Mountaintop Moments

We’ve all set goals. Starting out at the base of the mountain, we climb step by step, working hard to get to the top. The steeper the climb, the more joyful the celebration at the summit. I’ve had many mountaintop moments in my life, but two of them stick out in my memory.

TEC Retreat

When I was in high school, my sister and I went on our first retreat experience. It was called “Teens Encounter Christ”, or TEC. I remember being really excited about spending time with other girls my age who wanted to deepen their faith. We’d be gone for three days and two nights, so it was quite a commitment.

Every effort I made was met with joy. I joined a small group to attend talks, have discussion time, eat and pray together too. One of my small group leaders was named Marita, and I told her I was going to name one of my children after her.

After three days, it was time to pack up and head home. I definitely didn’t want to go back to my regular life. I’d experienced so much friendship, faith and fun that I was surely on the highest spiritual high of my young life.

Please don’t make me leave.

College Graduation

I attended a small, all-women college in Minnesota, where I studied nursing. The town was small, but so pretty. It was close to the Mississippi River, with bluffs rising up from the ground, standing like soldiers around the town. The fall season splashed the leaves with every color, and in the winter, we could rent cross country skis and slide around the silent white campus.

I did join the swim team, although it was a small one, making it to the state finals sophomore year. I was also involved in choir, school government and a TON of studying.

In May of senior year, my parents made the six hour trek to see me graduate. It was such an emotional experience. I was excited and relieved beyond belief to have made it to that day. But I was also incredibly sad to say goodbye to the great friends I had made, and the beautiful city and campus.

Please don’t make me go.

In both of these situations, I asked myself, “Why can’t I stay right here forever?”

Well. Because there’s so much more waiting for me.

All I could see was the joy in being where I was. But if I had stayed eternally frozen at the TEC retreat, I wouldn’t have graduated from college. If I hadn’t graduated, I wouldn’t have had the joy of a career in nursing.

Emotional and spiritual highs are wonderful, such a sweet part of life. But they aren’t places to stop and break out the camping gear. They’re springboards to the next adventure. Take it from me, savor those lofty peaks, but don’t forget they’re just one wondrous step on the journey.

So don’t stand admiring the view for too long…the next summit is waiting.


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54 thoughts on “Mountaintop Moments

  1. Thank you for these words today. They say the view is better from the top but if we spend too much time there we miss the beauty along the way. Becoming a mom was a mountaintop moment and it continues to be such a joy. I have had many other moments throughout my life but the journey along the way has provided me with so much too. I wouldn’t be where I am today without God walking with me through all the joy, heartbreak and amazing moments.

    • Hi Mary! The ‘way’ has a beauty of it’s own too, the path to the summit is often a gorgeous view.

      Like you, I’ve had wonderful highs, but unlike you, I wanted to stay there. It’s taken a long time for me to understand that there’s more ahead, and there will be joys I never thought possible.

      Bless our journey on the road, and on the mountaintops too,

  2. You are so right, Ceil. We often have those mountaintop moments which remain in our memories for ever. Landmarks to where we have been in the past, and perhaps signposts to where we are going in the future. Moments we would like to last for ever – but alas no … it’s time to move on.

    I’ll tell you about one “literal” mountain top moment.

    Years ago I took a group of young people to a Christian “retreat” in the Lake District in Northern England. I was not much older than them. We stayed in a hut at the bottom of the mountain and cooked together, prayed together and sang hymns by the bonfire every night.

    One day, I did something very stupid.

    I got up early whilst everyone was asleep and went up the mountain (or very high steep hill). Up and up I went until eventually I reached the top. Sometimes I was climbing on all fours, but still determined to get to the top. Once there I could see the other mountains and valleys for miles around. I was alone. I sat there and prayed. I felt God close to me that morning.

    It was a stupid thing to do. Had I fallen and got injured or worse no one would have found me. But it was my mountain top moment, literally. Just me and God together. I wanted it to last for ever.

    God bless.

    • Oh my gosh Victor, I can just see you standing up there, reveling in the nature that God created. I suppose it may have been a rash decision to climb that morning, but certainly the Lord met you up there.

      I’m glad it all went well in the end. After all, there were many more ‘mountaintop moments’ just waiting for you.


  3. Dear Ceil,
    I can so relate to this post! God has great surprises for us around the corners ahead and they will not compare to the awesome moment of stepping into His presence physically one day. God is so generous with His “love gifts”, but I so understand the desire to savor them. I see that happening now as our oldest granddaughter nears the end of her BSN program and will be the first grandchild to graduate from college. I see it with her brother (our son’s youngest) who will graduate from high school just a few weeks after his sister graduates from college, leaving our son and sweet daughter-in-law at the end of daily encounters with their two children.

    Thanks for these great reminders!!

    Love and hugs,

    • Hi Pam! Another great nurse, yay!

      Those generational changes are some of the biggest highs aren’t they? I remember being at my daughter’s graduation from college and being so emotional. I’m sure some of that emotion was for me, knowing her feet were out of my door.

      But, I have a wonderful son-in-law and three grandchildren because she moved on so well. More highs!
      God bless,

  4. I love this, Ceil! We need to keep moving forward. It is good to appreciate, enjoy and admire the views in the moment, if we stay there we will miss what is ahead. Awesome post!

    • Hi Linda! Thank you for your encouraging comment! I hope you will have mountaintop moments in your near future, where you know God was with you. And may you not stay long to see it, but move on to the next great moment.

      God’s blessings,

  5. So true, Ceil. We often want to linger there (kind of like the three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration). But Christ knows there is much more to come if we just follow Him.
    BTW, my daughter lives not too far from St. Cloud, MN. Sounds like you went to school out her way!

    • Hi Pam! I absolutely was thinking of Peter on the mountain, wanted to stay and build tents and monuments. I totally understand his desire to do that.

      The college I attended was in Winona, not far from St. Cloud at all. There are so many little college towns in Minnesota!
      Have a great Monday my friend,

  6. So true! Those mountaintop experiences are amazing, but wouldn’t seem like much if they were all we saw. There is beauty along the path as well, and more mountains further along!
    My daughters bot attended TEC and also said it was an amazing experience.

    • Hi Mari! I was very happy to see that TEC programs are still up and running. I had a wonderful time at mine, and it helped me to love the retreat experience. I need to plan one as an adult!

      There is beauty on the path, and that’s a great thing to remember in between the mountaintops. All of life has its plan and purpose.
      Have a wonderful Monday!

  7. LOVE this advice, sweet friend. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know exactly what you mean…I don’t like to leave moments like that, either, but I love how you said they are springboards to the next adventure! What a wonderful way to look at this! I am always so blessed to visit with you. You and your amazing testimonies are such an encouragement to me.

    • Hi Cheryl! Thank you so much for your kind comment about the post. I think we definitely support and inspire each other through our blogs. Life is a wonderful ride through God’s plan for us, isn’t it?

      God bless,

  8. That is such a pretty campus! It’s so true that God wants us to be content and grateful in all situations, doesn’t he? There are some times in my life I wish I would have savoured more, but so true, there will be another summit and always more to experience and learn.

    • Hi Lynn! Oh I think all of us wish we had done a better job of realizing the peaks, as well as the times that we were on the road. God knows our hearts, he’ll be right in front of you for the next path and summit just as you said.

      He doesn’t want any of us to be sad, just aware. On to the next peak!
      Happy Monday,

  9. I’ve had a lot of mountaintop experiences but always had to come back to the valley. I lamented that but then, like you, realize if I had stayed there I would have missed so much. I also suspect the mountaintop would have lost its luster and become ordinary. this way I could still enjoy the experience in my heart.

    • Hi Bill! Great point about getting a bit jaded at the view if I stayed too long on the summit. Life is certainly about changes and ups and downs, never really a chance to get bored!

      As you said, we always carry our mountaintop moments in our hearts. Wishing you a mountaintop experience today,

  10. Very wise advice, Ceil. I smiled at your teen retreat story. Just last week, I shared with my mid week group of how my mom sent me on a retreat just before I graduated grammar school! I had a similar experience. Very hooked on the spiritual. And I just can imagine, even at this age, what God has in store We know it will be wonderful.

    • Hi Mary! How I agree with you! God always uses us in some way, and has plans for us that we would never even imagine. It’s always a wild ride with the Spirit, and always wonderful.

      Having an early encounter with a retreat really helps to form our faith doesn’t it? I think it was invaluable to getting me excited about my relationship with God.
      Monday blessings,

  11. I love your photos and your message, Ceil. I think I’m learning to appreciate the mountaintop times more. Sometimes when I sink into a dark valley again, I tend to forget. I realize now how much those mountaintop moments actually gave me more strength to keep moving forward. God is so gracious to give us those times, isn’t He? Love and hugs to you!

    P.S. How are your neck and back doing? I sure hope you’re getting relief!

    • Hi Trudy! That’s a good point. If we didn’t have those ‘high’ moments, maybe we would lose so much heart that we’d stop trying to follow Christ. That’s a great insight.

      Love and hugs to you too!
      PS I am doing better day by day. I started water aerobics and walking last week, and it’s been going well. Not out of the woods yet, but I’m definitely getting better. Thanks for asking!

  12. So true- it’s nice to pause and enjoy those mountaintop moments but we can’t stay there forever. We have to keep going to the thing God has for us next and trust that there will be other moments like that as we move forward.

    • Hi Lesley! I like how you said we have to trust. It does seem that the journey is endless sometimes, without any reward. But then, those mountaintops! God gives us just what we need to move forward. It really is all about the journey.

      Have a peaceful afternoon!

  13. Hi Ceil!

    You’ve shared much wisdom in this post. Those mountain top moments are amazing! There is a time, after some of them where we might find ourselves feeling a little blue–realizing the vista from the top isn’t nearly as amazing as we were led to believe (I discovered that after finishing my master’s thesis). Yet those times are forever–other adventures are ahead to be experienced and treasured.

    Blessings on your week,


    • Hi Kim! What did you get your masters in? I can imagine that all the work you did, all the aim toward the goal and then…a sense of emptiness. I totally get that.

      I am hoping that your week will bring you a mountaintop moment in the midst of your worship songs!

      • Hi Ceil! I earned a Master’s of Arts in Education (non-teaching) my program of study was Post-secondary Education: Student Affairs (translation: I studied college student development). God, however, had other plans, therefore, I haven’t worked in the field.



  14. Hi Ceil: My mountaintop experiences have always preceded a time in the valley. I have memories of achieving something I thought was great to find that I still had a lot to learn in order to advance in the faith. It’s like the mountaintop was there for a reason but God always had a greater lesson for me to learn.

    • Hi Cecelia! Mountaintops look different to different people, that’s what I’m gathering from the comments here. But as you said, the moment doesn’t last long…back to the valley to apply the grace we’ve gotten on that height.

      What a joy to know that you have more to learn, and are ready to learn it. You are blessed.
      Have a wonderful day,

  15. A good reminder, Ceil, but sad in a way. I want to stay here forever, curled up on the couch with my kiddos watching Star Trek. ๐Ÿ™‚ What could be better than this?

    • Hi Sandi! That does sound like heaven, I don’t blame you one bit!

      When I’m chatting with my 5 year old granddaughter, I never want that to end either. It happens so seldom, and the things she talks about are so funny and endearing!

      Wishing you even more mountaintop moments this week,

  16. Hi Ceil,
    that is right – life is a journey – and I have to admit that I have loved every moment of it, and even the bad things that I regret doing have been an important part of my life. I have come to realize that those bad things have given me empathy and understanding of others who have trodden and are treading the same path. I meet many people out in the streets that I can tell the road they are taking has no comparison to life in Jesus.

    God bless you Ceil.

    • Hi Brenda! I love the fact that you enjoyed all of your moments, peaks and valleys too. I think it’s a sign of wisdom that you can see the positives and learning opportunities in those down times. I agree that our crosses can help in understanding others in theirs. It sounds like your experiences have been invaluable in your street mission.

      Thank you for your wisdom today,

  17. Hey friend … thanks for sharing a couple of those ‘please don’t make me leave’ moments. They do linger long, don’t they … never to be forgotten, their impact shaping who we are to become.

    Good to connect with you again. I’ve pretty much kept a light online profile in recent weeks. You’ve been a good model of what that can look like. Thank you for showing us how to do this blogging thing …


    • Hi Linda! It’s nice to see you again! I’m not sure what you mean about being a model of online profiles, but I’m glad it’s helpful in any case.

      I hope everything is going well for you. Didn’t you have a new job opportunity come your way? I hope it will produce many mountaintop moments for you!

      Have a peaceful afternoon,

  18. Oh Ceil, you write so powerfully. I enjoyed hearing about your two mountaintop experiences, and how they were so beautiful and amazing in so many ways, but yet you had to leave and move on, plus you wouldn’t have had the second one if you’d never left the first one. So true in the reality of our lives… we want to stay in the safe happy places forever, but “graduation” comes and here we are back in a changeable state, trying to find the new normal, climbing back up the mountain of life. It is all about learning to enjoy the journey too, and not just pining our hopes on good experiences, but being thankful about the learning and joys that happen in the difficult times too. Beautiful allegory, I will think on it today for sure! Hugs to you dear friend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi MM! There is a lot of wisdom in your comment. I liked your use of the word ‘graduation’. I think that’s true. One peak reached, and now to work on the next…because there’s always a next work. God makes sure of that!

      Thank you for your kind words MM. You are a real encourager.
      Have a restful night,

  19. Hey Ceil, As I read your post, an Acappella song pop’d in my head. It goes like,

    “I love to live on a mountain top
    And be fellowshipping with the Lord
    Love to stand on a mountain top
    Because I love to feel my spirit soar
    But I must come down from that mountain top
    To the people in the valley below
    They’ll never know that they can go
    To the mountain of the Lord”

    In your interested, go to:
    Mountain Top

    Thanks for your encouraging posts.

    • Hi Keith! Oh my gosh, that was so much fun! Thank you for the link to the song/video, I really enjoyed it. And those lyrics are just spot-on, I can see why you thought of it after reading here.

      There is purpose in our mountaintops and valleys, as these lyrics say so well.

  20. “So donโ€™t stand admiring the view for too longโ€ฆthe next summit is waiting.” Thank you; sometimes we want to freeze a moment or recreate it, forgetting that God has bigger, better times ahead.

    • Hi Jeanette! That’s for sure. I know I’ve been guilty of wanting to stay too long on that mountaintop. God usually has a way of nudging me forward though!

      Thanks for visiting today ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Felt this way on my silent retreat last week – I didn’t want to leave. You express this so well in this post. Thanks for the insight. I was restless all week and think it is due to the re-entry to reality. The best growth occurs in the valleys, though. Have a wonderful weekend, Ceil

    • Hi Jean! I bet you had a wonderful experience on your retreat, and I’m sure ‘reentry’ is a difficult thing. I would want to stay there too!

      On to the valley my friend. As you said, there is growth there.
      Have a great weekend too,

    • Hi David! Thank you for visiting today (or yesterday really)!

      Yes, after the mountain comes the real work, right? We have so many wonderful moments to encounter, so lets remind each other that the valley comes first…then the summit.

      Have a wonderful day,

  22. I remember feeling that way at the garden tomb in Jerusalem. I have never been to such a peaceful place even though there is the city bus terminal just below it. somehow the shape of that place kept the sound out. I remember telling the Lord, I could stay here for ever. He replied, but the lost are out there. Ok, Lord, I must move on. The mountain tops are great for viewing the big picture unless our own hearts desires get in the way. Great post sister, spoke to my heart where I am right now. I am having to push myself to be active right now…would rather sit on a bench but I my heart and body will never get stronger if I just sit. Thanks for the vivid picture.

    • Hi Betty! How nice to see you again!

      What a beautiful experience you had in such a meaningful place. I think I would remember that forever. I’m so glad this post spurred you to remember this wonderful time in Jerusalem.

      I am also very happy to sit and look out the window, waiting for something to ‘come to me’. Now many times that happens, but I also think God wants us to be sure to use all of our gifts. Onward from the peaks to the valleys to begin the work again!
      Sunday blessings,

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