Worship in White Water: Widow Strong is Moving September 5, 2022
The vacation tour package had four parts: zip lining, horseback riding, tubing, and a volcanic mud/hot springs bath. An engaging video illustrated what we could expect. The zip lining looked exhilarating, the horseback riding on rolling hills looked serene, the tubing on a lazy river looked relaxing, and I couldn’t wait to be painted with volcanic mud and soak in the hot springs. Absolute Perfection!
We are in Costa Rica on our first extended family vacation in six years. My late-husband and I used to live in Costa Rica, and Arie, my oldest daughter, was born here. She wanted to celebrate her eighteenth birthday in the land of her birth. She also asked that we bring her boyfriend of two years, Campbell, a godly young man from a great family. He often leads their daily Bible study as a couple.
Vacationing with the Lord
As a widowed mom, our family had vacationed often with the Lord over the last fifteen years, from little local day trips and weekend excursions to epic family adventures like backpacking through Europe when my girls were eight and eleven years old.
Jesus is my Heavenly Husband and the Heavenly Daddy in our home. On every trip, I always ask the Lord to give us a fresh experience of Him as we take time away from our daily routine to refocus and refresh. My Lord never disappoints!
The Adventure Package
The day of the adventure tour (yesterday, July 21st) was a feast for the soul and senses! Sophia, my youngest daughter, opted to have a guide accompany her on every zip line. I praised Jesus while it felt like I was flying over a lush ravine revealing the dramatic cascades of a rushing river nestled in the mountainside.
I always ask for a spirited horse when riding, and the guide was kind enough to oblige. In Costa Rica, it has been my experience that the tour guides don’t mind if your horse trots or even runs for a brief time, as long as you can handle it. My horse happened to lead the pack, with the guide bringing up the back of the group. With no one ahead of me, it was a delicious time of quietly riding through the vibrant green Costa Rican countryside.
Change of Plans
Our horse trail ended at the river’s edge, where we were to start our lazy river tube ride. But unfortunately, it is the rainy season in Costa Rica. I had so fixed in my mind that lazy river tubing picture that never once did I connect in my mind that the massive class-five rushing river that we had zip-lined over was going to be our lazy river ride!
A fleet of guides arrived with inflatable kayaks designed for white water rafting. “Huh. Does ‘tubing’ translate differently in Spanish?” I wondered. “When they say ‘tubing,’ do they mean ‘white water rafting?'” Our vacation just got EVEN BETTER! Actually, I later learned that because of the heavy rain season, our lazy river had become a class-5 rapids adventure.
The guides told us which boats we would travel in. My daughters were placed in a three-person kayak with a guide. Campbell went in a two-person kayak with a guide, and I was put in a two-person kayak with a guide and given a paddle.
Sophia, the most cautious one in our family, looked at me with concern. “Jesus is with you! It’ll be great! Hold on tight the whole way! I love you!” I called out to my daughters as they went ahead of me.
Now situated in my kayak, my guide instructed me in Spanish. My mother was Peruvian, and half of my family speaks Spanish, so I understood him pretty well. Here, I will loosely translate our exchange.
Guide: “When the water gets rough, DO NOT paddle. Listen to me. I will tell you when to raise your paddle, and DO NOT lower it until we are in calm waters. Then you can help me paddle.”
Me (Not realizing how very rough the waters would be): “I know how to row, and I’m happy to help you.”
Guide: “What will you do if you accidentally flip our boat?”
Me: “You’re right. I’ll raise my paddle on your word.”
Life Lesson in Action:
About the second time raising my paddle through the dangerous waters, I asked God if there was something He wanted to teach me. While I raised my paddle, the image of Moses raising his arms during a battle in Exodus 17:11-13 immediately came to mind.
“11 And when Moses raised his hand, Israel would prevail, but when he rested his hand, Amalek would prevail. 12 But the hands of Moses were heavy, and they took a stone and placed it under him, and he sat on it; Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on each side, and his hands were steady until sundown. 13 And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”
Widow Strong is Moving by September 5, 2022
About ten days before my family left for vacation, we were given notice by our landlord that we needed to move the Widow Strong Widows’ Center in 60 days. We are so thankful to Faith Lutheran for the five years that we have very affordably been in our space, and the last two years have been rent-free!
We were going to look for a larger space, and our Board of Directors planned to raise funds for this move over the next 12 months.
Instead, it has been a surprise to need to move the Widows’ Center 35 days after we return from our family vacation on July 31st. Our Widow Strong Board of Directors has been diligently meeting and praying about what God would have us do next. I have also been praying about what to do every day of our vacation.
In the last few days, my prayers have become more urgent as our vacation comes to a close. “Lord, what is Your direction? What should I do? Where will we go?”
God answered me in our adventure.
“Daughter, you are NOT alone. I AM in your boat guiding you. When we get to white water rapids, WORSHIP ME with your paddle raised. I will guide us through the rapids. You listen for My Voice and ENJOY THE RIDE! We can paddle together in peaceful waters. I AM with you.”
“Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
So that’s what I did! I worshiped the Lord with my paddle raised, trusting my guide through rough waters that can be navigated only by those who know what they are doing.
Worshiping in White Water
I was hit with a massive wave of water through the most intense set of rapids at one point. I couldn’t see. I could only brace myself in the inflatable kayak and keep my paddle raised in obedience to my guide. Holding my paddle up in a stance of worship and surrender felt very counter-intuitive to what was happening in class-5 rapids. You better believe I was praying the whole time!
WHAT A RIDE!
When it was over, our whole group laughed and reveled in our excellent adventure! My heart was deeply content knowing that my Heavenly Husband spoke into my fears with an experience that made me fall in love with HIM all over again!
Paddles UP, Tribe!
We are moving the Widow Strong Widows’ Center by September 5th, 2022.
- Widow Strong is in a season of exponential growth, with 11 chapters in 4 states serving up to 1,000 widowed families by the Fall of 2022!
- Our new location is up to God!
- We will be packing up in faith, excited to experience God’s provision!
- We are going to Worship in the White Water because the LORD is in the boat!
It’s going to be a Great God-Adventure!
As the sun sets on one location of our Widows’ Center, it will surely rise to a new day and new Widows’ Center all in God’s timing! Please join our Board in prayer for discernment and next steps. We will keep you posted as God’s plan unfolds. Thank you!
Founder, Widow Strong
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Wonderful story! Your journey and the way God speaks to you is so encouraging.