountaintops.
After our hike, we headed south to a place we have both wanted to see for a long time — the Lost Maples State Natural Area. This is the best time of the year to visit Lost Maples because the trees in the park (and along the way) are dressed in their finest Fall colors. We were not disappointed. What an absolutely beautiful place and a sweet reminder of the kindness of God in filling our world with much natural beauty and vistas that take our breath away.
Experiencing the seasons in a place like Lost Maples got us to talking about the seasons of our own lives. Cheryl and I went back to year one of our marriage and recounted God’s blessings through the years. Each blessing we have experienced has its own particular context that makes us appreciate each of them even more. Some came to us in the lean early years of our marriage. Others came at times when we needed a miracle. But every single blessing came at just the right time and filled us with wonder at the beauty of God’s kindness.
As Cheryl and I begin year thirty-five of our marriage, we will continue to lift up our eyes to the hills and beyond. We learned a long time ago that we can’t make it to any summit without His help. And we also know that God has always been and will continue to be faithful. He is never surprised by anything that touches our lives and knows exactly how to take every thread and incorporate it into the colorful tapestry of our lives.