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Where Preparation and Prayer Met Opportunity

One of my favorite things about my relationship with God is that He provides me with enough guidance to help me decide where to be. I have enough faith to know that I will never be somewhere where I am not supposed to be. A lot of people always ask me how I decide where to move and I always have trouble answering because I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t know how to put that feeling of faith into words. Some people call it intuition or a gut feeling, but I call it God. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

As a person, I always want to work on being the best version of myself. As a Christian, I want to continue to learn how to be the best servant of God that I can be. Thankfully, I can always continue to grow and learn in both aspects with the help of God when I ask Him for guidance. I pray every day for Him to put me in places and situations that not only help me learn and achieve my own goals, but also to put me where He needs me to be. Life is all about choices that determine where you have gotten and where you will be going, so I don’t prefer to make them without His guidance.

Looking back on my entire life as far as I can remember I’ve noticed a pattern that I believe is a result from my prayer. Every time I am faced with any sort of new life-altering decision, there is always a sign or something that sticks out to me that gives me confidence in deciding. I can think of many examples where God has shown his presence and guidance in my decision making, but I will share with you the most recent one.

In 2016, I was obsessed with the idea of sailing out of the country. I think I watched just about every YouTube channel and video on sailing that there was. I signed up for every sailing newsletter and crew-seeking site I could find. Unfortunately, every crew seeker that I talked to was looking for an experienced crew member. I was in Indianapolis at the time without any experience and knowing that I wasn’t in a place to get any, so I put the idea to rest and prayed. I put it in Gods hands knowing that everything happens for a reason and everything that doesn’t happen is for a reason.

I continued my plan and spent a year living in Tennessee then moved to Covington, Georgia to start my next journey. While looking for jobs in Georgia, I would occasionally make the two hour drive back to Chattanooga for a weekend to pick up shifts at my job so that I wouldn’t get behind on my bills. After two unsuccessful interviews that I had, I thought I would have felt frustrated, but instead I felt calm from keeping in mind that it is a part of God’s plan for me.

I was driving on the highway on my way to Chattanooga to work when a rock came up and cracked my windshield a little bit. I pulled up my email to get my insurance information and I had an unread email from one of the sailing newsletters that I hadn’t seen in a while and got a little bummed again about still not being able to sail. I spent the last hour of the car ride that I had left thinking about how it would be perfect timing to go since I was in between jobs and had all my stuff at my dad’s house already. Finally, I get to work and as soon as I walk in, the regulars are calling me over to the bar telling me I should meet their close friend because he likes traveling too. I introduced myself to him and he told me his name is Harley and that he sails his sailboat all over. He told me his next sailing trip out of Guatemala was in a few months around the beginning of 2019. Of course, he had my attention and right away I told him that I wanted to go. He admits now that he didn’t believe me at first, but after some conversations over a few lunches, I convinced him that I was being serious. Over one of those lunches, Harley mentioned that a couple of his friends that he’s sailed with make YouTube sailing videos and it turns out they are some of YouTubers that I’ve watched a lot of which I thought was really cool.

After I finished working that weekend, I was headed back to Georgia with plenty of time to think about how I could really make it happen. I stopped thinking and started praying. The only time I pay attention to license plates is when I am in bumper to bumper traffic. Very shortly after talking to God about sailing, I got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic where there is usually no traffic at all. I looked at the license plate in front of me and there was this big red sailboat (pictured below) on it and right away I was overwhelmed with a sense of comfort. Right then, I knew I had to do whatever I could to make it happen. I decided to go back to Fort Wayne in November for the holidays to work at my first job to save up and to see my family before I leave.

After a few months of preparing for this trip, I now only have two weeks before I leave on February 27th. I have been asked a lot of the same questions these past few months about going sailing regarding safety, bad weather, pirates, eating etc. Although those questions popped into my mind as well, none of those were the question that I was focused on the most. While everyone was asking me “what are you going to do about x if you go on this trip?” I kept asking myself “what am I going to do if I don’t go on this trip?”. I suppose it’s just a severe case of FOMO because I know I would regret and think “what if I would have gone?” every day for the rest of my life if I passed up this opportunity. I know there are answers and solutions to the other questions because I am not the first or last person to go sailing. I know it can be done safely especially since I am going with experienced people who know what they are doing and know where to go. I will admit that I do not know the exact answers to all the questions and honestly, I don’t want to know yet because that's exactly why I'm going. I want to go out of my comfort zone to actually learn the answers and learn that way of living by doing it. With that being said, I would love to answer any questions you may have when I return in a few months.

Looking back to 2016, I don’t think I would have been ready to sail when I wanted to go. I believe moving and living out of my comfort zone these past couple years has prepared me for this trip in many ways. God sure did know what He was doing when he made me wait. I have a lot of people to thank for helping me to get to go on this trip. A thank you to Harley for inviting me to go with him and preparing me in little ways. A thank you to my bosses at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Fort Wayne for allowing me to work for a short two months. A thank you to my boss at Champys in Chattanooga for allowing me to continue to pick up shifts when I need to before I leave. A thank you to the friends that opened their homes to me on the weekends so that I could work. A thank you to everyone who has purchased a T-shirt from me to make a little extra money for the trip. And of course, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and helped prepare me in different ways.

My family is pretty much split down the middle. Half of them tell me to follow my heart and remind me of what I will benefit from no matter what crazy idea I have planned next and the other half is constantly reminding me of everything bad that can happen. Although it can sometimes be frustrating and discouraging, I am thankful for having both sides in my life. I will always follow my heart, but I won’t forget to take my head with me. You don’t have to tell me to be careful because I already know to be aware of my surroundings no matter where I am. I do not have any fear of my plans in life including this trip. Psalm 121:7-8 says “The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalm 23:3-4 says “He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of His name. Even though I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid because you are with me. Your rod and your shepherds staff comfort me.”

Spread a little love today, kid.

Myranda Harper

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