For week 43 of Reasons to Hope, we’re talking with author and speaker Susan Alexander Yates on how she’s found wisdom in hiking miles of God’s wondrous wilderness with dear friends and family over the years.
Susan has five children (including a set of twins), and twenty-one grandchildren (including a set of quadruplets). She and her husband John, who is a retired pastor, live in Falls Church, Virginia and have been married 52 years. Brimming with life, Susan shares from her experience in books she’s written on marriage, parenting, faith, and women’s issues. A woman of the great outdoors, she is likely to be found outside on the farm, with her golden retriever or one of her many grandkids, and her favorite time of year is when they all get together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in Virginia’s glorious Shenandoah Mountains.
Cousins Camp has become such a fan-favorite, she’s written a book to share with others how they might bring their families together, strengthening their ties to each other and to God’s creation.
If you haven’t been following Susan’s guest series on Root & Vine, “Finding God in the Wilderness,” you can find them here. I’ve truly enjoyed following Susan on the trail as she discovers Reasons to Hope everywhere she turns.
Here are some highlights from Susan’s stories to get us ready for our live conversation with Susan Alexander Yates on Reasons to Hope, this Monday, October 25 at 3pm ET on Root & Vine’s Instagram Live.
Finding Reasons to Hope in God’s Creation with Susan Yates
ALL OF CREATION WAITS IN EAGER EXPECTATION
“The northwest wilderness is just that — raw and rugged. Its beauty is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It brings new meaning to Moses in the wilderness, Jesus in the wilderness. Nature has a way of lifting the scriptures from black and white into technicolor!”
“Nature reflects God’s creative traits of power, beauty, detail, and diversity. These remind me of how small and limited I am and of how big He is. His wilderness gives us a healthy perspective.”
CONNECTING IN COMMUNITY
“We experienced the encouragement and community of other hikers. We love this community; folks look out for one another. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or what you do. We are on equal ground. We need one another.”
“We wanted to ponder what we were seeing in creation and specifically look for metaphors. A large uprooted tree with weak roots spoke of the need to sink deep roots of faith in our lives in order that we might not be toppled over by the whims of culture. The delicate art in the flower of a mountain laurel (calico bush) spoke of the whimsical nature of God’s artistry. Why the pink lines? I think God just wanted to have fun. Everything doesn’t have to have a serious purpose. It makes me want to be more whimsical.”
“My mother once said, ‘When we get to heaven I think God is going to ask, ‘Well, what did you think of my world? Did you enjoy it?’”
“It delights Him when we enjoy His creation. When we do, our focus shifts from our stuff back to who He is. Our perspective is restored. It’s His ‘nature therapy,’ and He delights when we immerse ourselves in it.”
Writing the Book of Hope
We’ve been writing the Book of Hope together for 43 weeks now, but it’s never too late to join us. Here’s all you need to get started.