When The Road Turns To Sand You're Almost There

My favorite adventurer and I set out in March for a Guatemalan beach weekend with 13 boys, a scant 3 adults, and our very limited language skills. Our destination, a "3 hour" van ride away, which in Guatemala's traffic is open to interpretation. The only thing that could be guaranteed is that we wouldn't reach the destination in less than 3 hours. So 18 of us packed into a 15 passenger van with overnight bags, beach and pool toys, barf bags (that did indeed get used!) and more excitement than the van could contain and we were off!

And as the hours and miles passed away, the road changed from pavement, to dirt, and finally as it turned into a sand track we reached our destination. Our hotel, the only structure on the beautiful black sand beach, we were all ohh-ing and ahh-ing over everything. For some of the boys it was the first time they had ever seen the beach and ocean. Their trepidation was soon replaced by giggles and laughter as the waves rushed at them from the Pacific. The older boys charged the waves, riding them towards shore and getting tumbled in the surf.


Looking back on the two days that we spent together at the beach feels like a sigh of contentment. Just being able to watch the boys be boys. To splash in the water, dig holes in the sand, search for sea shells, sand dollars, and crabs, chicken fight in the pool, laugh, eat massive amounts of good food, nap in the hammocks, ride the beach on horseback, and to know that these good, happy memories are cemented into our history. These boys, all of them, mean the world to me.

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon an old journal entry of mine from 2015. Here are some of my words and a realization that this beach trip was an answer to this prayer from 4 years ago…

Recently, my heart has begun to bear a new burden. The imprint of a new heartache has begun to take shape.

In March of this year I began praying in a different way.  I began asking God what He wanted for me, or from me instead of consistently the other way around.  This is a terrifying prayer when you realize that he has begun to move, that your heart is actually being changed.  It’s a terrifying realization when you accept that you would be willing to walk away from your current life, answering the call of “not my will, but thine, be done.” Because these are not my dreams, these are God’s dreams for me.  It’s when you look around and realize that there is so much that you haven’t seen before when viewed through the eyes of Jesus.  It’s when you realize the discontentment you, your husband, and children have been fighting could be for a bigger purpose and you pray for their eyes to be opened to all that you are now seeing.  You begin to pray that their hearts find rhythm with yours, a beat of love, because there is so much evil in the world, so much hurt, and you can’t save everyone but what if it’s just one?  Even just one would be worth it.  Andy Stanley said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”

(Can I just take a minute here to point out the now glaring truth in what God had started doing to my heart?! My one, whom God had already woven into the fabric of my heart, years before I had any idea what was afoot. Find your passion, grab hold of it, and use it to make a difference, if only just in one life! It’s scary amazing what God can do with a willing body!)

I want to start more than a conversation, I want to start a movement.  Shout to the world that I will not be changed, that I will not ignore the hurt, that Jesus through me, in love and mercy, will prevail. 

This was the prayer that Abide delivered to my phone this morning.  It was amazingly appropriate…

Dear Jesus Christ,
I want to be a part of what you are doing in the world today. I believe you want to use me right now. I want to return to my first love, to you.  I want to be your hands and feet this very second.  Help me to believe and live by my convictions with every beat of my heart today. In your merciful name.  Amen

Here I am.  Send me.


And He did. And we went to the beach…

Ashley Cunningham