So the morning of my birthday began day three of being quite ill. And I just prayed so hard I would be able to make it up and back safely so that I could participate in our devotional and testimony meeting we would have at the top. The one and only birthday I will ever spend awake for all 24 hours of it was overall a very good day if I focus on everything I learned, the beautiful view I had of God’s magnificent creations, and getting to talk with my mom and sleeping in my own bed. ☺ But hiking up that mountain at 2am was so hard for my sick little body to do. I did it though, and that is the most important part! Exodus 19:4 reads, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” I know that God truly did bare me up on eagles’ wings, because there was no way I could have made it up there without His help. And He did bring me up unto Himself, for His Spirit was poured out upon us during out meetings at the top. I had read a few verses the night before that ran through my mind as I made the ascent up the mountain. “Fear thou not: for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). This verse of course reminded me of our hymn “How Firm a Foundation” that was written off of this verse. And when I think of that song, I am reminded of my father. We sang this song at his funeral because it was one of his favorites. He was a living testimony of God fulfilling His promise to always be with us to strengthen and uphold us. Thinking of how brave my dad was to just keep on keeping on, despite how sick he was, gave me great courage in putting one foot in front of the other to get up that REALLY big mountain.
Despite being ill, the sunrise I experienced at the top made it all worth it. It was the most incredible and awe-inspiring view I have seen in a very long time. It was quiet and peaceful, which I greatly appreciated after 2½ hours of being hassled by Bedouins to ride a camel up the mountain (which in retrospect may have been more than a good idea… haha). Oh did I mention how I was almost trampled by camels? Yeah… that was a scary experience as I was pinned between three camels going up and three camels going down because their leaders were too thoughtless to notice there was a girl on a very narrow pass. But luckily I’m short enough that only my head was really pinned between the camels’ bodies. Haha
Our meeting at the top was also incredible. So many wonderful people who have such good insights and very pure, simple testimonies surround me here. I learned a lot from this meeting, and I hope I am able to really take these lessons to heart and apply them in my life.
On the way down the mountain, we had two options… the path that we came up with all of the camels, or what we were told was a staircase that just went all the way down. Unfortunately, I learned that choosing the path less traveled isn’t always the best decision… The “staircase” was actually just a bunch of big boulders stacked on top of each other that you had to climb down. It took me just as long to get down as it did to get up. Haha But it’s over with, and I made it safe and mostly sound, so that’s really all that matters! But for my roommates, I did indeed wear my pedometer during the entire day. My grand total for the entire day was 17,793 steps, with about 14,700 of those from going up and down Sinai. Whooo Ahhh! ☺
I spent the rest of my birthday on the bus or in line at the border crossing, but everyone was so nice that it was still a good day. But the only thing better than watching the sunrise on Mt. Sinai for my birthday was getting to talk to my mom when we got back to Jerusalem that night. It was the best part of my day to talk with her. Why do I have the best mom ever?! Seriously, she’s amazing and I’m so grateful for her and everything she has done for me. Love you mom!!