My heart rate is pounding in my head; I am trying to remain calm as I play the news over in my head. The tragedy is all I can think about on where we are going. I know what the newspaper, Facebook, and lifeguards report have told me. The danger, the possible what-ifs, and the fear of the unknown keep rolling through your head like waves that never stop.
The sun had not risen this morning as we climbed into the truck. We were heading out to go to the San Luis Pass (SLP) beach to fish. I was excited, nervous, and a little chatty this morning as we headed west. I was asking question after question in between sips of my coffee. Kenny remained calm and kept answering. He was doing his best to explain where we were going. I continued to question him on why the lifeguards are always telling people to get out of the water?
My brain did not understand the area he was describing to me. I kept seeing the vast miles of soft sand with cars stuck, the tide coming in sweeping fishermen away and putting trucks underwater.
We exited the feeder road. I am not even sure you can call it a feeder road. It was a hard sandy road with potholes that could swallow cars. Hence my fear. These potholes are not your simple bump here and there; they are massive.
The bridge that leads you off the Island towers above our heads. We have the bay to the right of us, and I can see white sand and dunes to the left as we bounce along, trying to beat the sunrise.
Kenny stops the truck as we come to the place we need to turn to go to the beachside of the SLP. Picture it as the u-turn under the overpass. We had to cross under the bridge. All that was around us was water, no dry land in sight. There was plenty of bumpers, license plates, and car parts strewn randomly around all the potholes. He begins to question if he had missed his turn.
We both start scanning the bay shore because there was no way we could turn left into the massive washouts. There it was off to the far right, marsh grass with a little mud showing along the edge of a lake of water. His last words to me were, hold on!
I grabbed the “oh sh**” handle, and off we went. We (I) were conquering fear.
Once we cleared the turn, I exhaled. I thought we are here. It’s over.
He paused and looked out across the miles of soft sand. He began telling me to look for the hard sand. I could see the packed sand along the shoreline. This was where everyone was parked. We could not go across the deep white sand. We slowly picked our way along the shoreline, dodging cars, people, and driftwood.
I kept pointing to the signs of no fishing, no swimming. See Kenny. He continues to tell me we are not fishing the SLP, where the tide rushes and sweeps you away. We are fishing on the beach. It is now coming into focus.
Time to exhale, get my shoulders out of my ears, and enjoy the day.
The farther we drove from the SLP, the calmer the water became. The waves were slow and clean. You could see the schools of fish riding through the waves. The sun was trying to peak up over the horizon as all the fishermen started their day in waist-deep water.
As I stood out in the water with the fish all around me, Kenny by my side, I was in awe at God’s beautiful world. East of us, a thunderhead rolled ashore with a water spout blowing up the water. Whitecaps spraying into the air two miles from us. The water spout hit the land and dissipated into the clouds. West of us was the brightest rainbow I had ever seen. It touched the mainland and fell into the bay behind us.
In front of us was the sun rising in all its glory to brighten our day, shining warmly onto our faces and welcoming us into another day to live out our purpose and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Fear, worry, and anxiousness can hold you captive if you stay on the loops that run through your thoughts. We had a guest preacher many years ago and preached a sermon on telling yourself, STOP!
People in my life who know me do not see the part of me that worries and can sometimes get anxious. Most everyone sees the happy, cheerful, energetic, and lifting others up person I am. I am human. I have to remind myself to STOP!
This sermon showed me how to use verses to replace my fear, my worry, my anxiousness. I began telling myself God’s got this. I may be weak, but He is strong. Keep focusing on Jesus, giving praise and thanksgiving for what He has done in my life.
I talk to God and share with him my fears and worries. He already knows they are there; why hide it?
During this rough ride down to the pass, I was not focused on God or what he could do. I was depending on Kenny and bugging him. God was still in control and knew we would see the magnificent sunrise, the thunderstorms, and rainbows. I should have exhaled earlier and refocused sooner.
Slowing down to focus on Jesus and the world around me, I had time to think of His love for us, give praise and thanksgiving to my loving Father. I let go of the fear and worry and took time to reflect and create the next blog post with laughter and happiness on a day spent jumping waves and trying to catch more fish than Kenny.
My go-to verses that help me refocus:
Cast your cares on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalms 56:3
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. Philippians 4:6
Cheryl & Kenny
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