Today is Monday and a school day for our two older daughters and my laundry and house cleaning day while little brother and baby sister play. It is also a day I use to get in some exercise and I have been doing so for the last month.
My husband currently works from home and he decided we needed to enjoy a morning outing together, so just after 10am, we loaded the bicycles on the bike-rack at the back of our van and headed off to the Hills. He recently bought me a new mountain bike that is a very capable off-roader and wanted to show me the John Forrest National Park which is about 30min from where we live in the central part of Perth.
On arrival we unloaded our bikes and I got our 16-month-old daughter strapped in her seat with her helmet on, while we kept our eyes on our very excited 4-year-old son who was already ready to go.
Starting to peddle I felt a little instability in the front because of the heaviness of the baby seat attached on a rack above the back wheel, but realised I just had to lean a bit more forward to replace the weight and keep the front wheel firm and not slipping.
The cravel road is made up of lots of small brown stones that has been compacted tightly, but some are loose and wet from rain during the night. On the side of this road there are footpaths for hiking, which can also be used for doing off-road cycling, but it would be too much of a challenge for us with the little ones. The sky was beautifully blue with some large clouds hanging around with only 5% chance of rain, so it looked we would enjoy a sunny ride. Around 1km from our starting point there was a split in the road and my adventurous husband decided we would take the tunnel route. On arrival to the entrance of the tunnel I saw the wet stones and puddles into the dark, but didn't want to spoil the fun. My son was wearing a jumper that had the word BRAVE on it and it inspired me. I saw the light gleaming at the end, hoping the ride through the tunnel would be quick enough.
We started peddling through puddles onto wet bigger stones and I was feeling uncertain both in my speed and my bikes' wheel grip, but mostly of the black dark. I wanted to be brave and just go fast, still I voiced my thoughts to my husband who acknowledged my concern and suggested we start pushing our bikes through. At first I felt surer, but then I started imagining rats and snakes and spiders over or coming towards us. Honestly, I was scared and the sound of wet rocks rattling underneath our wheels and footsteps echoing against the tunnel walls, sounded very creepy and I felt fear wanting to grip me. We couldn't even see a thing around our sides or on the ground because of the utter blackness surrounding us, yet I didn't mention all my thoughts loudly considering my little boy with us. We were in the dark and I was amazed at how our littles were handling the situation, because I was afraid and seriously considering turning around and going back! Besides, the light behind us was bigger than the light at the end of the tunnel in front of us?! Then my husband knowingly still encouraged me that we were half way and it seemed I was just going to have to be brave.
Brave is not something you feel , it is something you do. -Lisa Bevere
I decided to focus my attention and thoughts on the light ahead of us and nervously continued to talk. I was thinking of a quote I read by Corrie Ten Boom; "When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." and how ironic it was that we were walking in this dark old railway tunnel and that I was with my husband, who is an engineer.
We reached the place where we could see ourselves and one another again and I felt very relieved and eager to finally exit the space. We took some photos and I smiled.
Outside again I breathed in a deep sigh of relief and we rode on towards beautiful surroundings and the weather was perfect. It was a wonderful experience that followed as we enjoyed the freedom of the open road and stopped often to admire the spectacular views, inspect plants and tiny creatures while listening to the sounds of birds. It was just what we needed, nature at its best.
We continued cycling on the route for a while before turning back and returning another way past the tunnel. It was a morning ride to remember.
On our drive back home I decided I was going to write about today, because I felt I learned a lesson and also because I was feeling happy with my bravery.
Sometimes we all need to be brave and continue on, despite our fear.
I was brave enough today to literally step into the darkness and continue on to be able to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. There has been situations in my life, and I am sure in yours, where I have decided to be brave no matter my fear. There has also been other times where I cowardly stepped back defeated.
Just recently I have been brave in deciding to share this blog and have over these last two months been busy getting together all my saved devotional writings to post on it. I realise what I write is my personal time of reflection, yet I believe that I should share it to encourage others in their walk with and journey in relationship with God.
I have had these words saved on my phone;
Do not pray for the hard thing to go away, but pray for the bravery to come that's bigger than the hard thing. - Ann Voskamp
I agree with these words and it reminds me of how God encouraged Joshua when He appointed Him.
Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Let me remind you that God is with you and that you do not need to be afraid. I want to encourage you to be brave, even if it is something that will be hard.
We can be brave, because we have the Creator of the Universe, the Most High God on our side.