Dan and I have been touring museums and monuments and historic sites as we work our way from Oregon to Wisconsin and back. I didn’t appreciate history in school, but I find it fascinating these days.

At Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, we watched videos of how the sculptors (read: dynamite handlers) shaped the mountains of stone into presidents’ faces and an Indian chief on a horse. Mind boggling.

Presidents Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln — S. Dakota
Crazy Horse — S. Dakota

We nosed through a lighthouse in Two Harbors along Lake Superior’s north shore and read about shipwrecks on this moody lake.

Two Harbors LighthouseMinnesota

We climbed the stairs as far as we could go in Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Lodge with layers of balconies built for guests to enjoy an overhead view of dancers on the main floor.

Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Lodge — Wyoming

I wonder what tales this gorgeous, old, brownstone high school building in Duluth, Minnesota, could tell.

The old Central High School — Minnesota

We stopped in Arco, Idaho, to read about the USS Hawkbill submarine sail planted in the city park, sent to this small town to honor its long association with the Navy’s nuclear fleet.

The sail of the decommissioned submarine USS Hawkbill — Idaho

And at the Lewis & Clark Museum in Chamberlain, S. Dakota, there’s a boat hanging from the ceiling with its stern sticking through the tall glass windows to create an outdoor balcony. Visitors can climb the stairs up into the boat and step out the back glass door to get a feel for the size of the original vessel used by Lewis & Clark in their explorations along the Missouri River.

The history of our country is a mix of fierce and proud and shameful and brave and heart-breaking and heart-stirring.

As individuals, we also have a history. Some of it is regretful, filled with sorrow, with trauma. And some of how our story has unfolded overwhelms us with gratitude.

Katy Nichole, singer and songwriter, wrote these lyrics about a hard time in her life that she couldn’t understand, followed by a season of grace:

There’s torn up pages in this book

Words that tell me I’m no good

Chapters that defined me for so long.

But the hands of grace and endless love

Dusted off and picked me up

Told my heart that hope is never gone.

The chorus goes like this:

God is in this story

God is in the details

Even in the broken parts

He holds my heart, He never fails.

What is your history? What lessons have you learned as your story has unfolded? What second chances have you been given?

Author Chris Fabry asks this question:

What’s holding you back from joining God in writing the story you were meant to write together?

What will you help God write in this current season of your life that will read like an interesting history book to your kids and grands, your nieces and nephews, that will inspire them to hunger for their own well-lived story?  

I want to help God pen a real and vulnerable story—not about what I’ve accumulated or accomplished, but about how well I loved, and how well I showed that love in my actions.

Side note:

And speaking of history, the grand mountains of the Pacific Northwest tell the history of God’s creativity.

Across Jackson Lake from our campsite in Teton Nat’l ParkWyoming
St. Mary Lake near our campsite in Glacier Park — Montana