Get A Grip

Get A Grip

We had only been married a few short years when Keith thought it would be fun to take me snow skiing. I had never been to Colorado before and Steamboat Springs was our destination.

I spent weeks preparing for our trip and made sure I had all the right ski gear. Although I had never come close to a snow capped mountain before, I wasn’t about to look like a novice. No, not me. I wanted to appear like a seasoned skier and I figured having the right outfit would surely do the trick.

Oh, you should have seen me! My cute ski googles matched my fancy ski outfit and fur-lined black boots. I spent hours flipping through ski magazines and daydreaming of our first ski trip together as newlyweds.

I could just picture it…


Zipping down the slopes effortlessly with the wind in my hair. Sitting fireside snuggled up with Keith as we watched the stars at night. Roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate  after a long day on the slopes. It was going to be wonderful.

The only problem was… my daydreaming didn’t quite match up to my reality.

Instead of swishing down the slopes together, I was stuck in ski school with the other beginners while Keith swished his way down black slopes alone.  So much for looking like an experienced skier. And there was the annoying problem of my constant slipping and sliding all over the place.

The fresh snow seemed to be playing tricks on me and I spent more time on my bottom than I did standing upright. I couldn’t pivot or ski side to side like everyone else. Heck, I saw 4 year olds that were skiing better than me. It was down-right embarrassing.

I was frustrated.

I was tired.

I was miserable.

This experience was turning out to be any but togetherness and romantic. Things just weren’t turning out like I had planned.

On the second day of our trip, Keith suggested I skip ski school so that he could take me up on the mountain. The classes weren’t helping and surely he could teach me how to ski, right?

Hesitantly, I agreed because deep down inside, I wanted the fears that I now had created about skiing to go away. But most importantly, I wanted Keith to be proud of me. As we road the gondola up the ski slope I kept saying to myself, “You can do this.  You can do this!”  But, that all changed when we got to the top of the mountain and I made my way off the chairlift in an oh-so-clumsy novice way.

I took one look at the steep slope ahead and a tidal wave of panic came over me.  I began slipping and sliding and swinging my arms as if a thousand bees were chasing after me. Down to the ground I went – over and over again. Poles, skies, cap and fancy goggles spewed all over the place. I was a complete mess and Keith was trying his hardest to be patient but we were both thinking to ourselves, “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.”

As much as I didn’t want to go down the slope that day, I knew it was the only way back to our hotel room where I could light a warm fire, slip into my comfy sweatpants  and call it quits. With surrendering tears running down my face, Keith assured me over and over again that we would get safely down the mountain together. He stayed close to my side and every time my feet would start to slip, I could feel his strong arms grab a hold of me before I hit the ground.

Over and over again. Slowly and steadily. We made our way down the mountain. My confidence grew as I realized Keith was there to catch me. He encouraged me the whole way and never left my side. When we reached the bottom of the hill Keith said, “turn around” and when I did I could see how far I had just come from that ski lift perched way up the mountain. Wow…we did it! My anxiety was quickly washed away by a flood of joy!

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:18-19 

It’s been years since our last ski trip but there have been many times when I’ve felt myself slipping and sliding along the tough terraine of life. Challenging circumstances along the way have oftentimes left me frustrated, tired, and miserable – just like that memorable day on the slopes.

I’m so thankful that God promises to support me when my feet start to slip. To hold me tightly and never let me go when I’m about to fall.

That same promise in Psalm 94:18-19 is for you too, dear friend! God is always right by your side, ready to help and console you when life gets unbearable. If the road ahead appears to steep to handle, don’t try to go it alone. Ask God for help and know that He hears you when you call out to Him.

Knowing that God is cheering us along the way, gives us the confidence to keep going down the mountain of life. As we pause along the way, we can look back and see just how far God has brought us, one faithful moment at a time.

Today’s Question: 

Are you feeling unsteady today – as if life’s circumstances are causing your feet to slip? Has there been a time in your life when you’ve experienced God’s grip of support and comfort in the midst of difficult obstacles and overwhelming challenges?   

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Bounce Magazine



  1. Hi Leah!
    It’s been a long time with fond memories way before you connected with Keith! (he sounds great!)
    I so enjoyed your words and am grateful Nyla directed me to them!
    I, also, had a similar experience on my first (and last) ski adventure. 😉
    My frustration was so overwhelming that I could not get out of the ski resort fast enough!
    How could it appear soooo easy for sooo many, and yet a complete stumbling block for ME!
    I had to equate it to the gifts we have all individually be given by God. We are all called
    in vastly different ways to serve Him and what comes naturally/easy for some, may be completely unnatural for others. You are so on the mark that He is always there supporting us in our own special journey!
    Blessings to you & your family
    Amy L. Sell-Bell 😉

  2. Nyla Gutekunst :

    Are you sure Keith was that patient!!!!! Just kidding, he’s a gem (but don’t tell him I said that.)

  3. What encouraging words Leah!

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