I know this post is long past over due, but I wanted to take time to finish out my year strong. I also wanted to take my time posting about this trip as well because it has once again changed my life for the better.
During my trip, there were many things I picked up along the way on the lines of wisdom. However, what I believe I took away most is the importance and power of prayer. My first trip down to Beach Reach I was so focused on the ministry and evangelism that I honestly did not take a lot of time just to speak with God and ask him to help guide our trip. Going into our trip this year I decided I was going to take a step back and let those who haven’t been get a chance to share the gospel with the people we would encounter. Now that’s not saying I did not engage others with the gospel, but I realized God was calling me elsewhere during our time in Panama City Beach, FL.
Our first day there, and even more specifically, our first sight of the ocean reminded me that God is everywhere. I realize this is such an obvious statement but the true depth of this sentence had really never weighed in on me. I was walking through my journey WITH CHRIST and never really acknowledging his presence in my daily life. I had him confined to the pages of my bible and journal, Sunday services, life group, and worship times. It never occurred to me that God was with me when I was sleeping at night, when I was eating any of my meals, when I was going for a run, when I was frustrated with my homework assignments, when I was hanging out with my friends, when I was singing in choir, and he was even standing next to me as I performed my senior recital. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?! Just take a moment and think about this. Every step you take today, every breath you inhale, GOD IS THERE. It’s quite a large concept to wrap your mind around, but it is exhilarating to discover just how involved God is with your daily life. It is amazing to me that God conveyed all of this through the simple and yet beautiful sight of the Gulf of Mexico. So, I challenged myself to really communicate with God on our trip. To thank him for the good and to ask for guidance in the obstacles that we would face.
To say things were crazy while we were down there would be an understatement. On one of the nights I was out on street teams, me and the people I was out with saw a guy stumble into the road in front of moving cars. It’s sad to say, but he isn’t the only one we encountered that had this experience, but we decided we wanted to make sure he got somewhere safely, as we could tell he was in very bad shape. While we were walking with him he ended up going to the bathroom in his pants and I am still unsure as to if he was aware of it. We had about two hours with this guy because of how backed up our vans were that evening so this meant we had about two hours to talk with him. As we got deeper in our conversations with him I kept thinking to myself that this guy was a lost cause because he was so intoxicated that I didn’t believe he would even remember meeting us when he woke up the next day. As I kept thinking this to myself God gently reminded me that anything is possible with his strength and power. So I decided to turn my negative thoughts around to prayers and cries to God for this guy. I prayed with every fiber of by being that God would allow him to remember the conversation he was having with us. I wanted so badly for this guy to know the depth of Christ’s love for us that I could feel myself shaking from my emotions. It was in this moment I realized the power that prayer has. I do not know if this man remembered that night or any parts of our conversation, but I do know God was there in that moment loving on him and keeping him safe and out of harms way. I could feel him standing there with us and watching over our conversation and keeping us safe. It was the most incredible feeling.
I spent the rest of my evening focusing in on God and talking with him while we walked around and even during our conversations with others. After awhile the connection I felt was so great it was as if I could feel God speaking through me to those I encountered that evening. It was the most humbling experience to really connect with God and realize that everything we did was under his control and that none of what we were doing would be possible without his strength and grace!
I am continually amazed at what God is teaching me as we walk through life on earth together. The closer I get to him, I feel as though my steps are becoming HIS steps, My plans are becoming HIS plans, My words are becoming HIS words, and my heart is completely overflowing with joy.