"The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." Psalm 50:1-2
My first trip to Zion National Park was probably 20 years ago. Back then, my husband Tod and I had a small group of really good friends. There were four couples, all without children. Our pastor's wife got us together in a Bible study, and we became best friends after that. My friend Joni loved to go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon ever year in the fall. And one year suggested that we make the trip together.
It was an amazing trip filled with laughter. The next year, we wanted to do it again, only this time we suggested going to Zion and Bryce canyons in southern Utah. Again, we had a great time. Zion is known for its hikes, and the most dramatic is likely Angel's Landing. Let me tell you about this hike. It's actually two parts. The first part is two miles and while it is challenging, it's doable. Looking around at the incredible red rocks takes your mind off the fact that your heart is pounding from exertion. After two miles you arrive at Scout's Landing and you have the most amazing views of the canyon.
Then you look up at the last half mile of the trail to Angel's Landing. It's imposing. It has sheer drop offs and basically looks impossible. At some points it's only about 4 feet wide. People do it every day, but you better not be afraid of heights. So that day, only three of us made it to the top. I was one of them.
About four years ago, my family went to Zion. At that time we just had the three boys, who were about 9, 11 and 13. Once again we headed up the trail to attempt Angel's Landing. Of course, those three boys took the first part with ease, while my husband patiently walked with me while I stopped multiple times to "enjoy the scenery. " We arrived at Scout's Lookout and I fully expected to go to the top. But a few minutes into the hike, while holding on to chains and stepping across rocks with no ground underneath them, I panicked big time. I knew my fear would be a hindrance to my family, and so I turned back and prayed while my husband and boys made it to the top.
This past summer we went to Zion again. Memories of that past hike to Angel's Landing were fresh in my mind, and I was planning on stopping at Scout's Landing with my daughters while the boys once again went to the summit without me. Fear has a way of controlling my decisions, and even the thought of being that afraid again stopped me.
However my youngest son Robbie kept asking me to try. "Please Mommy, you can do it," he said. I didn't think I could, but to appease him I told him I would think about it - fully intending to say no. But he kept at me. And a question started to form in my mind, "Could I possibly do this?" A few other thoughts joined that one. "You weren't afraid 20 years ago" "If you are afraid, your daughters will be afraid." "You aren't a quitter."
Those thoughts could only have come from God, because in my flesh, I wanted to stop at the safety of Scout's Landing.
Well, we arrived at Scout's Landing and I looked at the trail before us, and in an instant decided to go for it with all the family. My son Dylan suggested we pray (thank you God for that boy) and we gathered in a little circle and prayed for safety. Then we lined up boy girl boy girl and headed up the very narrow, very steep climb, hanging onto chains, and turning to help each other up. Step by step we climbed. (It's really not a hike at this point.)
Amazingly I felt no fear. I don't even remember hiking past the same spot where I panicked a few years ago. That last half mile took us 45 minutes, but we made it to the summit. Praise God.
While I don't think I'll ever be a mountain climber, with the peace of God and the encouragement of my family, I managed a hike I never thought I would do, and got to see some amazing sights, including the look of respect on my son's face when he said, "I'm proud of you Mommy."
In His Love,