On the Other Side: Beauty and Abundance

You would think a girl from a rough Aurora neighborhood wouldn’t be easilty frightened.

But the moment the guy with tattered clothes, coarse, greasy hair, and a garbage bag clutched in each hand popped out from the lower level of the parking garage and landed right in front of me, I thought about turning around, and planting myself securely in the single recliner of our tiny hotel room.

And deadbolting the door.

I questioned my husband the night before about his choice in hotels.  When we arrived, there were four police cars lined up  in front of the check-in office.

Uh, yeah.

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The parking garage next to our hotel seemed to be a popular spot for partying and sleeping…

Even Mr. Fearless had doubts.  I was tagging along on his work trip to Salt Lake City, looking forward to some time away without the chains of to-do lists or obligations keeping me tethered.  We would then take a few extra days to explore the beauty of Utah together. Yet he had chosen this particular hotel because he knows me so well. The website boasted of  nature trails behind the hotel itself, and a huge park with a lake within a brief walking distance. Yep. My kinda environment.

Although skittishness about the fellow with the garbage bags skipped alongside me, I meandered the nature trail, and tried to avoid looking back over my shoulder.  Trees canopied a small stream, and cottonwood remnants waltzed in the breeze to its carefree summer song. The covered beauty captivated me, and I was startled when I found myself back under open skies .  Straight ahead a path to a tunnel with canyonesque walls beckoned  So pretty, I thought, but I hesitated, thinking of the fellow on the trail behind me, and uncertain of what lay ahead if I went on.

Hubs had the car, so my other option was to return to the familiarity of our tiny room. It was safe…but confining.

I put one foot in front of the other. The canyonlike walls were pretty cool.

And then I exited the tunnel.

The intrigue of the walls was forgotten.

Sugar House Park introduced itself. The glorious sunlight momentarily defeated my sunglasses. Once my eyes adjusted, a colorful array of flowers greeted me.  Verdant rugs of grass on rolling hills welcomed more graciously than a red carpet. The mountains – some wrapped in green and brown fleece blankets, others clinging to their toupees of winter white – seemed close enough to reach out and touch. A lake sprawled out in front of me. I couldn’t wait to explore this abundant land.

That week,  I walked the trail over to the park and around the lake as many as three times a day.  I never tired of the beauty or tranquility.  I even made a new friend, and we walked a couple laps around the lake together one morning, then sipped cold drinks at a nearby Starbucks – the standard white chocolate mocha frappachino for me – while chatting away.

The day we were to leave, the hubs and I took a final stroll together. I was a little sad about leaving even though we were  heading out to a much nicer hotel and adventures in Moab. I gave myself a high five for not letting skittishness or fear keep me confined to my room.  I would have missed out on an abundance of beauty and peace to my soul. And I never would have met my new friend Amy and been encouraged in a specific way the Spirit has been leading.

We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance. Psalm 66:12 NLT

I go back to Psalm 66:12 on a regular basis; it seems to be my anthem, and our little visit to Sugar House neighborhood was a tiny note in that life song.  When we walk with Christ, we walk into abundance, into more-than-enough, into grace that constantly shapes us into who we were created to be.

The path may seem difficult at times, fire and floods – and strangers – shouting at us to not go any further.

Choices – physical, emotional, and spiritual -will always be at war within us. Many times we want to choose the comfortable way, or we want to turn back because we don’t know what lies ahead. Sometimes we are afraid of what we do see.  But when we limit ourselves to what we deem safe rather than venturing out where God is calling, then we walk by sight rather than faith. This is not our calling.

And we miss out on the Much More.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  Romans 5:10 NASB

The Christian walk is so much more than the gift of reconciliation to God and anticipation of one day removing our earthly garments and slipping into our eternal wardrobe.

Though that alone would be worth rejoicing in, it is more. So much more.

It is being made whole. Restored

It is the here and now, the opportunity to know we are doing exactly what we were created to do. It is confidence in chaos, peace in waiting, joy no matter what. It is reflecting the love of Christ to a world that is rather hostile to Christianity.

Over the past year, I’ve struggled with moving beyond the safe familiar back into the Much More.  My spirit has felt it, has felt like it has camped out in the desert without a canteen and no well in sight. It’s been comfortable, but I have been parched.

Comfortable is not abundant living.

And abundant living does not mean comfortable living in the physical sense.

My desire is to see past the flood and fire, to move beyond the skittishness, to quit looking back  over my shoulder for the guy with garbage bags, put one foot in front of the other,  move on past the canyon walls…and into the unfathomable abundance.

How about you? Anything holding you back from your abundant land?

(Jesus said…) The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].  John 10:10 AMP

Beyond the fire and floods,

Marie with a 🙂

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Just a simple clay pot living out the extraordinary gift of Christ in me.

2 thoughts on “On the Other Side: Beauty and Abundance

  1. Wow Marie. Wow. Maybe you know/remember me… we’ve never met IRL but I’ve been hanging around. 🙂 Anyway, husband and I are on the European continent doing ministry work now and yeah… this resonates. A woman at “my age” ought to be settling down to something a little more familiar and cozy right? Well, of course that’s ridiculous. Anyway, your “guy with the trash bags” thing got me: how often do we miss what’s ahead for looking over our shoulder with fear, longing… etc?
    Thanks… this is a timely Word. Blessings!

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