Life to the Full

DSC_0929By Judy Villanueva

I have come that you might have life, life to the full.” (John 10:10)

Standing next to the stone border that marked safe footing, my little grand daughter and I peered into an abyss of clouds that shrouded the incredible masterpiece.  So close, we eagerly strained to see what the wind and water had carved over the millennia. Staring down into the greyish lavender veil, we could see a depth of red, burnt orange and deep blues breaking through. All of a sudden, I heard the precious girl next to me gasp as the Grand Canyon opened up before her!  She could not help but smile, stretch out her arms and jump up and down. It is one thing to read about a wonder and quite a different experience to stand in front of it and feel its power surround you. Watching her delight and utter amazement blessed me.  She didn’t try to understand it, she simply received the gift it offered and danced!

There is something about these kinds of experiences that splash us with glory and offer us a gulp of life to the full.

For many years I understood “fullness of life” to refer to a life lived “happily ever after”— no worries, no pain, and a picket white fence!  When suffering did arrive, I didn’t know how to make sense of it and, even more troubling, I didn’t know how to make sense of God. I think part of the problem was with my expectations of God, what He should do and how He should do it.  I tend to forget that He is always up to something far beyond anything I could ever imagine, like Grand Canyons and massive rock walls layered in color and, little girls who remind me how to dance before beauty!  When I stop trying to control God and simply stretch out my arms in faith, I find myself at peace and open to receive the gifts God offers me, in all their unexpected packaging!

When Jesus said he came that we might have life to the full, did he really mean He came that we might have God?   

Are Grand Canyon moments designed to take our breath away and help us stumble over the One who IS our fullness?

It would explain why we discover hidden in beautiful canyons, great music, tasty bites, and blessed friendships, a shalom* that fills us fuller than full!   We drove hours and hours to get to the edge of this indescribable wonder, and when it opened up before us, God spoke! To a little girl He said, “I am here, deep and wide and beautiful!  Let’s dance!” To me, her Nana, He said, “I AM fullness of life! Behold, bow, stretch out your arms and be filled!” And, as I stood in silent awe, I heard, or did I imagine Him whisper,  “And, daughter, you are not too old to dance!”

“Thank you, Father God, that you came to give me life to the full! Help me follow beauty to your throne room, delight to your face and trials to your arms. For the Grand Canyon and all the ways you announce who you are, I am so grateful!  Fill me up! Amen.”

What about you?

Have you tasted life to the full?

What moments have you experienced that usher you into that deep place of shalom?

Does wanting to control God interfere with receiving the gifts of life that each day offers you?

When was the last time you danced before beauty?  Stretch out your arms!

*“Shalom” – completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.” (Strongs Concordance)


5 thoughts on “Life to the Full

  1. Dear Judy, as I sit here on a cold morning in New Hampshire,I am inspired by your very beautiful words especially when I remember my own visit to the Grand Canyon. You remind me that beauty speaks profoundly to my soul and that places like the Grand Canyon are definitely signs given by God to help us all know that he is faithful and he is great and that he loves us. As I listen to the music and reflected on these images that you created with your use of words I thought of so many things that are signs of God’s Love. I thought about marriage and how a good marriage, a marriage based in God, is meant to be a sign for the world to see even in times of great darkness. My marriage, your marriage, is not just for ourselves but is a witness, proclaiming to all who are hopeless, that he remains and that he is calling us to love him. Thank you for writing this morning and inspiring my worship time.

  2. Yes, I believe I have tasted life to the fullest, speaking of my life, I felt it here on Earth for awhile, and I now believe it was just enough to get me started on MY journey to live life to the fullest in Christ. There have been little kisses of “shalom” from God here and there and I know that there is more to come as he shows me my way through His way. I have learned the hard way being the rebellious person that I am in some ways that I am not in control of anything and believe me I don’t want to be anymore. So, I try to be still and wait to be guided and when I reach my hand out and I feel His in mine guiding me that’s when I feel “shalom”. Judy, my dear cousin, you know I LOVE to dance and the last time I danced was with Jesus. I had my beautiful worship music on and I closed my eyes and reached out my arms and I could feel Jesus pulling me close to Him and we danced and danced. He even twirled me around back in His arms. As my eyes were closed, I had the most lovely vision of me and Jesus in each other’s arms and I laid my head on His chest and we danced like we were on clouds. As I cried He wiped my tears.
    I loved reading your beautiful words this morning Judy. You truly have a gift and you are a gift to so many❤️ Especially to your familia and that precious little granddaughter you were writing about. She will cherish this forever. What a blessing??
    I love you my dear Judita?
    Blessings Always ,

  3. Thank you Judy for this beautiful post. I loved reading Marie’s thoughts and I had to joyfully agree with her that marriage is one of God’s first and amazing gifts after He created the earth and all creation. Also to hear Lori clinging to Jesus and loving Him and feeling His love in return.
    What an amazing God we serve🙌 Thank you for sharing your gifts with us✝️
    I love and miss you❤️

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