By Amanda Leonard

There she stood with wide eyed wonder and hope in her heart. She loved adventure and was estatic to begin her journey into the depths of the Mystery.

In front of her appeared two paths. One was well beaten, it looked as if many had been down this one. The trail was well traveled and wide. There was no brush or thorns, no obstacles that stopped the way of going forward. It looked inviting so she decided to go down this path.

The trees were whistling a song as the wind blew through their branches. The way was lit and the range was flat and enjoyable to walk through.

As she began her journey forward she came across signs that pointed her to the direction she was to go and there was no veering from that way. There were people there along the way, encouraging her to keep the path. She looked over the edge and it was steep and if she didn’t follow directions, she’d surely fall to her emanate death. They wanted her to stay the course, even though her heart longed for more adventure.

She listened intently to what they said, as it seemed like they knew what was best. So onward she went. She approached another sign, turn right.

Everything looked the same, the trees, the flowers, the mountain, the people. It was as if with each turn, it was a mirror reflection of the previous place she’d been. It did feel comfortable to her, so she proceeded.

Again another sign, turn right. She did as it said. The path got deeper the further she went and she felt like she was entrenched. There was no way out and she began to feel imprisoned to this path that seemed to be going in circles. What at first seemed lovely, now felt like confinement.

This path looked so wonderful at first. It was so bright and was so inviting. Yet, she was unable to veer from the direction of the signs and the people who told her what was best.

Up ahead, another right turn. She began to feel heavy, like a huge yoke was across her shoulders. The people began to place heavy weights upon her, expecting so much of her on her journey. She felt the responsibility to carry what they had given her. She could barely go on, each step added a thousand pounds. Another, right turn.

There she was, at the beginning again. She had tracked a circle and had gotten no where. Her heart was downcast and she knew there was more to this journey than this. She wanted to be brave and step out from the entrenchment.

Could it be this other path could lead her somewhere new? Somewhere she had never been? Was this a path that many had overlooked because it didn’t look pleasing to the eye? Could this ancient path lead her to where her heart had always dreamed of?

She took off the heavy yoke and bravely jumped out of the trench, even though those along her previous journey had warned her not to.

Their voices were loud at first. She wondered if they were right. What if I do go down this other path and I get lost or I can’t find my way? The path is so narrow and steep and it doesn’t look like many have came this way, she thought. It looks dark and overgrown and she could barely see the small cobble stones for all the overgrowth. She decided it was worth it, to travel this unknown path. So she went.

It seemed scary, as there was little light to show her the way. She could still hear the voices from those on her previous path but the further she went, the quieter they became. Then, she heard a voice within, “This is My ancient path, not many choose this one. It’s hard but worth it. I believe in you.” She used her arms to tear down branches that were in her way. Some had thorns and she got a few cuts and began to bleed. The way seemed to close in on her and she had to get lower and lower. She climbed over stumps and moved small trees out of the way for her to walk through. She didn’t see anyone along this path, yet, she didn’t feel alone.

She walked and walked and then up ahead she saw an old ornate gate with beautiful green ivy wrapped around it. A bright light shone through it and all of a sudden from within her appeared a key. She held the key in her hand and it was a perfect fit to open the gate, so she did. It screeched as she opened it. She opened it slowly, her heart beating out of her chest.

Behold, there standing before her, a man wrapped in pure white light. Hair as white as wool and eyes like flames of fire. He is the One she had been searching for all along. The other path seemed promising but only got burdensome the further she went. It looked easier, or so she thought but the ancient path was worth it even through the shedding of blood. It cost her, her life and it was worth it just to see His face.

She was bloody and beaten up from her treacherous journey but that was but a distant memory, for she had seen the One who is altogether lovely and wonderful. There He stood and as she walked through the ancient gate, she had walked through the hole in His side. As she walked through Him, she came out clean, robed in fine white linen and a crown upon her head. She felt she didnt deserve it, yet He insisted. He had prepared a table, a feast for her to come and eat with Him and all of heaven. She had come home, and they all were so excited that she had made it, despite the path she had to endure.

The path was narrow but opened up to all of heaven, a great expanse of Him and all His goodness. The lower she got the more she felt His breath upon her face, encouraging her to press on where many were afraid to go. It was the joy set before Him that He endured the cross and it was her joy to pick up her cross and carry it too. He showed her the joy in suffering and in being misunderstood. His death, brought resurrection life and here on this ancient path she went through the same. She lost her life to gain it in Him.

So now, she stands at the crossroad, when others are ready to make the choice of which path to go down. Each one has a choice and she holds nothing back in explaining the two paths. Some decide to go the easy way and some take the ancient one. Again each one has to make their own choice and some go around and around, entrenched in the old beaten path and others may go around it once and see there’s got to be more.

She is a pioneer, and she knows the path is hard but the journey worth it. Just as Jesus was with her, she cheers others on as they face the limbs, the thorns, the blood, the weakness and speaks life and courage to go on, to press on towards the mark and finish all the way through! Those that chose the ancient path are prepared to die to everything they’ve known but are ready to die so they can surely live.

Open up you ancient gates, for the King of glory to come in. The Ancient path is calling you to come and experience the most crazy and wild trek of your life. On this path you will go low and lower still, yet great grace will sustain you and seeing His burning eyes are worth it all. It may not seem appealing but I promise you, from one who’s been and taken the journey….I’ve tasted the ancient path that leads to the ancient one and there’s no going back, no matter what.

Amanda Leonard