If you’re a smartphone user and you don’t have the Timehop app, I highly recommend you download it.

It’s fun (and sometimes embarrassing) to open the app and see what I was doing on this day in history (or at least the history of my social media accounts).

Well, my heart was both warmed and shattered to open my Timehop today and see that, two years ago, I was in Costa Rica.

Let me share with you what I wrote:

Tatiana, age 3.


“My heart and stomach are so full right now, I could explode like a firecracker.

Let me explain.

This afternoon, Jill and I braved the confusing city bus in order to venture to Tirrasses (the place where I spent most of my time teaching last summer) for an afternoon of fun and fellowship.

It warmed my heart to see faces light up at the sight of this gringa who fell so in love with them over a year ago that she had to return again (this time with another gringa in tow). I received so many hugs and besos and smiles. Everything felt so very comfortable and familiar, and it was a joy to see the progress that has been made in updating and remodeling the once dilapidated building that they use for classes and bible school.

As we sat listening to Don Horatio share a lesson from Genesis 15, I remembered that today is Independence Day in the United States, and a contemporary worship song sparked in my mind:

“I am set free, oh oh oh, It is for freedom that I am set free…”

How beautiful it is to realize that I am free!

Not just physically, but spiritually as well. And, what is even more beautiful, is the realization that I have been set free in Christ so that I can come and share this freedom with the very children sitting around me. I have freedom–freedom to travel, freedom to learn, freedom to pray, freedom to impact others. It is a gift that must be passed on to those around me in order for it to truly make me free.

I have freedom — freedom to travel, freedom to learn, freedom to pray, freedom to impact others. It is a gift that must be passed on to those around me in order for it to truly make me free.

I could be at home this Independence Day, eating grilled foods, watching choreographed fire light up the night sky, listening to people yell ‘Merica!

But that’s not why I was set free. 

There is nothing at all wrong with celebrating our country with friends and family, but I believe I was personally set free from ” my chains of sin and shame” and “covered…with grace” so that I could go and share that freedom with others.

Traveling is awesome.

Freedom is awesome.

God is awesome.

Then we came home and roasted marshmallows over the gas stove, stuck Hershey’s kisses inside of them (because apparently, Costa Rica doesn’t sell regular chocolate bars), and tried to keep our already broken graham crackers from breaking even more…




But, this year, I find myself at home. I haven’t returned to Costa Rica since 2015, and I’ve barely been out of the country since that year.

And, sometimes, it’s hard to remember that I’m free.

I feel shackled to a lower-paying job I don’t love, tied down by a grad school schedule that doesn’t let me miss more than one class a term, imprisoned by financial struggles.

And it’s easy to tell myself that I can’t make a difference if I can’t travel for mission trips.

It’s easy to convince myself that I’m not truly free.

I’d love to tell you I’ve changed that mindset and figured things out, but I think honesty is more important than looking good. So, yeah, I still feel like I’m floundering and

So, yeah, I still feel like I’m floundering and not doing enough with my life most days. I still wonder if I’m living like I’m free. I still fear that I’m abusing the freedom that I’ve been given.

But “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.”

May we live in such a way, no matter where we find ourselves this Independence Day.


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