What Defines a Person

Neal's Gap Georgia, 26-2-2019

I had an inauspicious start to my hike. My trek started Thursday Feb 21 on Springer Mountain, the official start to the Appalachian trail. It was a foggy and rainy day. I walked 8 miles and set up camp in the pouring rain. Much to my chagrin I realized half way through the night I had put my tarp on upside down causing it to leak by the zippers. I got a little wet.
On Friday I hiked 5 miles in the pouring rain and wind and as I started to get chilled I set up camp in Cooper Gap. It poured all night and the next day it continued with howling winds. I felt a little soft hunkering down in my tent for the day so early in my journey but when I saw

two groups of hikers being picked up by shuttles I felt a little better. Later I talked to a few hikers who got completely soaked or their tents had blown down. We had over 8 inches of rain in three days.

Sunday morning I woke up to sunshine and had a great day walking. There were lots of hikers on the trail I put in my 8 miles and set up camp on top of a mountain with incredible views. I hung my stuff to dry and watched a beautiful sunset out my tent door.

Monday I made 8 miles again and camped in a gully with my own stream and waterfall. Today I hiked out to Neels Gap were I rented a cabin for the night.

So far my body is holding out. I am taking it easy and will increase my mileage as I get in better shape.

I got a beautiful letter from my daughter to read on my trek. She said some beautiful things but one that I pondered for a while was this. “Depression is not a defining character. Depression does not change who you are. It just prohibits you from being that person I know you are, hardworking and caring.” I am reading The Joseph Dream book. The author talked about how we need to believe we are God's favorite. I used to feel this way. I knew that God didn’t love me more than

you and yet I believed and felt powerfully that God loved me and I was special in his eyes. Whenever I prayed, “God, how do you feel about me?” The answer came back loud and clear in my mind, “You are my son in whom I am well pleased.” This sense of being loved filled the empty void of never once hearing my parents say they loved me. It gave me confidence in place of the degraded self -esteem I carried as a result of never being good at anything during my school years. It gave me a powerful and stable place from which to live from. But over the past years starting towards the end of my ministry, I felt like God turned his back while life was beating the hell out of me. How could a Father just stand there and look the other way as his son cried out in agony? What had I done wrong? What was I supposed to learn? I felt betrayed by the very one who took my sorry life and made it into something good. God took me from a place of insecurity, fear, brokenness, no self-esteem no direction, and hope to a place where I felt my life mattered and God would do great things with my life. But now I felt like I lost everything, every dream, every hope, the whole sense of being blessed by God and living in his purpose was gone. I tried to live for the pleasure of the moment, make the best of it, and settle for the crumbs under the table. But how can you live that way when you have feasted at the banquet?
This hike is me crying out to God in the loudest way I know how. It is

my saying to God, “ I will not settle for the crumbs under the table when I know God has so much more to give, so much more he promised In his Word and spoken to my heart years ago.

Belief and confusion are not mutually exclusive. I think to believe gives you a direction in the confusion. But you don’t see the full picture. That’s the point. That’s what faith is.
Bono \ U2


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