My husband and I talked for several years about going somewhere warm in the winter. It sounded so lovely to escape the frozen tundra for a bit and just relax and unwind by a beach somewhere. Winters came and went with talk and wishful thinking of someday…
I’m so thankful God allowed us to finally make this a reality this year. My husband wisely set aside money throughout the year for our vacation. I saved up birthday and Christmas money. We were still unsure of exactly where and when to go. With five kids and a farm with lots of animals to care for, there was a fair amount of planning involved to make it happen. God provided grandparents to stay with the kids over their Christmas vacation. My brother and his family were staying in Florida for an extended period of time with extra room in their beautiful vacation rental for me and my husband. Cheap airfare tickets were found and purchased. It was all coming together.
It was almost too good to be true. I began to wonder if it truly would happen as winter storm warnings loomed in the forecast near the time we were to leave. A snowstorm would make it much more difficult for the kids and grandparents to get the farm chores done. With much prayer and a lot of work, we accomplished all that needed to be done before we could safely leave and feel good about what was left for them to do. We left the kids and headed to the airport. We could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We were on our way to a sunny Florida Island.
While it takes a lot of work, resources, planning and prayer to make something like this happen. Let me tell you how worth it it truly is. I had not seen the ocean in more than 15 years, and that was a brief look on a cold day on the shores of Washington state. So to get off a plane and step foot outside and breath in warm, humid, salty air was the most delightful thing I’ve done in a long time.
I am reminded of how important it is to have balance in our lives. We have so many lists to accomplish, demands to fulfill, goals to pursue that we can become so driven and sometimes forget to stop and truly enjoy this life God has given us. It took planning and sacrifice to make this trip happen. And at times I was wondering if it really was necessary. But, I was reminded of how important these times of rejuvenation really are.
In his book, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, Chip Ingram makes this comment, “A performance-based life eats away at health and sanity. It creates guilt whenever the goals of perfection, approval, and maximum production are not fully reached- which means it always produces guilt. If you feel guilty having fun, maybe it will help to remember that enjoying the richness of God’s gifts is a command. Not to enjoy life is actually disobedient! As C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”” I love recognizing these times as a gift from God to truly enjoy His creation and the blessings He’s given me.
My brother, being an adventure seeker and lover of toys, made sure we had plenty of fun. But we also had a lot of down time to relax and enjoy the sights. To just be together without the distractions and day to day stresses rejevenates the soul and reconnects us as husband and wife. Watching the breathtaking sunsets, hearing the waves roll in on the white sandy beaches, or taking a bike ride through mangroves, ocean bays, and private coves lifts the spirts and relaxes the mind. In our everyday life of demands and lists to accomplish, taking a break and enjoying God’s beauty truly is a gift, and I highly reccomend it!