This weekend my family took a short vacation to the mountains of Tennessee. I grew up going to the Smokey Mountains, visiting the North Carolina side at least a couple of times every year. I developed a great love for those mountains and have always felt most at home there. However, over the years I spent less and less time in the area, with my last real foray into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park back in 1998 on my honeymoon.
So this weekend was my first trip in almost 14 years. I didn't realize how much I had missed the mountains until we starting driving up that winding road out of Gatlinburg. What made this even more special was the difference in me this time.
You see, I'm a lot closer to God now than I was back then. When my wife and I were married I had been a born-again Christian for less than a year and was still growing in my walk with the Lord. This time I'm more mature in my faith and have recently been growing closer to God. This time I looked at my visit through Christian eyes.
It was amazing to me to see such beauty and majesty. From the grand glory of the mountain silhouettes to the small wrinkles on leaves and the lichen on the rocks, I could see God's hand in all of it. Looking at His creation I found it even harder to believe that such things happen randomly and without a guiding hand. I had so much more appreciation for that land than I ever had before. God is so amazing and wonderful and He has blessed me so much.