Saturday, June 06, 2015

Going on Vacation, Part 1

(Our birthday boy, Benjamin, turned six on our trip.  For his birthday "cake" he wanted to go to a candy store in Savannah so here we are sitting on river street, everyone devouring their treats and I am trying not to think about the food dyes and such)

(Tybee has a marine center that offers educational beach walks for a small fee, so here we are)

(holding a spider crab....Benjamin later found one in a tidal pool--so cool!)

(Benjamin comes over, seeing me with the camera, and says "Take one of me and Jacob!")

(Samuel joins in)

(Here is how Jacob has been compensating...on the non-boot foot he stands on tip toe)

So we went on vacation to Tybee Island, one of Georgia's barrier islands.  Let me take you back to the moment we pull up to our rental house (a duplex near the beach).  I took great pains to try and find a place to stay that was away from crowds, and we could just relax as a family.  So we finally find our place.  A little duplex that from pictures looked so calm, quaint and secluded.  No mam.  It's in the middle of a cluster of other residences, directly next to a public parking lot and public boardwalk to the beach.  The pictures were so deceptive.  They also made the rooms look so different than they really were.  Isn't that just like blogs and facebook posts that make other people's lives look so perfect and ours feel so defective. (Part of why I include all when I post on my blog)  As we pull in there is that moment when I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt God is real, because inside my head I heard myself speaking to, a'hem, myself something quite contrary to my natural inclination:  "You will NOT point out the crowds and your disappointment (there was a beach wedding occurring when we pulled up), you will NOT complain to your husband, who has provided this vacation for you and the kids."  And indeed, as vibrant as the red cardinal I just saw outside our living room window was against the crisp green leaves of our backyard summer trees, my sinful nature was abated and complain nor vocally point out the crowds and the busy location, I did not.  Apparently I took my own advice that I often give my sons, it's normal to think it, but don't say everything you think.

Expectations---the unrealistic type---the only ones I seem to have, seem to ruin everything.  I tend to either expect the worst (visions of car crashes, mortally wounded children, tornadoes demolishing everything, you name it, I've feared it) and these fears typically aren't realized, or I expect fantastical things only meant for movies, and these normally don't happen either.  But what does happen, reality, is sweet.  Hard and sweet and it's the unexpected surprises that are the best it seems.  There were plenty of those this trip.  God is good and he seems to like to surprise his kids.  Oh that I would put to rest all of my expectations, and just wait and see what the Lord gives!

So the unexpected.  Yes, the weekend was crowded on the beach, and what I didn't expect was that it really calmed down during the week.  Next---Low tide!  I had no idea that we would have a feast of tidal pools each day to explore.  This was so much fun.  I've always wanted for my boys to have this opportunity and it happened unexpectedly this week.  Floating in tubes together in the ocean, smiling and loving, and just being together.  No one getting hurt (a definite fear--we do have three non-swimmers), not even any bad sunburns.  Afternoon naps while Jacob slept and the big boys played video games on the ipods to their hearts content.  Quiet moments with my husband before the Lord, praying together, recognizing our need for God to work in and through us to raise up our six boys...eyes and hearts locked together in mutual submission to our Heavenly Father.  Endeavoring to pray together each morning---God fill us, enable us, give us wisdom in every situation that comes up.  Doing that and seeing and experiencing God's hand that day in a more real way.

Love, so much love for our family.  Love for our oldest son whose story God is writing in a different way right now as he lives with his grandparents.  Missing him very much this trip (and always), consoled by the knowing his Heavenly Father has him.

Finding the rhythm of life lived with sorrow

hurting... but trusting,

resting... yet seeking,

quiet...still praying.

Sorrow doesn't cause life in all it's vast array to cease, it doesn't quench joy nor peace.  It slips in like a companion, drawing the heart in humility to look to the Father, stirring in the soul a yielded longing to see the will of God be done---no matter what.

And so our vacation was what life is...oh the felt good and the good that hurts, all mixed up.  A journey.  A togetherness with God and his people (yes, the ones I live with, short ones and a tall one).  A growing, a living, a longing, and a gift.

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