Confessions of a Missionary: I Chose Fear

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.

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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.

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This is me at lunch in Tamarindo, after Laura prayed for our pizza including “thank you Lord for not making us relocate our family to Sugar Beach since our van would not make it back over the mountain.”  Of course she was mocking me…resulting in a mixture of laughter that turned to happy tears of relief.

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!

 

 

12 thoughts on “Confessions of a Missionary: I Chose Fear

  1. Okay…I know the point of the story is not about the Beach, specifically. But, was the Outcome, that the Beach was closer than you thought and that there was an easier road? ~love n miss you guys!

  2. Dear Pastor Nate and Laura Thank you for sharing this great story with us. God is so awesome that it’s giving us His teachings of hope and faith thought you. Believe me you are not the only one experiencing God’s mercy on the trials but I get to experience it by reading about it. Thanks for reminding me that even when my fear is bigger than my faith God is in control and I will end up in a good place a sunny, sandy, warm, clear water place sounds great! Love Maria

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Dear Pastor Nate and Laura
    Thank you for sharing this great story with us. God is so awesome that it’s giving us His teachings of hope and faith thought you. Believe me you are not the only one experiencing God’s mercy on the trials but I get to experience it by reading about it.
    Thanks for reminding me that even when my fear is bigger than my faith God is in control and I will end up in a good place a sunny, sandy, warm, clear water place sounds great!
    Love
    Maria

  4. I can’t wait for the blog when you return to Sugar Beach via Flamingo Beach!!! Love your heart and honesty…what a testimony!!

  5. Good story Nate. Isn’t it amazing how crippling fear can be but our God always shows us a way out. Praise the Lord and also Praise the Lord for observant wives who see the signs!!!

  6. Your blogs are so worth reading. So many times, when I make the decision to make the time to read something, usually some link on Facebook, I groan, and think, “ugh…, that was so not worth my time…”
    What I like best about your blog is reading it and realizing that you are human, just like me. My mind, and maybe this IS true, but my mind puts you and Laura on such a pedestal because of all you sacrificed (and it’s A LOT, I know, not even to mention the creature comforts that I take so often for granted). I sometimes/often feel guilty or disappointed in myself that I chose NOT to give those things up as I was too selfish and possibly told God “no”, if and when He may have been asking me to do similar missionary work when I was younger. I love reading that you still have fears and spiritual struggles and you are honest and write about them. Please keep doing so. It is so encouraging to me in my life. I love you guys. I wish I was there with you but minus the bugs, creepy crawly lizard things and with air conditioning, etc. On second thought, let me know when you move back to the states. 😉
    Aunt Celeste

  7. Guys I can’t tell you how much I LOVE updates like this! Being a missionary is SO much fun and SO rewarding but I remember many moments of “fear” in my own child’s heart when we were in Haiti, and I can only imagine what my parents must have been thinking! Your children are so blessed to have this amazing experience and it’s something they will learn to cherish more and more as they get older (I relate more with them since I was younger during my missionary years)-God is SO GOOD and SO FAITHFUL and he knows and has ordained EVERY step you will all make in Costa Rica, it will ALL be used for his glory-so thank you for your adventures and testimonies (although I honestly would LOVE to be claustrophobic on a beach right now) that so honestly convey what God is doing in and around you! You guys rock-praying for your safety, unshakable confidence in Him no matter what, and that His light would shine in such a real/tangible way to those around you so that lives are forever changed and many know what a relationship with the King of the universe and our loving father is like!!

    On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, norman missionary adventures wrote:

    > normanmissionaryadventures posted: “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” >

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