My flip-flops were not going to cut it; I could tell within a few steps into our climb of the Siete Altares waterfalls. The uneven broken stairs made from multiple rocks were cutting through my thin, old, flimsy flip-flops. Don’t get me wrong, I love my flip-flops, but for this, I was wishing I had water shoes.
The first set of stairs were grueling, but the handrails really helped. The next section was a bit harder; one slip and you could fall into the cold water. Luckily, there was a rope tied across to the other side that you could use for balance. Two more set of broken steps followed, one went up and the other down. Again, handrails were there to help you along the way. I was beginning to think “This isn’t that bad. I can do this.” Oh ye, of so much pride…
There were several people in our group climbing the falls. The 6 in our group and about 4 others that rode on the boat with us. There was a family of 4 (a mom and her 3 kids from New Jersey) that also rode with us, but decided to stay behind. We were all pretty much staying together throughout the beginning of climb. Then as it got harder, the group started separating with Jake and I falling behind. Mostly me, but Jake was staying with me to help me. More because I didn’t want to be left alone not because he wanted to.
There were some parts of the path that were clearly laid out, others were underwater so you could hardly see them and still others that Jake kept saying were there, but I just never saw. I was so consumed with catching up with the rest of the group and just getting it all over with, I just followed the path Jake went. I was enjoying myself, but fear was definitely consuming me.
When we got to the highest point, there was this beautiful natural pool of water. We were all so excited we made it! Me more than anyone! We all had worn our swimsuits under our clothes, so we stripped down and went into the water; some dove off the top of the waterfall, others jumped in from the side, while others gently entered one toe at a time. You can guess which one I did? Don’t judge me! The water was freezing!!!
Once we were ready to go, I began climbing up, when everyone called out to me that we had to go back the way we came. What?? You’ve got to be kidding! It was the only way, so we went. I once again followed Jake and sure enough, we eventually fell to back of the pack. We could not remember what paths we had taken the way up, so we were basically feeling our way around again for the sturdy rocks so we wouldn’t slip and fall into any holes or lose our flip-flops which I almost did several times.
I was getting a bit frustrated at one point, wondering why I just couldn’t be fast like the rest of the group. Then a thought popped into my head, I hadn’t prayed this whole time. I never once asked God to guide my steps or show me which way to go. I didn’t ask Him to keep me safe. I, instinctively, did it on my own, or even worse, depended on my 13 year old to help me.
The rest of the way, I prayed. I still slipped, almost lost my flip-flops several times and finished last, but I made it and without the fear that was hovering over me before. Can you feel the lesson coming? There is always one, isn’t there?
Most of you who have followed me from the beginning of this Guatemala journey know that I am a planner and love to have things laid out and organized. I know that God has a plan, but I like to have mine, too, just in case. I am okay with plans changing (for the most part), but always like to have a plan to get me started. Like, when I heard the call to come to Guatemala, I planned to move here indefinitely. Or when those plans fell through, I had a plan of the lessons I wanted to learn and the questions I wanted answered, which haven’t happened either…The point is, I always have a plan, except for right now.
In 9 days, Jake and I will be back in the States and there is no plan. I don’t know where we are sleeping, where I will be working or even if we are to remain in Florida (some unexpected possibilities have come in to the mix as of the past 2 weeks). Even if I wanted to make a plan, which I do, I can’t come up with one. So, like I did at Siete Altares, I will just pray the rest of the way. Even if I slip, fall into a hole, lose one or both of my flip-flops, I will keep moving forward. Praying that He gives me the strength to get us where He wants us to be…but this time I will be helping and guiding Jake along the way not vice versa!
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4;12-13
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.