This has always been one of my favorite verses and I'm beginning to think it might be a life verse for me. It seems to touch on the issues I struggle with - fear, worry, feeling overwhelmed, needing to please, being afraid - and address them with the truth. God is with me so I am never alone. He is strong and dependable and will save me. He delights in me - He made me exactly as I am and delights in the things that make me, me. He provides rest and quiet when I'm overwhelmed. He loves me. He rejoices over me. It is a beautiful reminder of His promises, His truth, and His love.
For me, the ocean has always been a special place of wonder and amazement. In particular the town of Cayucos holds a special place in my heart. My first visit was the summer of 1996 and it was the place where we debriefed for several days after spending 7 weeks traveling the United States on a mission trip. It was a busy summer full of new people, new experiences, lots of change and growth, lots of service and ministry, and we were tired. This town was a haven of rest. Quiet, peaceful, slow-paced and right on the ocean - it was beautiful and I loved it. The summer of 1998, I spent 10 weeks as a nanny for the team leaders three children on another summer mission trip and once again we debriefed in Cayucos. Once again, this was a place of rest, peace and beautiful surroundings. One night, I went for a walk and found a special place on a little rock hill where I could hear the ocean waves and only kind of see them since it was dark. I sat there and talked to God about things I was dealing with, about my feelings and thoughts and I don't even really remember exactly what. The important thing was that this became a special place to me - an altar in a place where I was reminded who God is, how big He is, and I felt so close to Him there.
Over the years, when I had the opportunity to visit Cayucos, I wondered about that special spot and looked for it on occasion but never seemed to find it. This past year, I found it! I was not only blessed to spend a week in Cayucos with my family for the week of Thanksgiving, but I was overwhelmingly amazed to have the opportunity to stay five extra days on my own! I had never vacationed completely alone before and although I was excited about it and knew I'd enjoy the time by myself, I also felt a bit of guilt at doing something just for me. But Josh was very supportive and so I booked a room at the Cayucos Beach Inn which is just across the street from the Cayucos Community Church where our team stayed those summers of 1996 and 1998. And just down the street from the church is a coastal access point which led to my spot! Back in 1998, it was just a small hill, but now there is a wooden platform with benches and a railing and it was wonderful to rediscover a place that has such meaning for me. The first morning of my solo trip, I got up very early and made my way to my spot and settled in to watch the sunrise. It was VERY cold and windy and I began to wish I'd worn slippers and brought a blanket, but it was so peaceful and wonderful. The quiet and stillness, the waves crashing on the shore, the sounds of birds, and the lovely sky changing color from blue to purple to pink to peach...and then the sun coming up and making the water look like diamonds. It was gorgeous and breathtaking and it meant so much to me to be there.
I spent every morning in my spot over the next few days - enjoying my coffee, interacting with a few people who obviously consider it their spot too, and never tiring of the beautiful ever-changing view. My heart felt so at peace. Being near the ocean was like a balm for my soul and to have several days alone was a beautiful gift. Although at times the silence in my room and the absence of conversation was a little much, in general I was surprised (but not really surprised) to find out how much I enjoyed the sense of quiet and the ability to do anything or everything on my own time table. I didn't have to ask anyone else's opinion, I wasn't truly limited to a clock, I could spend as much time or as little time on each thing as I wanted. I did use electronics a bit more than I had the previous week on vacation with my family, but that was only because I had to do some work on two different mornings and I did watch a couple movies as well. But most of my time was spent quietly reading or just sitting and thinking/praying/talking to myself & God.
— Jacques Cousteau
~ Mark 6:31
The photo above was taken at the Sea Shanty restaurant. In the women's bathroom, the walls are filled with framed embroidery and cross-stitch pictures, many of them look fairly old and like they might have been family heirlooms or picked up at antique stores. This one caught my eye because I loved what it had to say. It's full of God's promises to us and it was so wonderful and encouraging. Such a wonderful reminder of God's truth and how He feels about us. To me it was a confirmation of His love and made me feel His presence once again in my favorite place.
I had a running conversation going with my beloved friend through text about my time in Cayucos and she was very encouraging and supportive of the good things God was teaching me. She currently lives in New Jersey, but is a California girl at heart and asked me to take a photo of my feet at the beach to send to her. This photo has become a wonderful symbol of love and peace and contentment - love for our friendship, love for Cayucos and the beach, and love for God. It makes my heart happy to see and I made magnets for us for Christmas so that we can always be reminded of this special time and place and meaning.
~ Native American saying