Starting Thoughts

Here I am, in beautiful Santa Ana! We made it!

santa anataken from the front steps of my home for the week

We arrived at the retreat center a few hours ago and I have been wanting to write something, but not yet. I keep thinking “write when you have something to say, when you know what this is all about.” But then I think: isn’t that part of an adventure? The not-knowing? There’s something to be said for acknowledging the front-end of a journey, the part where you have no idea what is about to unfold, where you are excited and a little scared and just praying God does what he wills. You are setting out, with no real clue where the path will lead.

That’s where I am, floating in the unknown.

This afternoon one of our group leaders stopped by my room and told my roommate and me that we had three hours until dinner. In the meantime we could…relax. Nap. Read. Write. Whatever.

I felt a flash of panic at the thought. Three hours of downtime? What will I do?

That’s when I realized that my life is very, very busy right now and while this trip, in my mind, is not all about ME, I need to also figure out what God wants for me personally along the way.

Step One: Calm My Bad Self Down.

Deep breath. Right now a women is crooning a ballad over a tinny sound system off in the distance. I keep hearing birds, all kinds of birds and thinking “I should record these sounds and ask my parents, the resident birding experts, to help me identify them!”

I have looked over the itinerary for the week, and I can tell you what it says. For me, each day we will go out into the neighboring communities and meet the people who are helped by the program that brought us to El Salvador. Tomorrow I’m meeting a woman two years older than me, who has four children the same ages as my older boys. That’s what I know. I can imagine what that means, but at this point that’s about all I can do — imagine.

There are descriptions of the homes and areas we are headed — people living in houses made of mud and metal, who use an old refrigerator to collect the running water they miraculously have. Can you imagine? Me too — we imagine these things but have no idea what it’s actually like.

I have no idea what’s in store and you know, that can be a little intimidating! I don’t want to keep using the words “scared” or “nervous” but the truth is there can be a level of that and it’s okay. Courage is doing what we are tasked with, even if we feel unsure. Even when we feel fear.

That’s where we are surrounded by the Lord. We find him in the mystery, because relying on ourself just isn’t enough.

Here’s to the Not Knowing! To the Adventure of Life, to trying (crazy) new things and having God open our eyes and our hearts and our minds about what it is he wants from us.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

–Oceans, by Hillsong


  1. Michelle says:

    Make sure you enjoy some yummy Pupusas!!

  2. Love this reflection. And isn’t “Oceans” great? “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…” – amen. One of my favorite lines. Look forward to reading more about how God moves on this trip.

  3. Can’t wait to read more!

  4. Peace to you as you open yourself up to what God has planned.

  5. God kept bringing that same song to my mind as we prepared for this trip. Thankful to be here with you!

  6. Melissa says:

    Enjoy the mangoes as the fall off the tall tree!