Drunk in the Canary Islands

May 3, 2011

I grew up loving bodyboarding, surfing, and anything that had to do with being in the ocean. The adventure of traveling to some random secret beach and finding a secret spot to surf or being out there with the dolphins always has made my heart leap inside.

I am still struck and in awe about how amazing God is simply because I am His daughter and He loves me dearly. Even when I am not looking for it, He comes and blesses me exceedingly abundantly beyond what I could ever ask or imagine; He’s so cool like that! One recent example of how God led me into His destiny simply to bless me and for no other reason was in December of 2010. I had been working 6 days a week, sometimes ten hours straight of writing, editing, and refining my thesis and I was nearing the end. It was a crucial time for me bringing my last 3 years of research together in preparation to submit. 

One night while I was at the University and tirelessly working on my thesis, I snapped. I literally needed a break or my brain was going to completely fry. 

Around 10pm after working all day on it, I impulsively looked for a cheap flight from Birmingham to anywhere. I really didn’t care, I just needed to get out and take a much needed break so that I could come back refreshed and finish strong. I noticed that a flight to the Canary Islands was cheap. I didn’t know anything about it other than the fact that it was an island. This meant that it had to be surrounded by water which meant that there would also be a beach there which I so longed to be near because of how good it is for my soul.

Without going home first to look at my schedule, I booked a ticket to the Canary Islands; I was desperate for an escape from my thesis. Several days later I mentioned to my brother that I bought a ticket there and he was so excited for me and he told me that people bodyboard there because the waves are good. I had no idea, I just thought I would get to sit at the beach, be in the sun, and explore a new place. All things I love. Bonus, I might be able to bodyboard there as well! 

I researched all the spots and also found out there was a place there where I could rent a board. The first few days I arrived there were a bit hectic but it was nice to see the ocean. The third day in I traveled in search of a wave that I heard was well known (El Fronton). I just wanted to at least see it, if nothing else. 

When I arrived at the beach I noticed a few people were out and I thought that I have to paddle out because I was there. Then I noticed a guy with a bodyboard walk by me and around the rocks. My curiosity caused me to follow him. When I turned the corner, I saw another surf spot that was filled with bodyboarders busting sick airs and getting deep barrels. I quickly jumped in the car as I had discovered the real El Fronton just around the corner. When I arrived, in the parking lot I saw Mike Stewart drive past and chatted to him for a few minutes. What in the world was the legend of bodyboarding doing at El Fronton at this same time when I was just on a much needed break from my studies? 

I ended up paddling out into the line up only to notice people doing backflips, air reverses, getting barreled, and many of these were pro bodyboarders that I recognized from when I was in the scene over 10 years ago. That was pretty cool. Even better, when I came in, I heard someone on the beach yell my name. I looked over and found out it was Manny, one of my friends from San Diego who I had done his bodyboarding contests back in the day. He was taking pictures of all the pros.

We were both tripping out that we were both randomly at the Canary Islands at the same time. Long story short, he encouraged me to stay and extend my ticket to see the bodyboarding contest that would be held there and since I didn’t have anything to rush back to the UK that was covered in snow, I decided to stay in the sunshine as long as I could. Good thing I did because a few days later, when me, Manny, and another bodyboarder were driving to check out a spot, we passed this beautiful right with no one out. We decided it was time to seize the day. Manny got geared up to take water photography and we had an absolute blast.

The sun was shining so perfectly, the water was warm, I was with a friend from my homeland who was now taking professional water shots of me bodyboarding in the Canary islands. All this came after I simply and impulsively booked a random plane ticket a few weeks before. Even more, during the contest I got to do another thing that I love, which is photography. Not only did I get to take pictures, but I got to take pictures of one of the things I love more than almost anything, bodyboarding! Throughout the trip, I got to bodyboard, hang out with some of the best bodyboarders in the world as well as take pictures. I was unexpectedly in paradise!

All’s I can say is that I love it when God loves us in ways that we can’t even imagine. God met needs I hadn’t even realized I had, and He did it in remarkable and overwhelming ways that I would have never expected. He literally did exceedingly abundantly above all I could have ever asked or imagined. He moved mountains to bring me there at the same exact time of all the others who were doing one thing I love the most. 

He did all this, not necessarily to do some crazy miracles or use me for His kingdom, although I did have a few opportunities to connect with others, but He did all of this simply because He loves me and knows what makes me happy. He simply wanted me to have a party and enjoy life and just receive His love and favor and fun.  

The very first miracle in the book of John is Jesus making an even greater party. He turned water into wine. It wasn’t a miraculous healing, casting out of a demon, or some other sign; it was Him bringing the miracle of fun and more life into the party. Sometimes Jesus wants to bless us not only that we become more effective to do the works of His kingdom, but simply because we’re His children and He loves us and wants us to have the best possible life because that’s how He rolls.

What strikes me as well is that I was in no way “being led by the Spirit” consciously when I booked my ticket. I was on the verge of burn out and just needed to get away. The fact that the Spirit led me there to where He blessed me beyond what I could imagine just blows my mind away in how He loves me. Even when I’m not fully engaged or paying attention, He still longs to meet me in ways that I could never even dream of because His love for me is that big.

All that to say, sometimes when we takes risks or do things that we know are important for us, when we seek to meet needs we have even if others around us might not understand, God goes beyond that. If I had never taken a risk to invest and do something I knew I needed, if I would have let doubt or lack of finances or worry that people wouldn’t understand why I needed this trip stop me, I could have missed out on the party Jesus wanted to throw just for me.

Jesus is inviting us to His party. He is asking us to do things that others might not understand but that we know we would enjoy and that we need for our own souls. He is waiting to bring miracles of fun and joy into our lives. I believe that these things come in more occurrences when we step out and take risks towards following our hearts. My thesis is one of these risks and God’s blessings never cease to amaze me. Yes, miracles of healing and other things are wonderful, but there is also the miracle of the party, of turning water into wine that Jesus wants to do in our lives simply for no other reason than because we are His chosen ones and He loves us and wants to bring us joy.

So my friends, I encourage you to follow your passions, since most of these have been put in your heart by Him anyway, and receive the party that Jesus has for you. He loves you dearly and wants to bring you joy immeasurable. I pray that the Lord would stir you to follow your heart and lead you into His wonderful destiny that He has for your life today.