Directions NOT Included

The following words–originally posted on last summer, 2015–still ring true today, and my heart is full as I remember the time spent in this country with these people.

So, for that reason, the next few weeks will be devoted to remembering the people, the adventures, and the lessons learned during the time I have spent in Costa Rica over the last two years.

To the best of my ability, nothing will be changed from the original thoughts written as the events occurred–however, if for some reason I find it appropriate to add or alter anything, I’ll let you know by changing the font color.

I am a firm believer that God best teaches us through what often appears to be mundane and basic. Yes, it most definitely can feel like He is more present in places where we are considered outsiders and are definitely out of our comfort zones–but we serve a limitless God.

So, as you read, I pray you are inspired to search for God at work in your own day-to-day life!


I’ve never been a very good cook.

Like, ever.

When I was younger, my problem usually stemmed from not reading the recipe in its entirety (I will never understand why they list out all the ingredients and then tell you to mix the liquids and solids separately…)

But I’ve gotten better at following the directions–so good, in fact, that I need directions to cook anything (even mac and cheese).

And then I came to Costa Rica and stayed with a family that can somehow create gourmet meals without owning a single cookbook (or oven, for that matter). I’ve kept track of the general steps in numerous recipes that Brauner and Silvia have had Jill and I help make, but there is a very good chance that I am never able to successfully make them on my own.

My boyfriend once told me that he thinks recipes are dumb because a person just needs to experiment and create their own cooking style, even if burnt meals are included. (easy to say when you’re well-above average in the kitchen!)

But I’m too much of a perfectionist–I hate to admit defeat.

And then I realized that this is the exact same reason I tend to freak out when life doesn’t go according to my well-thought-out recipe.

I think I’m so smart, creating a step by step guide for my life: graduated and working by step #1, married by #2, house and kids by #3. Throw in a pinch of adventure and a dash of financial stability, and I’ll be all ready to preheat the oven.

And then God reminds me that He doesn’t need an apprentice–He’s the Master Chef, after all.

So He tosses out my flawed batch and begins anew.

And I’m left feeling defeated; frustrated and scared because I’m not allowed in the kitchen, and I’ll never know the recipe.

Yet I have no reason to feel this way!

God never has to throw out his own batch and He never burns His cookies or frozen pizzas.

He can take an absolute mess and turn it into something incredibly delicious. He doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, Romans 8:28 says,

we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Furthermore, Ecclesiastes 3 discusses the different times for everything in life–good things, bad things, happy things, sad things, growing things, killing things…and there is also a time for making plans and scratching plans (even if the Bible doesn’t exactly use that terminology).

I don’t know what my future holds. Shoot, I don’t even know if I’ll ever be able to cook a decent meal. But I know that the God of it all sees me; in fact, He holds me. He is the Master Chef, and He is creating my future–

Even though the directions are not included.



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