April 2014

Each year during spring break, we try to plan a retreat or trip for some of our kids. Most of our children don’t live in families where vacation travel is part of their experience. Many have rarely been away from home and if they have, it is usually for the purpose of visiting family, rather than taking in any of the sights or experiencing something new. Over the years, we have gone to Chicago, Washington D.C., Florida and of course, to local camps. This year Chris decided to take our middle school guys on a short trip to the Wisconsin Dells. The road trip involved spending a couple of nights at a waterpark resort/hotel, some eating out and a little touristy stuff.

I remember one of our trips some years ago and how the hotel pool and continental breakfast were almost a bigger thrill than any of the interesting and exciting points of interest in the city of Chicago. But then, if you have never been a hotel guest or have never gotten to take a vacation, these are exciting new experiences.

I didn’t go on the trip this year, so I was eager to listen to Chris’ report of the boys and their adventures. When he recounted all that had taken place, he mentioned how, as they piled into the rental van for the drive back home, one of the boys had enthusiastically declared, “This was the best three days of my life!”

Was it the best three days because it was cool to be in a hotel, because they had Bible study, because playing pool basketball was a blast and the waterslides were fast, because the food was good, because it was fun to be with friends, because they laughed a lot, because Chris showed them some interesting things?

I don’ t know exactly. What I do know, is that this young man has seemed tense and stressed a lot over the past couple of months. Life at school and home certainly has challenges he must meet each day. What I do know, is that for a couple of days, the boys on that trip got to just be kids, having fun on vacation. There was a chance to experience rest and renewal. Laughter and fun. A break from hard things. I pray that each boy may have been able to take into his spirit that this gift of rest and fun came from God, the God who loves them and who offers them hope.

When life is hard, we all need hope. And when we are in the middle of struggle, sometimes just remembering what that felt like, that lightness that comes from hope, from remembering that God loves us and that good times and good things are possible for us….it is the beginning of learning trust and faith that will see us through whatever life brings. We are grateful for your gifts that make it possible for us to love kids and keep offering Christ, our Hope and Life.

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