As I was feeling burdened with the struggles of my daily life, feeling unwanted and unappreciated and unloved, I jumped into my car and drove to my escape place—the place where I could find serenity, uninterrupted peace, and the presence of God. The Alaska Eagle River Nature Center always had a way of washing off the problems and cares of my daily life, but this day was different. I felt at the end of my rope. I felt trapped in a prison I didn't think I would survive. I was questioning God, focusing more on resentment, hurt, and self-pity than on God's love for me.

The ten-mile drive to the Nature Center through a winding road of awesome beauty—steep mountains on one side and the river and thick woods on the other side—helped prepare my soul for what God had ahead for me. Finally, I arrived at the Nature Center. I sat down at the picnic table overlooking the valley surrounded by mountains and glaciers. I was sobbing with feelings of hopelessness. Then suddenly my eyes fell on the park information board that I'd seen many times but, oddly, had never read before. It gave names and heights of the mountains, but then went on to tell how these vast, huge mountains were at one time at the bottom of the seabed! That struck me to my core—the realization of the infinity of it all, that God's creations may change form but His creations are eternal [including us humans]! As I came to this realization, the Holy Spirit flooded my soul, like popcorn in a movie theater, popping and overflowing out of the cooker. I was unable to contain my awe at God's love for me and all creation. “How can this be?” I asked. How can this omnipotent God that created this vast universe be able to come to each of us in such an intimate and loving way?

In my amazement and gratitude for His grace, in awe of all this, I felt my chest unable to hold it all. My heart burst to such overflowing that the praise and song was unable to stay bottled within me. I sang out to the mountain the song “How Great Thou Art.” The song was not coming from me mentally; rather, it was bubbling out from my heart and soul.

“How Great Thou Art”
Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

God reached down and turned my tears of pain into tears of joy. What a wonderful, loving God we have! It amazes me how God can take me from such a low, negative place in my life and turn it into an uplifting positive place.