In January, Rod and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, but we wanted to mark the time in the summer, and enjoy a new destination as a family. We considered cruises, Caribbean island trips, even Europe, because we have friends living in Germany. Then we talked budget.
We started researching destinations that would involve water, always a hit for our family, but would also offer activity options appealing to all of us. The Outer Banks rose to the top, with ocean, educational historic sites about a lost colony, The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, quaint shopping districts, wild horse tours and the Wright Brothers first flight national park site.
As it turns out, Rod and I didn’t go out on an anniversary date while on vacation, and we didn’t mention our anniversary to our children while on the trip, but the OBX vacation will likely stand as the overall family favorite for some time. Situations don’t always happen how we plan, but God’s generosity remains.
What of the privilege of a vacation in the first place? What of living in a country where it’s safe to travel 1,350 miles from home? I credit God, for income, employment, great deals and good budget planning for our trip.
God provided generously when He orchestrated a good deal for us at our inn. We stayed in connecting rooms, an efficiency room for the kids with a small kitchen and bath, and a standard room for us. The bargain on the room with the kitchen saved us a great deal of money, and calories, eating out. Praise Him.
The vacation, for me, stimulated my mind in a new way, too. Times of considering history on the Atlantic Coast, as related to wild horses, the Wright brothers and the first flight, and time to read a novel, a Christian apologetics book and study His Word during down times in our room, were precious to me.
The children’s creativity at the beach, with sand castles and games like jumping the waves made me smile. Sand chairs, sand cities, and the lessons of the tides’ power over such creations. Oops.
At the Elizabethan Gardens, they enjoyed photography and seeing trees and flowers unusual to them. Our 11-year-old pretended to play with deer sculpted of plants, amusement at my son’s awe at a nude - female – statue. Sorry, had to share that, little buddy. Our daughters waltzed in an open grassy area encircled by live oak and magnolia trees. Our teenage daughter posed the kids on a bench, depicting see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Cute.
On the return trip, we stopped to see family in Fayetteville, N.C. Rod’s nephew and his wife live there, with him stationed at nearby Ft. Bragg. They’re actually our age, so our children, whose ages our close to our kids’, got to see each other after about seven years.
We had hoped Rod’s nephew would be back from Kuwait in May, originally even sooner, but he remains in the Middle East. So we got on Skype and chatted with him a great length of time. What a blessing, from our Lord.
His wife welcomed us into their home, and barbecued for us, truly sweet. We learned of events happening in their lives, saw their children’s fun and kindness and their typical kid ways. That brought me joy. And we can picture them at home now when we think of them. God gave us all of that.
Paul, the apostle, wrote the following words in a letter to the church in Ephesus while he was imprisoned in Rome for Christ’s sake. He writes that his response to his troubles is to get down on his knees in praise before God. Certainly our vacation was no imprisonment, and I’m praising God for a blessing on top of my salvation, whereas, Paul is praising the mystery of Christ. But we’re both talking about experiencing Christ’s love. While we were on vacation, I felt very much the way Paul talks here:
14-19My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!
Ephesians 3:14-21, The Message (Biblegateway.com)
My husband and I shared different perspectives on sights we saw while on vacation. His enthusiasm at the brilliant minds of the Wright Brothers tickled me. My enjoyment of the ocean and jumping through waves for the next shell amused (maybe perplexed, too) him.
I loved driving through the mountain tunnels. He fed his GPS addiction, I mean, electronic cartography hobby. The children relaxed. God gave us those moments.
What a giving God I follow.