Lessons in Paradise
God sent me to Hawaii three times in the span of 10 months. Each time I went, my stay was longer than the time before! On my first visit there- and when I fell in love with the state- I was there for two weeks. I knew that I had to go back, I wasn’t sure if it was possible, but my heart felt pulled there. By the grace of God, I had the opportunity to go back for a second trip that was 30 days, and just about a month and a half later, I returned for 40 days.
This state is a place I have always thought exotic- untouchable and unreachable to me. I honestly had no intentions or plans to ever step foot onto any of the Islands of Hawaii. It was an absolute blessing and dream to immerse myself into living there for 2016 hours of my life.
Let me first say that it was nothing like I had expected. It was so much more than I could have ever imagined. My time there was more than just a trip, vacation, leisure time, or excursion. While it was indeed a trip and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it was also full of learning lessons, working for the Kingdom, embracing a new culture, and challenging at times.
When asked to write and reflect on my trip, I knew it had to be centered around what I learned while away from home. God pulled me out of my daily routine and inserted me into the unknown to stretch me.
In this blog, I won’t have time to express and elaborate on every lesson I learned, but I will pick some of the biggest ones to share with you.
Arise With the Sun
If you know me, you know I am not the biggest morning person. I have always been a ‘let me sleep until at least 8:00 am’ type of girl. But not during my time in Hawaii! The time change and culture pushed me to seize the day and to take advantage of every waking second! This resulted in waking up with the sun.
Some mornings my sister and I would sit on the lanai or a sandy beach, mesmerized by the orange circle illuminating the sky. On other days, we would wake in the dark and climb a mountain to be the first to greet the sun. Even when rain clouds fogged the view, we were still determined to be there for the sun’s arrival.
Each morning brought a different adventure, but they all had the same agenda- rising and acknowledging the gratitude for a new day before us. From the sunrise, I learned to take the still, quiet morning to thank the Creator. From the sunrise, I was taught to live intentionally, daily in the present.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
While there, I was plugged into an amazing church and had the honor of attending a women's Bible study my sister led. They were going through the book of Ecclesiastes, and Solomon’s (author of this book) words resonated with my heart and opened up a new perspective on life.
When traveling, you usually don’t expect to get connected with the community, but God had prepared the way for me, and I unexpectedly connected with amazing sisters in Christ. I am so thankful for all the intentional and genuine conversations I had with everyone I met. The people I came in contact with had huge hearts, and I carry what I received from them daily.
We are on this Earth for a purpose, and life without this purpose is truly meaningless. With Him, we have peace, comfort, and hope, allowing us to be free of doubts, fears, or shame and in turn enjoy what is around us.
God’s love is shown for us in Creation. He gave us water to swim in, waves to surf, woods to explore, mountains to climb, birds to listen to, people to live with, and shade to cool down in…I could go on and on for days with all that He has provided! I have always enjoyed nature, but Hawaii gave me a new appreciation and understanding.
My favorite activity in Hawaii was hiking. There is nothing quite like disconnecting from society’s hustle and bustle to focus on beauty, lose myself in nature, and connect with my Heavenly Father. Putting one foot in front of the other climbing the ridges of a mountain with Him symbolizes my spiritual walk with Him.
Jesus is, and Always Will be, Enough
These words are ones I have known and that have been spoken to me before, but they became real to me on my second Island visit.
We all have a God-sized hole in our hearts. No one else, and nothing else can fill that. You can try your whole life trying to fill that void with various relationships, materials, substances, ideas, and such. Yet, you will never be truly satisfied until you are content with a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
God showed up bigger than I ever thought He would and guess what?! He will do the same for you! I want you to know that Jesus loves you and He desires a relationship with you. If you are feeling hopeless, find comfort in Christ. He is the way to a newfound hope!
I am forever grateful for each second I spent in Hawaii. I hope I won’t ever forget the scenery, wisdom gained, people met, and the lessons learned on this beautiful island. Only God knows if I will ever return there one day, but I am content in knowing He is the one to guide my steps. He has been faithful in the 21 years of my life and I know that will never change, He is, and always will be enough.