I went on a hike.


It was my goal to reach the bench,

to climb the hillside path,

to see the sunset.


I talked to God most of the way.


And thought about how I had failed….


Angry words had been expressed, never to be inhaled back in.

Loved hearts hurt.


And I was disappointed


in my decisions

in myself.


And I whispered confessions

to my patient Lord,

coming out in tired, hiking, breathless words.


And I reached that bench

but felt the urge to keep going

on this snowy, muddy path.


And so I continued upward

and reached another bench

as the sun went behind the mountains to the west.


And I was tired of treading in the mud

but had to keep going

to continue to process with God

the inevitable consequences of my loose tongue and poor choices.


When I reached the third bench

I stopped.


And I saw that the path had ended

with a gate.


And as I pondered the end, I said to God sadly,


“I’m at the end of ME!

I’m so over SELF!

I surrender all to You once again, God.

Please forgive me.”


And I finally sat down

at bench number three.


My eyes took in the majesty,

the beauty,

the splendor

of the mountains so far away

illumined with evening hues.

Those grand mountains,

unmovable but changing with light leaving.


And I still chose the heaviness of guilt.


And I pleaded, ‘Lord, please speak to me.  I want to hear Your voice.’


With comforting tone and loving presence,

I heard in my mind,


“I have whispered your name through generations.”


I gasped.

Tears flowed.


HIS words.

Words I could not have imagined on my own.


He thought of me?

Way before I was born?

He, God, spoke my name?


I was overcome.


Alone in my regret,

He met me there

with loving words

when I had chosen the opposite, time and again.


Undeserved love.


Unmerited forgiveness.


I had brought a shadow to His light,

but here on this third bench at the end of the path

He reminded me

that He is love

and He is mercy

and He is grace

and He is Teacher

especially in the aftermath of careless mistakes

and most of all,


unconditional love reigns.


Heading back down

before the sunset turned to darkness

my burden was lighter.


The climb,

the end of the road,

the voice of faithfulness —

all worth the journey.


Now it was time to seek wronged hearts,

humble myself,

do better,

and learn on this journey.


And I was thankful to find

that the same forgiveness I received on that hike

is the same forgiveness

that I was met with

by those offended.


Light begets Light.

– Susie Stewart


O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!

Psalm 139:1-19  (NLT)

Sunset Hike 2


Photos taken by Susie Stewart

The Point

So that was the point.


The point of the difficulty.

The point of the suffering.

The point of the disappointment.

The point of the pain.


To know You.


I miss that sometimes.  I think it’s all about me and what I’m supposed to learn about myself.

But really, it’s not much about me.

It’s about You, God.

It’s all about You.

And the great lengths You go to to draw us near to Your side.


My life is to love you with abandon, and to bring You glory.

That includes the pain, the brokenness.



minus the pain,



…not learning of Your closeness to the brokenhearted.

…not hearing your comforting tone.

…not realizing that You are the only true faithful One.

…not knowing that you are the Friend that sticks closer than a brother.

…not experiencing Your timely providence.

…not depending solely on You.

….not following Your gentle lead as Shepherd.

…not knowing the depths of Your love.

…not witnessing Your awesome power.

…not feeling Your arms around me.

…not knowing what it is to be more than a conqueror through You.

…not learning that You are completely trustworthy.

…not having awareness of the joy of obedience.

…not learning of Your unconditional love.

…not experiencing Your healing touch.

…not grabbing Your firm grip.

…not being changed by Your forgiveness.

…not seeing Your Kingdom here on earth.

…not worshiping You with tears.

…not being able to relate to the pain You endured for me.


You, my God, took my knowledge of You

and turned it into my experience of You.


You took what I knew in my mind,

and filled my heart with it.


Job, man of many a trial, battered and bruised from the fight, said after his dark, dark night,

“I had only heard about You before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”  Job 42:5 (NLT)


You will fill every wounded soldier that looks to You.

That wants to know You.

To experience


– Susie Stewart


“When God places you in a challenging situation, take it as a signal that He will be glorified – and that you will come to know Him in a deeper way.  Because He’s going into the challenge with you.  And you’ll know Him even better on the other side….To know Him is the grand goal and adventure of life.  Inviting you into more intimate fellowship with Him will always be one of His primary reasons for steering you in one direction or the other.  Don’t just be listening to hear Him.  Be listening to know Him.”  ~Priscilla Shirer

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  John 17:3 (NIV)



I find myself searching….

searching for words that come anywhere close

to describing You


I repeat so many of the same descriptors

over and over

and over and over

and they always seem to want for more.





And You are all those things

and yet…

My mouth and mind get frustrated

that I can’t come up with more

to describe You and how much I think of You.

To worship you.

And then I remember

how in Your Word

it says that the the winged ones surround Your throne

repeating “Hoy, Holy, Holy…”

over and over

and over and over

A reverence

An awe

A repetition of what and who You are.





And I think about the repetitious worship

of the mysterious ones in heaven

and it seems to me

that there just aren’t enough words

to describe perfect Divinity

to ascribe perfect worth to You

and we repeat and we repeat

for all eternity

and our minds are blown

trying to fathom


 Holy God.










– Susie Stewart

…I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.  Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.  They were calling out to each other,

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
The whole earth is filled with his glory!’
Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.

– Isaiah 6:1-3 (NLT)

…I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it.  The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow.  Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads.  From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. And in front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames. This is the sevenfold Spirit[b] of God.  In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal.

In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back.  The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight.  Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—
the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say,

“You are worthy, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things,
and they exist because you created what you pleased.”

– Revelation 4:2-11 (NLT)