“You have to take the stairs!”

BESTWhenever I read or hear this statement I think  of when I was given the choice at Montmartre  in Paris to visit the crypt or climb the stairs to  the top of Le Sacre Coeur for one of the best  views in the city. They told me the crypt  required an admission fee while the view at  the top was “free”. What 17 year old wants to  pay to see graves? Not this one. I was saving  my money for some of that delicious Parisian  cuisine. Show me the view of the city please!

My guidance counselor, Mrs. Everett, and I  began to follow the signs which led us to a  staircase. As we began our journey up she  talked about how her afternoons on the stair  master must have been training for the  seemingly never-ending stairwell we were climbing. My afternoons had not prepped me at all as I huffed and puffed my way up the tight stairwell enclosed within a tower that contained small slotted windows (probably to prevent tired people like me from giving up and jumping out along the way). I cannot remember how many stairs there were but the three (or four ;)) floors at Thomas Jefferson High School had not prepped me for this part of the journey. “Paris is not for the faint of heart or the faint of legs”, Dr. Freidrichs, the trip organizer, had told me at the beginning of our Parisian excursion. Lord Of hosts, she was right.

There is always a price to pay in life. Some things possess a monetary value while others require “payment” of your time, effort or love.

On my way up that stairwell I grew tired. Not being able to see the top of the staircase or see outside frustrated me. All I could do was move one foot forward and pray that I had enough energy to survive a climb of Everest type proportions to this southern girl. #thestrugglewasreal In the meantime, Mrs. Everett belted out “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Climb Every Mountain” over my wheezing as she climbed ahead. When my body forced me to pause my efforts she ran…yes ran ahead to see how much further I had to go. “I see light,” I heard her squeal but then I heard “I’ve got good news and bad news, Bran.”

I resumed my trudging, joining her shortly after her update. When I emerged from the enclosed stairwell I saw the bad news: there was another staircase to climb.


I let Mrs. Everett run on as I caught my breath and stretched my legs before the next part of the climb.

There were several tourists who whisked past me, probably on a tight schedule to see as much of the city as possible. Then there was short, plump, grandmotherly woman who emerged from the stairwell and slowly waddled towards me. Speaking in heavily accented French she placed her hand on my cheek and asked if I was all right. In my broken French (I took Spanish and Japanese instead of French in high school but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit Paris!) I told her I was fine. Reassured by my smile and other non verbal communique she trudged on.

As I look back over my life (and I think things over…:)), I feel like God used that experience to prep me for the journey ahead.

There is always a price to pay in life. Some things possess a monetary value while others require “payment” of your time, effort or love.

There are times when you will share your path with others who may be more prepared than you or vice versa.

Sometimes you will have cheerleaders and sometimes you will be the only one holding a pom-pom.

There will be times those who share your path will be more focused on their own journey that they aren’t even thinking about yours. Don’t hate or feel bitter. God has different lessons and plans for both of you.

Just like a coach switches out players God may use different people to encourage you on your journey. Remember to always look to Him and enjoy the gift of those precious encouragers He sends your way.

With or without external support you have to keep going. “After he had patiently endured he obtained the promise…”

I eventually made it to the top for a breathtaking view of the city’s arrondissements. A nice couple greeted me in French as I huffed and puffed my way up. They’d spoken to Mrs. Everett in French and naturally thought I’d be proficient too. I discovered they were Scottish which led to conversation in English since my French was horrible. We asked questions about each other’s homeland and parted ways. After a few photos to prove I made the climb I began my next adventure: finding a toilet.

Lord Jesus was that an adventure! At that point there was no Mrs. Everett to translate for me. I had to figure things out on my own. After several fumbled attempts of French I was directed to a store with a toilet requiring coins for access. Unfortunately the coin machine was broken. I’m pretty sure some American before me attempted to gain access with a few forced Jeffersons and Lincolns. Imagine how excited I was to be so close to relief but having it snatched away. I left that store feeling that desperate measures were just around the corner, eyeing patches of foliage that might be a solution to my dilemma.

But God in His wondrous mercy had me turn a different corner just as someone vacated a public toilet. And there was no line!!! Yessss Jesus! *praise break* After I utilized the facilities I felt like I had a new lease on life. Y’all know what I mean. Lol

I walked up the hill a bit to meetup with my group and heard unfamiliar voices speaking a somewhat familiar language. Two little Asian ladies almost bumped into me as they rounded the corner. They apologized profusely in French while bowing slightly. One turned to the other and began speaking in Japanese. Hold up. The entire trip I was at a handicap due to my limited French skills. But after three years of Japanese class, in a European nation, I was presented with an opportunity to shine. It happened in the most unexpected place and circumstance.

I understood enough to know they were looking for the toilet. The previous year my Japanese teacher, Mr. Craig, drilled us on how to ask for and give directions. Who knew it would come in handy in Paris? So excited to help I gave them directions in Japanese which totally caught them off guard and opened them up to further conversation. We parted ways and I rejoined my group.

Even when the solution isn’t evident, don’t give up. Don’t head for those bushes….or rather don’t make rash decisions in moments of desperation. Keep pressing forward and God will reveal provision.

Although you may find yourself in a place where you feel your gifts are underutilized, identify the lessons and value of that season and be encouraged that God is setting up your time to shine which will come when you least expect it.

#journey #lessons #Jesusbeanelevator #okIwilltakethestairs

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