My husband, Dusty’s, love language is quality time doing strenuous things together like mountain biking or rock climbing. My love language is food- delicious, expensive food. So earlier this spring we compromised on a date. I’d climb with him then afterward take me to a nice restaurant and I wouldn’t have to split an entrée with him.

Dusty is a climbing guide and always checks out a crag before taking clients. He wanted to try a very remote crag in the middle of Pisgah National forest because it wouldn’t have many other climbers there during the summer.

We started early in the morning because it was going to take about an hour to hike to it. The guidebook had said the area was relatively easy to find. It should have said, RELATIVELY in all caps because Dusty wasn’t sure which trail to take so our one-hour hike multiplied into two.

When we finally got on the rock. We climbed, ate our snacks and drank all the water and then around dusk headed back down the trail for dinner.

Halfway back down the mountain we came to Butter Gap trailhead where about 5 paths come intersect. It was getting dark under the canopy of trees and again Dusty wasn’t quite sure which trail to take.

After an hour we knew we should have made it back to our car. It was almost dark. Both our phones were dead and the one headlamp Dusty grabbed at the last minute was flickering on low battery.

Dusty is a 7 on the enneagram – he’s Mr. Optimistic glass isn’t half full its overflowing. I’m more of a 4 – Eeore and I have similar worldviews- My glass isn’t half full, it’s dry with spider webs at the bottom.

Dusty tried to motivate me by saying, “Hey lets think of things we are thankful for.

All that came to my mind was a long list of cuss words. As darkness crept in he said, “Snakes like to come out in the spring to find mates so watch your step.” It was about 10pm, snakes were lurking and not only would I not get a nice meal, I was getting no meal at all. I wasn’t even sure be out of the woods by breakfast the next day.

Suddenly a song popped into my head. We’d gone to a Hillsong concert the week before and I’d been listening to a particular song that resonated with me.

Don’t let your heart be troubled
Hold your head up high
Don’t fear no evil
Fix your eyes on this one truth
God is madly in love with you

I thought, “God you can’t be madly in love with me. I think you hate me and want me to die.”

But the next line of the music goes:

Take courage
Hold on
Be strong
Remember where our help comes from…

Where does my help come from? I remembered a Bible verse where someone prayed for God to take away a problem. But the Lord had said, “My grace is big enough for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”

So, I started praying. “God, I’m weak, tired and hungry. You said you would be my strength. I need you now!”

I began singing the song over and over and something happened. Like the Grinch who stood on top of the snow topped mountain listening all the Whos down in Whoville sing. My heart changed. It expanded. Suddenly I could think of a ton of things I was thankful for. The gratitude changed my attitude.

About that time the trail split again. Guess what Dusty said?

“I’m not sure which way to go.”

I didn’t even cuss at him. My heart had changed. I was thankful. I was grateful. We were on an adventure together. The gratitude, the music, the Lord changed my heart.

Finally around midnight we found the dirt road. A lone pickup truck just happened to drive up by us in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. We were a little worried it might be an axe murderer, but Chester the garbage collector from Brevard stopped. He picked us up and drove us back to our car. We asked him why he was out here at midnight on these deserted roads. “I was just driving around,” he said. But I think Chester was an angel.

I didn’t get shrimp and grits that night. But the gratitude I found lasted a whole lot longer than the expensive meal would have. Instead of filling my belly, it filled my soul.