Image courtesy of COLINBROUGH,

It was a hard slog to the mountaintop, God.

There were fallen trees and loose gravel,

mud puddles and unforgiving inclines.

Spent and winded as I am, though,

the climb was worth it.

From here I see just a bit more of what you do:

the variations in terrain,

the range of colors in the atmosphere,

the simultaneous insignificance and beloved distinctiveness of humanity.

Up here it is quiet.

My mental swirl slows.

I can hear your own heart beat in my chest.

This mountaintop – it is a destination, but it is not my home.

I will retrace my steps back to the everyday.

How can I keep close what I’ve seen and (not) heard?

May my hike shape me into someone more resilient,


better able to rise above the fray,

so that I might more fully live your love with others.

Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a seven-year-old son. She blogs weekly at

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