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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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38

Monday 18th September 2017

the one thing we’ll never outgrow

I was having a downer kind of day. Nothing major. (Sometimes it’s the little things, all adding up, that manage to bring you down.)

I knew what to do with that kind of day. I drove to church to talk to my pastor. She’s a gem of a mentor, and has this habit of helping me re-remember the stuff about Jesus that I re-forget.

We attend a church that’s tucked between cornfields and fences, about a mile from home. So it only takes me about a minute and a half to get there.

While driving to the church, I turned my eyes to see the most incredible view on the horizon. I stopped right in the middle of the highway to take a picture. (Don’t worry; not a single other car was in sight. This is rural Iowa, where a traffic jam would typically involve a roaming herd of cattle or a family of raccoons.)

Here’s the view I saw, while stopped at the side of the road:

What I saw took my breath away. Do you see what I see?

It looks like a mountain in the distance, but clearly, we don’t have mountains in Iowa. What I was actually seeing was a long, low cloud.  Still, my eyes saw a mountain. I felt like God sent me a mountain that day, like the mountains had come for a short visit.

In that moment, God was already helping me re-remember what I re-forgot:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”
(Psalm 121:1-2)

What mountains stand before you today? Maybe those mountains are in the shape of the obstacles looming before you. Or, perhaps those mountains look like a good place to hide, in the cleft of a rock.

That day, the “mountains” I saw reminded me of God’s provision. The “mountains” reminded me that the Maker of heaven, and earth, and mountains, and valleys, and trees, and fields, and country churches … is also the Maker of me.

In my NIV study Bible, I once highlighted the study notes underneath those verses from Psalm 121:1-2. Today, I re-read the highlighted words. Read along: “[God] not only made the hills but heaven and earth as well. We should never trust a lesser power than God himself. But not only is he all-powerful, he also watches over us. Nothing diverts or deters him. We are safe. We never outgrow our need for God’s untiring watch over our lives.”

We never outgrow our need for Jesus. 

Where are your mountains today? Run to them…

May they be a reminder that God stands at the ready. Where does our help come from? It comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

YOUR TURN:

What are your mountains today? Do they look like obstacles, a place to hide, or a reminder of God’s power and majesty? Let’s encourage one another in the comments.

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Bev Rihtarchik. She’s a fellow contributor for A Moment to Breathe. I loved her post announcing the book and appreciate the always-needed reminder that we’re better together. Find Bev here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer


  • 1lori_1

    I used to live by a mountain and I miss it so……there is something about having that visible that something is bigger than you and your problems. God gave me that mountain just the way he gave you yours! He knew you needed that! Now my mountain is tucked away inside my heart and I have a river to gaze at. What a blessing. I love your faith and your heart dear Jennifer!

    • I love that … your reminder of the visual that “something is bigger than you and your problems.” Grateful for your response .xo

  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    No real mountains here this morning, I think I climbed them last night when I was trying to go to sleep….so funny, ’cause our youth group taught us a new song yesterday about climbing mountains with “our hands wide open.” In other words, in surrender. I have to surrender my worries many, many times in a day, it seems. Thank God for His mountain–we never outgrow our need for Jesus. Amen.

    • And imagine that … actually climbing a mountain with arms wide open, trusting God each step of the way, rather than grabbing at rocks to stabilize yourself. A powerful image. Thanks Jody.

  • Plenty of old, well-worn, rounded-off mountains here in Maine, and God was using that very same psalm to encourage me on the way to church yesterday, but a different verse: The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day or the moon by night.” It was a huge comfort to me to know that in the glare of the day, I could stand protected in the shade of His keeping. Thankful along with you for a God who protects and helps in ways we never outgrow!

    • I love that he spoke to us both from the same psalm That really warms my heart. Sending hugs to you, halfway across the USA!

  • CLMcClintick

    Thank-you for letting me see how God can see the mountains in my life and keeps my life in His hands!! I know I can trust Him and that He is faithful!!

    • He is faithful, indeed. Amen.

  • I live in a valley and am surrounded by mountains. It’s a lovely view and a great reminder that I can lift my eyes to the hills/mountains where my help comes from.

    • That sounds divine, nylse. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lynn Morrissey

    Lovely and encouraging, Jennifer. Gotta tell you, I thought to myself: Oh, she must be in Colorado! I had scanned the photos first. The mountains look like that near the foothills outside Denver. God recently used that Psalm powerfully in my life (in Iona, Scotland), but the particular translation I’d read, and appropriate to my situation and environs, was that I will lift up my eyes to the hills. But whether to the mountains or hills or all around, we look to the Lord. When we lift our eyes, He lifts our spirits, and He helps and strengthens us. It struck me, too, in reading your explanation about the clouds, that though our mountains be real, with His help, they will dissipate like clouds, ultimately. Thank you always for rich sharing.
    Love
    Lynn

    • Lynn! That’s exactly what I thought. It reminded me of the foothills near Denver. I was just telling Meghan (in the comment above) that our family took a couple of trips to Colorado as a little girl. We drove across Nebraska to get there, and as soon as we entered the state of Colorado, my face was practically pressed to the window. I couldn’t wait to see those mountains!

  • Lovely, Jennifer! I am a mountain fanatic though I do not live near them so this is stellar. I would have felt the same. I am glad He uplifted you friend. Prayers that you have a great week and be full of peace in the days ahead.

    • I rarely see mountains. I remember going to Colorado twice as a little girl, and waiting for that moments when the mountains would finally come into view. The majesty of those mountains reminds me of the majesty of God.

  • Dayna Lynn Fowble

    My 🏔 mtns 🌋even have lava comin out n look like an obstacle. I recently divorced, but were talking n reconciling. I am very fearful of going back in2 same situation w him n his 🚶kids. I get so ahead of myself n its hard not 2. Yet we have a peculiar strong 💪bond n felt compelled 2 👫 reconcile w him. He agreed n weve been seeing each other. I feel happy ☺ again, but also concerned n guarded @ times cuz i dont want a broken ♥ again. Thanks 4 lettn me share! 🤗🙏💃
    Please pray 4 me Jennifer n community!!

    • Dear Lord, I lift up to you Dayna and her family. Her mountain looks pretty big and scary right now, and she needs you to guide her on this path. Lord, you say that even with a mustard-seed of faith, mountains can be moved. We gather together in community to ask that you would MOVE … THAT … MOUNTAIN! Guide each step, and have her respond as YOU desire, in accordance with Your will, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

      Blessings up on you, Dayna. Thanks for sharing with us!

      • Dayna Lynn Fowble

        Thank you Jennifer.. Im just now reading this.. Sooo nice 2 c u replied n makes it very personal 2 me. I appreciate it! I decided to move on ..2 many doubts n concerns. Feel more @ peace n ☺happy.
        Im glad God brought you in2 my life. Ive felt close 2 u n the Lord. He brought u in @ a time I really needed a womanly Christian connection. So thank you 4 ur guidance n loving influence. Uve helped me alot Jennifer! Ur kids r blessed 2 have a mother like you n so is ur husband. 😇💖😘

  • My mountain is trying to get in the swing of this new fall routine (and adjust to a teenager with hormones). So many things going on. And yet, if I pause and breathe and remember what is important, things fall into perspective. Looking to the maker of mountains is calming. I know he’s never going to say, “what, your bathrooms were not perpetually clean or your class perfectly prepared.” He’s a God of relationships. Mine with him, and mine with those around me.

    • This comment made me smile. Thanks for the perspective, Theresa.

  • Karen

    Jennifer I love this verse and your words. We left Colorado and lived 12 years in Wisconsin. Many mornings as the sun rose in Milwaukee, the clouds hanging over Lake Michigan looked like mountains. Just as in your picture! It always made me rejoice in God’s amazing creation–real mountains or not!

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  • I love seeing mountains built from clouds! I miss Montana, where I could see three ranges from my front porch. I love that God sent you mountains when you needed the reminder. He’s awesome like that, isn’t he? Here in AZ, on most days, I can see Mt. Humphries…100 miles away. The sight of it reminds me that even though I am far from my beloved Montana mountains, God is always a look away. I can see him in his creation, in the smile of encouragement from co-workers, in the laughter of a child.

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  • JeanneTakenaka

    Jennifer, what an amazing picture! I saw those mountains and thought, “In Iowa?” But, God . . . He knows what we need to see, what we need to remember.

    I guess my mountains are two-fold. I have about a million things to do before leaving on a trip along with issues with my boys. And, I have a mom who is helping me with the boys while I’m gone. And, she knows how to point me to Jesus when I need that. Mountains truly do take different forms, don’t they?

    Psalm 121:1-2 have spoken to me many times over the years. I appreciate your take on them!

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  • Liz

    So so good! The way we process what we see is crucial. If we look at our obstacles the way the world does we see nothing but trouble. But if we see them with eyes of faith we might just make out a God opportunity there…

  • Sherry Thecharmofhome

    That is beautiful you put that verse with that view! Love it. Thanks for hosting!

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  • Susan

    I guess we both had one of those days…mine was a week long though. And, mountains spoke to me also. My blog post today? Mt Sinai or Mt Calvary – at which am I standing? We live in the country also and are surrounded by “real” mountains – there have been many a time I have run to the hills for a refocus. He is my Help and my Stay.

  • What an amazing gift God gave you at just the perfect time! Isn’t it funny how He does that?

  • Beautiful & encouraging! Thank you for blessing me this morning!

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  • Beautiful post Jennifer. I see mountains and when I see mountains, I see God’s love, grace, and strength in the beauty of the large ominous mountain! Thank you for sharing your heart and your church. If I should ever visit your area, I’d love to visit your splendid church! I love visiting churches when I travel!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    I used to look for cloud-mountains when we lived in Florida! Now our home is in SW Ohio where we at least enjoy high hills. Mountains (real or imaginary!) remind me of God’s magnificence and creative power to achieve such awe-inspiring heights. And just as mountains are high, firm, strong, immoveable, and eternal (until God sees fit to level them!), so is our God. Higher than any other being, he is our firm and strong Rock of salvation, immoveable, unchangeable, and eternal. There is great assurance to be accessed as we look to the mountains!

  • Mishy Sanders

    OR maybe it’s a discourse on perspective as well. We SEE huge mountains where there really are just insubstantial clouds. Maybe we aren’t to believe what our eyes are telling us all the time, maybe our “mountains” are not really mountains at all. Maybe they are perceived troubles that are easily navigated with just a bit of faith in the maker of all. Temporary gathering of vapor giving the illusion of insurmountable obstacles or blockades to the path ahead of us. They LOOK huge, dark and scary, but holding the hand of our Father we walk right through them coming out the other side unscathed. If you’ve ever walked through a cloud the other interesting thing is that you can only see what is right next to you, if God is there with you, your attention is on Him as He guides you through to the other side. Just a thought……

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  • Julie Loos

    The first thing that came to mind when I saw the picture was “I don’t think there’s a mountain in Iowa.”
    What a great reminder of our constant need for Jesus!
    Many times, I make a mountain out of a small hill of problems. I need to keep my perspective, it tends to get self-focused often:)

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