Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Rest of the Story

You may have seen my "status update" a few days ago on Facebook where I mentioned having a great start to my day by walking down to the ocean with friends for an early morning swim before breakfast.  Well, let me tell you the whole story:

A week ago a few of our staff girls (aka: my friends) and I decided that we would get up really early on Friday morning to go for a walk down to the ocean before our 7 am breakfast at the mission.  We were undecided about leaving at 5 or  5:15, wanting to sleep as long as possible but also have time to walk for an hour or so and then get back and shower before we had to be at breakfast.  I was thinking that 5:15 would be better because hey, 15 extra minutes of sleep at that time of the morning seemed pretty important.  In the end it was decided that we'd leave at 5 am since one of the girls who wanted to go had breakfast duty the next morning and needed to get back as quick as she could.  So, I gulped and set my alarm for 4:45 am.

The next morning, for some reason, I woke up at 4:15.  I could hear thunder and see lightening in the distance out my window.  I wondered to myself if the other girls would come downstairs and if we would actually be able to go out for the walk.  Part of me wanted to stay curled up in bed and I tried my best to ease back into dreamland.  But it was of no use.  By 4:45 I had finished my routine... dressed, tennis shoes on, teeth brushed, face washed, hair put into a pony tail and ready to go.  Still no sign of life from the other girls, I laid in bed and listened to a podcast message by Wendy Treat on Guarding Your Heart, to pass the time.

By 5 am two of the three other girls were ready.  We looked up to the missing girl's window and all was quiet and motionless, so we slipped out into the still-dark morning to make our way towards the beach.  The sky was stormy but showed promise of clearing so we set off on our trek.  Bocachica is silent at that time of the morning and we felt quite conspicuous as the dogs camped out at each house all along the way would break into aggressive song until we moved out of sight.

The farther we walked the lighter it got and the more people we started to see along the way.  Bocachicans are generally early risers.  It's been raining a lot lately so we were concerned about the path we had to walk on and thought we might have to change our route if it got too muddy.

At one point there was a bit of a curve or a dip in the path ahead, I couldn't tell what it was but it was REALLY, REALLY dark and at that point us girls were kind of isolated on the outskirts of the pueblo.  I'm always very cautious about putting myself in possibly dangerous situations so I was thinking very seriously about turning around and not continuing forward.  I was going to say something to the other girls but they didn't seem to be bothered by it at all and their confidence nudged me to keep going without saying a word.  We kept walking and the strangest thing happened.  When we got to that REALLY, REALLY dark spot that I had seen from a distance, it actually wasn't dark at all!  It was a little dip in the path that once you got to it, was actually full of light!  And just around the bend the path opened up to a spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea!

Isn't it funny how God speaks to you through the smallest and seemingly insignificant details of your life?!  This may seem strange but God speaks to me through crazy things like my animals, nature, even Facebook!  And that day, He spoke to me through that REALLY, REALLY dark spot on the path that turned out to be REALLY, REALLY full of light and beauty!  How often do we fret and worry about the seemingly dark spots that we see lying ahead on our paths of life?!  How much energy and time do we waste by fearing and dreading instead of walking forward with confidence knowing that at that time God will be there with us?!  I mean, honestly, don't we realize that GOD is WITH US?!  That He LOVES us and has our BEST INTEREST at heart?!  That He promises to guide us and teach us and care for us?!  And while I know from my own experiences here on earth that no one is exempt from pain and tragedy, I also know from my own experiences that those times of pain and tragedy are when I have felt Him and experienced Him MOST!!

This is something that I'm learning to put into practice in my daily life; consciously giving Him my worries and concerns and letting them go, refusing to let the enemy torture me with them, disarming them, rendering them powerless against me.  I remind myself that my life is in God's hands.  And I know from my personal experience that I can trust Him and rest in Him.  And he always, eventually turns the dark spots into light and beauty!

So, back to my story... we finally made it to our destination, the Mamon Beach, named for the Mamon Tree that overlooks it.  We stopped at the Mamon tree to soak in the beauty of the scene before us, stretch our muscles a bit and catch our breath before turning around to head back to the mission.  Almost ready to start the trek back, one of the girls starts taking off her tennis shoes and announces that she's going to take a swim!  Before we knew what had happened she was joyfully frolicking in the peaceful early-morning waves.  The two of us left on the shore decided to sit there and wait for her to finish.  The thought of getting all sandy and wet and yucky didn't appeal to us initially.  But seconds later, we looked at our friend in the ocean and then at each other as if to say, "What are we doing?!  Let's join her!"  So off with the tennis-shoes and socks and there we were, all three of us, in our exercise clothes, laughing, jumping, floating and soaking in that wonderful, joyous moment of spontaneously enjoying God's unexpected gifts of beauty and freedom and peace!  It was one of those moments where I felt God hugging me sweetly and just reminding me in the small details that He loves me so much more than I can even imagine! 

And that was the more-than-great start to my Friday last week!  And the reason it was so special and great wasn't because of my sweet friends who accompanied me, or because of the beauty that our eyes beheld, or even because of the free-spirited joy we experienced.  Each of those things played a part in the whole scene, but the reason it was so special was because GOD was there; speaking to my heart, helping me understand His Truths and showing me his love!!

And isn't He always!

Lord, help me not to forget to look for You in the small details of all my days.

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