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By Elizabeth Sigler

The air was very thin and my asthma was starting to be a bigger problem than I expected.

The third day of our climb up Machu Picchu had proven to be the hardest by far. Peru sits at a really high altitude and being on top of a crazy big mountain was not helping either. The air was very thin and my asthma was starting to be a bigger problem than I expected. As we made our way up the stone steps through the deep green forest, we came out to the base of the tallest peak we would have to hike. I was already at the back of the group, was moving so much slower than everyone else, and I was so embarrassed.

I was at my physical peak!  I had never been so fit in my life. This was not how it was supposed to be.

I played high school sports and had a personal volleyball trainer, so why was everyone else moving so much faster? I was angry and disappointed with myself. I felt like my legs were suffocating. Every step was a lunge. The air was so thin I wasn’t getting enough into my body. Pretty soon the group had reached the top and I was only half way up. I began to cry with anger and frustration, I hated being so behind everyone else while they just sat and rested at the top and watched me struggle. The pack on my back, the same size that everyone else had to carry, was becoming unbearably heavy. I was stuck, miserable, exhausted, angry, embarrassed, I wanted everyone to leave me. I was losing faith that I was ever going to be able to reach the top.

I heard some cheering and I looked up to see two of my friends running down the steep peak towards me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. When they got to me they were smiling and one of them threw my pack on their back.  They both wrapped their arms around my waist, lifted me up and carried me with just my toes barely touching the ground. I was crying, “I’m so embarrassed everyone thinks I’m the weakest link.” They assured me that no one thought that at all. My relief was indescribable and I felt the Holy Spirit within me so strong.  

The trials we receive are never to be conquered alone.

I knew that these boys were angels that God had sent to me in that moment. They carried me all the way to the top where everyone was cheering for me, helped me sit down and gave me some water. No one ridiculed me and everyone was so happy to see me. After we rested, we descended into another beautiful valley.  I was in the back again, but this time with a friend continuously by my side. Happy to have just survived.

I made it home and my summer went on and I didn’t think much about that day. Pretty soon after the trip I was asked to be a leader at a church girls camp and was given the opportunity to speak to the girls at a fireside devotional about enduring life to the end. As I reflected in this topic I was instantly overcome with gratitude for that trying experience on the mountain tops of Macchu Picchu. I had learned one of the most valuable lessons God could ever teach us.

Never lose faith and never lose hope. He will carry us to the end, sending us loved ones along the way to lift our toes off the ground when we can’t walk any further.   

This experience had a monumental impact on me because severe physical exhaustion is something impossible to ignore. However, I think often times in life it is easy for us to ignore severe spiritual exhaustion. It’s just not always as obvious as dying on the side of a mountain, but it can be just as devastating. This experience taught me that we need to be more aware of our spiritual starvation by constantly reaching out in prayer and recognizing the angels that God sends us.

This story to me has become one of the biggest stepping stones in my life and in my journey of faith. Without these powerful moments, and the small daily moments of faith building, I would not be the person I am today, nor would I have been able to conquer the trials that the Lord has sent my way to strengthen me.

The trials we receive are never to be conquered alone.

I know that I need not fear because I can always depend on my Savior to carry me up the steepest hills of life when it has become too hard to keep stepping forward.

“If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing.” – Henry B. Eyring


  1. I love your analogy of physical exhaustion and spiritual exhaustion. Your perspective on this is amazing, Lizzie! Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love your story! What a great thing to have friends like that! What a great analogy that angels will help us endure to the end.

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