I have been trying to figure out for the past month what to write about this trip. It just did not go as I expected. I have prayed about what to write and God has now given me the words.
Costa Rica was a whirlwind of a trip. It might sound discouraging, but coming out on the other side now, I know it all filtered through His hands and for a reason.
My mom, Frances, has been asking me for years to go on this trip with her. I have continued to say no. I never felt God leading me down that path. Over the years my heart became hardened to the idea of Costa Rica. I was feeling a little like Pharaoh in Moses life. Until January 2013, my heart was instantly changed. I knew God was calling to go on this trip because of the softening He did in my heart. The veil was lifted for me. 2 Cor 3:16 says “But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” I knew it was time for me to obey.
I went with a very expecting heart to learn more about God. For Him to reveal Himself to me, for me to experience Him in a way I never have. Boy did I ever!
Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. On this trip God revealed things about myself that was very ugly. I did not like what He was showing me. It was very painful to see that side of me. In the midst of this trip, I felt like it was all about me and learning more about myself. I wanted this trip to be all about God. I was very angry and frustrated once returning home, even thought, “Won’t be doing that again! Why would you, God, take me all the way to Costa Rica to show me how ugly I am?! What a waste!"
This last month, God has shown me that trip was about me, but yes it was also about Him. It was about the two of us together. The trip was never meant to be only about Him. It was about our relationship growing, my trust in Him growing. He was showing me how much He loves and cares for me, not to leave me just as I am. He loves me so much to let all that pain filter through to help transform me to be more like Christ. 2 Cor 3:18 says “so all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like Him as we are change into His glorious image. “
Over the years I’ve felt confused with who I am and even said, “I don’t recognize myself any more, not even sure who I am.” God used my obedience with Costa Rica to secure me to Him. Of course I’m not the same person I was back then. Praise God! I have been saved and transformed through Christ. This unrecognizable person is Christ working in me. He is cleaning out all my ugly’s and making room for Him to live and occupy my whole heart, not just part of it, the whole thing. He’s putting up a no vacancy sign for sin!
There were times on the trip when my mind and thoughts were running wild, but the Holy Spirit brought me to Phil 4:8 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
This trip God showed me how out of control I let my thoughts go, and that I allow those thoughts to consume and control my actions. One specific morning when we arrived at the church grounds we were building, I knew Satan was waiting to consume my mind. I went to the bathroom praying to God to take captive my thoughts. I knew this was becoming a controlling factor for me. I began to recite Phil 4:8. I was drawing a blank. I could only think of two things, “whatever is true and whatever is pure” I couldn’t remember the rest of the verse at all, nothing was coming to mind, completely blank. I asked God, actually it was more like begging Him, to bring something that is true and pure. Lord let me see whatever is true and pure. I was walking out of the bathroom repeating those two truths when a little girl, maybe 4 or 5, who had not been at the work site previous days, ran up to me and gave me the tightest hug. I knew that was Christ in the little girl, true and pure. He was letting me know He has never left my side even in those dark moments of my mind. He loves me too much to leave me broken as I am.
This trip has opened my eyes to God’s great love for each one of us as His children. God is teaching, molding, conforming me to be more like Him through the hardships. I love the song by Mercy Me, Bring the Rain. The words are so powerful and so very true for me right now! In the stormy moments of life, that is when our relationship with God grows at its greatest; our need for Him is greatest; His love for us is greatest.
Will I go on a mission trip again? Most definitely! I did learn more about God but also about myself and who I am in Christ.
Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
I am so thankful for God’s grace!