ATLANTA (BP)—Mountains fascinate Trudy Cathy White, from the mountaintop outside her childhood home where parents Jeannette and Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A fame led family Bible studies to the rough spiritual mountains that have tried her faith.
White, a Christian entrepreneur, speaker and former missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board, offers wisdom from personal mountaintops in a new book, Climb Every Mountain: Finding God Faithful in the Journey of Life.
She and husband John built their home on that childhood mountaintop in suburban Atlanta, reared four children and completed a 10-year stint near Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as IMB missionaries. Today, two gospel-centered ministries the couple co-founded, LifeShape and Impact 360 Institute, improve the lives of children and adults internationally.
Life’s struggles and pains have strengthened her relationship with God, whom she describes as a mountain of fortitude.
“I see mountains as symbols of God’s unchanging, resolute presence. He sits like a mighty mountain, unmoving and unaffected by the storms of life,” she writes in her book. “Second, mountains represent the many struggles, obstacles and challenges I’ve faced throughout my life. They mark where the road gets rough, where the climb seems too steep.”
‘Life is hard’
The advantages of growing up in a Christian home as the only daughter among the Cathy’s three children, having parents who modeled Christian principles personally and professionally, and managing her first Chick-fil-A franchise as a 19-year-old college freshman were not enough to shield White from pain.
“After all, God’s supposed to make our lives easy, right? Wrong,” White said. “Life is hard.”
White’s most difficult journey has been understanding her own identity, she said as she has always been introduced as the daughter of the founder of Chick-fil-A.
“I had seen my parents walk through so many challenges in life. Life is not defined by the things you have or who you’re connected with,” White said. “My identity is defined in who (God) is in my life.”
White’s husband has suffered two bouts of cancer. Her youngest son David, born in Brazil, couldn’t breathe on his own the first 30 minutes of his life and spent nearly a month in intensive care.
“The Lord is our shepherd; we shall not want,” John whispered Psalm 23 to her during the difficult birth, she said. Today, David is a 31-year-old husband and father, although he suffers from adult developmental amnesia.
A climb, but not a solitary journey
White views children as gifts from God accompanied by the rewarding challenge of parenting.
“We as parents need to be the best role model we can be for them,” she said. She encourages parents to look past the temptation to criticize children for their faults but to take opportunities to praise them.
The book flows from a lesson White learned from her father, that the greatest blessings in life stem from helping others. Each chapter of the book, available Feb. 12 in bookstores and on Amazon, uses Scripture and life experiences to help readers learn their identity in Christ, understand their spiritual gifts and godly calling, and leave a godly legacy for generations. White’s lessons encompass godly parenting, aging and grief.
“The One who made you also made mountains,” White encourages readers. “He knows every part of you, and he knows every part of the climb ahead of you. And although it may not feel like much of a blessing in the moment, he’s called you by name to climb it.
“But don’t worry. He’s there to climb it with you.”