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Mountains take my breath away.

They are magnificent, majestic even. In all of God's good creation, I think they are the most beautiful.

But what I've come to love the most about mountains is how they change me.

I always come down a different person than when I went up. The mountains shape me in ways the valleys and the plains never could.

Maybe you've never climbed a mountain made of rock.

But you've climbed other mountains. Mountains made of insecurity, loneliness, depression.

Maybe your mountain is a difficult relationship that seems hopeless, an addiction that you know has to be broken, or losing someone you love and learning what it means to live without them.

Maybe your mountain is the chance of a lifetime.

Maybe it’s the dream you’ve thought about and prayed about for years.

Maybe it's a move halfway across the country, exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Life, I think, is lived among the mountains.

I don't know what you have faced. But I do know that, at times, we all find ourselves in the valley, standing at the foot of a towering mountain. The peak seems to be impossibly far and the climb ahead impossibly hard.

Excitement and anticipation mix with fear and doubt.

But we begin, one step at a time, facing the narrow passes and steep inclines as they come.

Though every mountain looks different than the one before, each – with its own unique obstacles – is an opportunity to grow and to learn and to change.

"Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?" (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce)

It won't be easy, of course. It never is. But take heart. We do not face our mountains alone. We do so with the ones we love- and the ones that love us in return- at our side. We climb together. And we follow a Guide who not only knows the mountain but formed and fashioned it Himself.

So will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first...

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