Experiencing God from Every Vantage Point

Was I missing out? Perched on the concrete ledge of the switchback, I gazed over the expanse of green grasses against the clear blue sky and the shallow riverbed glistening in the brilliant sunshine. The river mesmerized as it curved and then stretched out basking in the sun for miles.

Only moments before, I made the tough decision to stop. I didn’t want to disappoint my family, but I recognized it was simply too risky.

Vacationing in Big Bend National Park, I was elated to share it with my husband. As empty nesters, we were thrilled our adult daughter joined us. She’s our only child,  athletic and adventurous. She spent hours researching the trails in anticipation of this week together.

Santa Elena Canyon, a highlight of Big Bend, is rated excellent for its beauty and ease for all skill levels. As my inbox filled with her research, our daughter honed in on this 1.3-mile trail as the family hike we’d conquer. Despite back issues, I was confident.

But I hadn’t considered the incline. I started the trail filled with grit and determination. To ease my hike, I used my daughter’s hiking stick for balance and my family carried my water in their backpacks. I was out-of-shape with chronic back issues, but this was the easiest trail in the park, so we were determined to do it!

The cemented trail began a slow incline. Zig-zagged above that glistening riverbed, planners included a handrail. We conquered one switchback at a time. We turned to ascend another, and the handrail ended. I glanced upward to evaluate the trail ahead, analyzing it against my tightening back and ragged breath.

Then I looked down, dizzy with no handrail to steady myself. Determined to avoid disappointing my family, I made it up one more switchback.

Then I stopped.

For twenty-six years I had been my daughter’s biggest cheerleader, encouraging her to trust God’s adventurous plans. She did, and God led her to the Himalayan mountains and South Asia, sharing the good news of our Savior.

But now the roles reversed. She reminded me of when I stepped into a canoe at a retreat where I knew no one and immediately flipped the canoe carrying a newfound friend, bursting into laughter while experiencing the freedom of stepping out in Christ. She lovingly reminded me I was the one who taught her to trust God.

I understood every word. Having faith. Stepping out. Believing Christ would carry me. But I understood my limitations. I was a danger to myself and everyone on the trail. As I struggled, I asked her to gaze below at the craggy side of the canyon. I reminded her the water’s buoyancy had protected me from injury when I flipped that canoe, but here was real danger if I lost my balance.

My precious girl did not want me to miss out, but we reached a consensus. Finding a safe and comfortable ledge, I perched along the switchback. My husband, daughter, and her friend proceeded on.

As they hiked upward and out of sight, my heart sank as I overheard their laughter, followed by awe-filled wonder as they reached a spectacular overlook.

Was I missing out? 

I humbled and honored to share my heart and words on the (in)courage blog today. Join me around this table of friends and click here for the rest of my story!

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