God is my strong fortress and he makes my way perfect. Second Samuel 22:3
Do you understand how he moves the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill? Job 37:16 NLT
I don’t know about you, but I’m a real control freak. I’m the type of individual who has to know exactly what’s going on, where the road leads and what will be the outcome. I drive my husband to the edge of insanity, with the need to have our vacations carefully ordered and every day planned to the near minute. He thinks I’m a micro-manager, and I think he’s disorganized. And somehow we’ve learned to deal with our idiosyncrasies.
One summer we escaped the Florida humidity with a trip to Colorado. As I breathed in the cool mountain air, and let my eyes feast on the majesty of the Rockies, I could feel the tension melt away. The drive from Denver to Beaver Creek is beautiful with winding roads, tight turns, and daring drop offs.
This particular trip Jim wanted to do some paragliding. I’d never even heard of paragliding, and looked at him with the usual skepticism. He said, “Don’t worry Hon, you’ll love this. It will be a great adventure for the family.” I always know when he says things like that, and doesn’t bother to elaborate on the details that I’m going to be involved in something I don’t want to be.
The drive up the mountain for the paragliding adventure was inordinately steep, so I tried to keep my mind occupied with the massive green trees, and little furry animals scurrying about the bushes. It seemed to take forever to get there, but when we finally arrived we were greeted by three mountain-men, complete with the hairy beards, back-pack equipment and well-worn hiking boots. I was already getting nervous, my breathing coming in short fast spurts. Of course, that could have been from the altitude in preparation for what was to come.
Meg and Jordan were following close behind the guides, excited about the prospect of experiencing something completely new, and I was tagging behind saying the Lord’s Prayer. Jim was up front asking a lot of questions and glancing back at me with a smile of assurance. Let me tell you, I felt anything but assured! As we arrived at the peak and I got a look at the tiny, bug- sized cars in the valley far below, I swallowed hard and fought to keep my composure.
“We’re going to do what?” I asked incredulously. Jim stepped back- a very wise maneuver, and allowed Mike, Mountain-man Number One to do all the talking.
“You’ve got nothing to be afraid of, Mrs. Nashman.”
“Oh, for goodness sakes, please, if we’re going to be this near death, by all means call me Tamra.”
“I’ve been paragliding for years, and it’s quite easy to do. You merely run toward the edge of the cliff, the chute will inflate and allow the wind to pick you up and carry you. It’s like a bird. You’ll just float off the mountain.”
At this point I was absolutely speechless. All sorts of thoughts were running through my head: Is our life insurance premium up to date? Who will take care of the kids when I’m dead? And what about the laundry; no one does the laundry but me. You see, I’m a very pragmatic woman, not inclined to take crazy life-threatening risks. I looked over at the kids, faces full of wild anticipation, nodding affirmatively at me, like I should accept my fate without question.
“There is absolutely no way I’m running toward a two thousand foot drop- off and trusting the wind to pick me up and carry me. Are you completely out of your mind? Come on kids, we’re out of here.” I turned on my heels and headed back toward the car.
“Babe, wait a minute,..you can just watch us take a turn, then you can decide if you want to do it or not.”
“You expect me to watch while my babies run off the side of a mountain?” Now I was getting very angry at my husband for this monumental assumption.
While we were arguing, halfway back to the car, my kids were getting suited up for the flight. Jim took my arm and gently led me back to the launch point. Meg was set to go, her helmet on, her safety harness strapped to her body and legs, and the instructor suited up behind her. Fortunately, it was to be a tandem ride, so that was comforting to me. Somewhat.
Mountain Man Mike waited until the wind was just right then counted off: “One, two, three, go! Run, Run, don’t stop!” And I saw my baby girl pulling with all her might as the huge wing-like canopy lifted in the wind, and raised them off the ground just as their feet hit the edge of the precipice. I crumbled in a heap on the ground, watching in absolute wonder as they floated gracefully through the air, gently moving with the currents of the wind. For twenty minutes I watched them make circles and melt into the clouds, the gold and white canopy angling and soaring with the airstreams.
Next it was Jordan’s turn, and he ran off that mountain like he was taking a jog in the park. “No problem, Mom!’ he shouted as he waved with glee. All this time, I never took a breath and my finger nails were blue from a lack of oxygen. Jim turned to me, pleased with himself for this latest adventure. “See, Hon, it’s no big deal. You can do this.” And I fainted, right where I stood.
It took me three days to get up the courage to strap on that gear and prepare to jump off the mountain ledge. As Mike was suiting me up I was crying, the tears streaming down my cheeks, explaining to Meagan the location of my gold necklace tucked away in the bedroom drawer at home, should I never see her again. Poor Mountain Man Mike had to explain every strap, buckle and harness to me in vivid detail as it was being placed around my body. I must have asked a hundred questions before we took our stance waiting for the perfect gust of wind. And when it came I ran harder than I’ve ever run in my life, and before I knew it I was airborne, floating weightless through the sky. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. Finally I understood why my daredevil husband wanted me to experience it.
While I was carried through the air, no sound but the wind moving in the canopy above us, I began to think about my life and my obsessive need to know every step of the journey. Near death experiences have the fortunate side effect of introspection. My dream was to become a professional musician, travel the world, sing and play and make albums for millions of people to hear. That was the journey I planned to take. But here I am, a woman who writes books and shares her stories with people for the purpose of spiritual inspiration and encouragement. Not exactly how I expected God to use me. However, in relinquishing control to Him, and laying down my perfect plan, I have found great fulfillment and deep- seated peace. My joy is in the knowledge that I’m on the path Jesus choose for me, long before I took my first breath. I can rest in the understanding that His way is flawless. And I can trust Him to carry me through my life journey as completely as I can trust him while floating from a canopy off the side of a mountain. It’s all in His perfectly capable hands.
- Tamra Nashman
- Florida, United States
- I'm a mother of two children, an inspirational and motivational Author and Minister. My greatest joy is to see people gain new insight and understanding about the amazing possibilities that life holds when we put put our faith to action. 'Shoes For The Spirit, is a book filled with real-life stories of people who have walked through great difficulty and have found the right pair of shoes for their personal journey. Whether or not you are a person of faith, there is something uplifting, guiding and compelling in this little book, for everyone. The accompanying CD, 'Songs For the Soul,' is a compliation of original orchestrated tunes, with voice-over verse layered on top of the music. This CD has great encouragement for all who take the time to listen. I hope all of you bloggers will read the new sequel to 'Shoes For The Spirit,' listed in the blog posts below, and if you're so inclined, will purchase my book and CD. You won't be sorry! Be blessed. Love, Tamra
- ► 2008 (11)