On December 17th, 2020 I hiked the Vernal Falls trail in Yosemite with a couple of my close friends. It was a day to be remembered, a much needed restorative for body and soul.
We only had one full day in Yosemite, so we were determined to cover a lot of ground. Unfortunately, the weather for the 17th was not in our favor. It rained the whole two-hour car ride into the park. It looked like it was going to be a washout. Determined, we pressed on. As we reached the trailhead the rain turned into huge fluffy snowflakes. In an instant the landscape transformed from gloom to enchanted beauty. Overjoyed and caked in wet flakes, we made our way up the icy stone steps leading to one of my favorite vistas in Yosemite. We were the first, and possibly the only ones to make that two-mile trek through icy puddles that day.
It was magical. What made it even more so were the people who shared it with me. It was a pleasure to share a special place from my previous travels with people I really care about. The funny thing is that as soon as we made it back down to our car the snow stopped and started to melt away. We hiked Vernal Falls at the most opportune time that day. I believe the timing was a divine gift.
Even as I have gone through periods of doubt in my faith, the one thing that I have never doubted was divine timing. Over the course of my life I have had moments just like this hike where I knew that God’s hand was in it.
This hike was a much needed reminder of that concept. Leading up to December 17th I was an anxious mess. I was teetering on the edge of passing my college classes, trying to balance my life, and working on what seemed to be dead end mural projects. November was a challenging month for my mental health.
At the start of November I thought I had made a really big, stupid mistake that was going to cost me a wonderful mural opportunity. In November I put in a lot of effort into finding art jobs, but was delayed in the process and did not get definitive answers about anything. I felt like I was a rabbit on a treadmill chasing after a carrot. I was getting nowhere. Even though I just kept running faster and faster and faster. By December I was just about ready to quit. I was burning out. I felt defeated, uninspired, and discouraged. But what made me most upset was that I did not feel validated.
As most artists do, I put my heart and soul into my projects. I have a deep craving to share stories through visual art. I feel that this is one of the gifts that God gave me to share with the world. Yet in November I felt that my creative purpose had lost all its colors.
On that cold December day in Yosemite, I had turned my phone off. I had disconnected from the rest of the world, in order to purposefully connect to the beauty of creation, and my friends. I gave myself a mental break from my projects and classes. I was present. I was at peace. I was 19 again, remembering the first time I came to Yosemite.
Little did I know I had received an email during our hike saying that I had been chosen as one of nine artists to paint a mural for the city of Chattanooga. Only when I returned back to Tennessee did I check my email to receive the news. Despite the fact that I was dying to find out months before December, I believe that I found out at just the right moment.
Divine timing revealed
Here is a truth that I am reminded of: God creates space for you in God’s time. Our timeline of urgency does not always align with God’s. Personally, I run through my life trying to do as much as I can as fast as I can. Waiting and patience are words that I struggle to understand. We spend the majority of our lives waiting on things. We wait in lines. We wait for our food to come. We wait for answers to big questions. How we spend that time waiting can tell us a lot about ourselves, and also our faith.
God creates space for us, space for us to create, and space to commune with God and the people he has placed in our lives. My journey through faith has been full of doubts, heartbreak, and redeeming love. It is in these moments where I find myself surrounded by creation that I know that there is a God who loves me and is for me.
Madison Myers is a student at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in marketing. She has traveled to a majority of America's National Parks and is eager to see them all.