The Expedition Edition

My son Charlie amazes me. He’s 15 weeks old and – with a little help on the balancing end – he has been able to stand and bear his weight for about two months now. Sometimes as I support him, Charlie takes miniature steps that lead him up my torso toward my smiling face. Lyle has a special name for this incline…

…Mount Carolyn-jaro.

Yes, Lyle has always been the witty one.

Charlie Climbing Mt Mommy from Nelson Total Life on Vimeo.

While making a mountain of myself is rather comical, Charlie’s ascents on Mommy’s belly are much more adorable than my own attempts to conquer the mountains in life. In fact, more than once, I have looked up a steep gradient, neck cranked waaaay back… and wept.

I know. When faced with a challenge, some people get mad, some people make excuses… I cry. And it’s ok. I’ve been told that it’s ok to have a pity party sometimes… as long as you don’t stay long at the party. 🙂

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the spiritual, financial, and relational mountains in our lives – in fact, they often appear as one unbroken range of rocky cliffs. We might be anxious about the hard work or commitment that overcoming them will require. Or maybe it’s the risk of becoming injured that halts our progress – we worry the journey will be painful or leave us disabled. Could it be an unfamiliar environment that turns us away? Harsh conditions perhaps? The fear of going alone? Losing our way? Falling? Dying?

I heard a song recently by Jason Castro. The chorus expresses:

 This is only a mountain,

You don’t have to find your way around it –

Tell it to move, it’ll move,

Tell it to fall, it’ll fall…

…It’s only a mountain.


What does he mean, it’s only a mountain?!

This wound that I’m nursing? Oh, no biggie – just a mountain… That friend that abandoned me? Just a spiky craggy ol’mountain… That dream I poured my heart into and still haven’t realized? Don’t worry about it – it’s just a huge ginormous mountain of treachery and peril.

Whatever! Not my favorite song.

But the song kept playing, and each time it repeated, my heart told me to hold onto the promises I have learned. Jesus said:

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Mark 11:23 NKJV

Sir Edmund Hillary, who is recorded as the first climber ever to reach the top of Mount Everest, observed, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

So I have to ask myself, do I have what it takes? Can I conquer the mountain of my doubt, my fear, my past? If I say, “move,” do I believe the mountains will obey me? Jason Castro’s song concludes:

Even when it looks big,

Even when you feel small,

Just a little bit of faith can change it all.

Charlie stumbles onward, forward, upward – with that toothless grin – and enjoys his expedition on Mount Carolyn-jaro. And while I shepherd him higher, I smile too, as I remember the promises of my Savior, and the meaning of the name given to the summit of the real Mount Kilimanjaro:

Freedom Peak.

Ahhh… Be encouranged. Don’t give up. Have hope. There is peace at the pinnacle.


About Carolyn Nelson

Just trying to spread a little grace. I am in love with 4 boys (married to one, mother to three), and I think you're stinkin' awesome.
This entry was posted in Charming Charlie, Just Sayin', Our Life, Things We Have Learned and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Expedition Edition

  1. Carolyn, you are an incredible gifted writer. I am very proud of you.

  2. Thanks Daddy! I’m sure you’re biased, but I appreciate it 🙂

  3. Shelley says:


    It’s funny isn’t it? Whenever we see a mountain our response is never’s just another mountain to climb…no big deal. I’ve climbed many mountains in my short life, and when encountered with another I always think it’s me versus this mountain, a one-woman mission. Here I am alone in a new town with a new job as reporter, and it’s scary. I instantly doubt myself when faced with adversity. I wonder am I tough enough to weather through all of this? Where do I even start when I have so much further to climb? Or maybe it’s the simple response of really…again…another obstacle to overcome. Didn’t I just do this?

    It’s so easy to forget that I never climbed a mountain alone ever, God was there whether I knew it or not at the time. Every time it’s like to first. I forget how to climb every time, but a little faith and time, I think I’ll be a regular Sir Edmund Hillary.

    • I love that Shelley! It’s not a one-woman mission, you’re never alone, and even though it feels like the first time your travel companion has all the experiencey ou need. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Pingback: Your Existence Gives Me Hope « NelsonTotalLife

  5. Pingback: The Life of Jesus: Starring Charlie (2012) « NelsonTotalLife

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