Wilderness Training is relevant to people of all faiths.
Wilderness Training’s purpose is to inspire hope to readers of all faiths and to encourage a fuller appreciation of life and ones purpose, while being entertained and involved with the events and sights from the desert, valleys, mountains, the coast and forests. My stories are woven with a Christian thread, but one doesn’t need to be declared a saint in order to appreciate the rich, full experiences and resulting edification. I share how I’m being trained physically, mentally and spiritually while I’m in the wilderness. The revelations mixed with the inexperienced, crackerjack battles of learning-on-the-fly can be enjoyed and appreciated by all. I didn’t understand or realize the joy and benefits in setting higher physical goals before. Not only are my muscles being stretched and developed in the process but my imagination is as well. There are life lessons to be learned simply by walking out one’s front door, or through a forest, listening to the melodious birdsongs, or trudging through deep snow only to encounter a bewildered and large buck, or the thrill of being up close and personal with a raging river; the power it discharges is infectious! Even experiencing the change of seasons brings new insights and pleasure. Just the push to get to the days destination, the accomplishments are so empowering.
Discovery and revelation is quite thrilling, but best when well-prepared since you are out in the wild, which is where my wilderness leadership and safety training came into play. Those who aren’t and can’t be, who are, or have been, or plan to be, “outdoorsy folks” will appreciate the dangers, the beauty, the sightings, the discoveries, the challenges as well as helpful tips, all wrapped up in an entertaining, illuminating and often perilous read, always seasoned with humorous incidents.
Somehow the discipline of prayer, acknowledging that there is One greater than myself, and the expression of uninhibited gratitude has integrated into my conditioning walks as well as the more challenging treks. I’m not even sure how it got started, but it certainly did. Through my deepest appreciation and admiration of my surroundings I knew I needed to give the credit to where credit was due. Knowing the Lord created the heavens and the earth, and all that is within them cultivated a closer relationship with the Lord. For me to witness breath-taking vistas and to know that God created this spectacular world, I instinctively began to verbally thank Him and to praise Him, right then and there.
Here I had this precious alone time, and with a friend of mine who was going through a very difficult physical condition, it occurred to me that I could use this time to pray and intercede for her. I had no one knocking at my door, calling on the phone, or other “urban pressures” to interrupt, so I used part of my time while exploring as prayer time. The Lord, faithfully reaching out to His people, opened my heart towards Him. It’s somewhat similar to developing relationships with family and friends. Just by talking to Him, or asking for direction such as, ‘do I take this sidetrail, will it be safe’, He’d respond to my spirit and a viable relationship blossomed. I felt safe, regardless where I traveled, as long as I invited His presence and allowed His intervention. My expeditions are more complete with Jesus sharing the experience with me.
I doubted my relationship with God many times throughout my life, particularly during the battering: “how could this happen to me?” mindset was triggered by the cancer diagnosis. Actually, even before then, as I was giving God barely a thought, I wondered at the validity of my faith. It was so empty; zero on the relationship scale. I wondered why I couldn’t be a better person, why did I have to struggle with so much; there was a huge void in my life that nothing seemed to satisfy it. Why? I think because I contributed absolutely nothing towards developing a relationship with God, and only prayed when I needed something or if something had gone wrong. I treated God like a spiritutal Santa Claus.
Raised as a Catholic, I always knew there was a God, but never, not once did I think of Him as a personal God, as my personal Savior. In my youth and teen years, attending mass/church was so unfulfilling due to the bulk of the prayers were spoken by the priest in Latin, a language absolutely foreign to me. So, I think since understanding was non-existent, relationship was non-existent.
Later, through some friends at my place of work, I was invited to a non-denominational church and found that God is actually a people-Person, Personally involved in each individual’s life, all anyone needs to do is invite Him in. I called out to Him with the faintest of faith and faithfully, He revealed Himself and captured my heart.
Now, I have absolute assurance that He is an intimate part of my life and He has demonstrated His love and power in mind-blowing, obvious ways. The times He has spared my life, (yet again), are described in my books because He is such a part of me now that it’s like a sturdy braid: wilderness, hiking and God, reliant upon one another. Seriously, I’d be dead or maimed for life if He had not intervened during the more dangerous hikes and circumstances. Integrating His presence into my hikes has freed me from trepidation and danger; I can go forward with the assurance that this day’s travel will indeed lead to a happy ending.