Wednesdays have become sort of a date-day for Laura and I due to the fact that Isaiah attends school for a full day instead of his usual half-days. Today was no different. We decided we would find a new beach to visit for the morning while the kids were in school. I googled “best beaches” and found a hidden gem called Sugar Beach.
So we set off after dropping off the kids at school. After an hour and seven minutes drive and we would be in a tropical, semi-private beach on the Pacific Ocean. Having never been to Sugar Beach, I put it in my phone’s GPS. We were on our way.
I followed the GPS blindly. Neither of us had ever been there. With 30 minutes left until we reached our haven, we turned onto a dirt road. This is not uncommon in Costa Rica. Yet the dirt road kept going and going. Not just dirt road, but now dirt mountains. We climbed a few in our 12-passenger van like a champ. I mean, I’m basically a pro at driving a stick-shift now. But the mountains kept getting higher and higher. Then a big downhill. I had to look back as we were coasting down the mountain, knowing that we would soon have to return UP that mountain.
At this point we had to turn the air conditioning colder in the van. We were both feeling a little anxious wondering when we would ever get to the beach.
Then it happened. We reached the TOP of the mountain and started a quick, steep decent down. It was here that I almost lost my breakfast. “We have to drive up that mountain in this van. We need four-wheel drive!”
I tried being calm. We got to the secluded beach with amazing blues and greens in the water. We even talked with the receptionist at a hotel and she told us the only way out was the way we came in. Ugh. So we make our way to the beach, lay out our sheet and start soaking up the rays.
But I couldn’t relax. All I was thinking about was that we had to drive up that steep mountain and our van would not make it. Fear not only crept in, but I was submerged in fear. Laura could see it all over me. I could not sit still. I could not enjoy the water. Laura tried to talk to me and change the subject, but the fear was something that I took in and kept feeding.
I literally was thinking, “what happens when I go up the mountain in 1st gear and then I start rolling backwards?” I had already texted Kyle saying if he didn’t hear from us then he needed to pick up the kids when school was over. I was thinking, “well, we can just sell the van here since there is no way it is getting over that mountain!”
I prayed! Yes, I prayed hard! I told God that He had to provide a way out of here. I was reciting Scripture and holding onto Biblical promises, but I was still full of fear. I even laid down and prayed, eyes closed, and begged God to get us out of there. I was literally feeling claustrophobic even though I was in a huge wide-open space. Believe it or not, a little butterfly landed on my swimsuit. It scared me because my eyes were closed and I brushed it away. It came back over and over. I even thought, God are you using a little butterfly to show me that you will take care of me? Yet I still could not shake this fear.
We did not last long at the beach, needless to say. We did walk the beach, get in the water, but it was not our normal amount of time to relax that we intended to have.
We began the drive home. There is only one way to go! I texted Kyle again saying that we were on our way so that he could tell if we were not making the journey home. We drove through town and made our turn onto the dirt road. I drove about 100 feet and Laura said, “wait, I saw a sign for Flamingo Beach back there!” We had visited Flamingo Beach a few times, and it was really close to one of our favorite beaches called Tamarindo. I asked, “Are you sure this is our Flamingo Beach?” “There can’t be more than one” Laura replied.
I stop the van. We plug it in the GPS, and we were literally 20 minutes from our favorite beach. Needless to say, we never travel over dirt mountains to get to our favorite beach.
Are you serious? I just ruined an entire beach trip with Laura because I allowed fear to grip my heart and mind? Yes, I did.
Fear is a real thing, but it is not from God. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God does not give us a spirit of fear.
So where does this spirit of fear come from? Not God, but the enemy, the devil. 1 John 4:18 says that His perfect love can cast out all fear.
This blog is a confession. Your missionary is not perfect. I have issues. I have pride. I have insecurities. I can lack faith. And I’m sure they all intertwine.
The good news is that God knows all of my issues. He knows when I lack faith. He knows when my stupid pride stops me from serving Him with all that I have. He also knows right where I am. He knew I was only 20 minutes away, on a smooth paved road, from a very familiar beach. He loves me regardless, and He loves you too!