Ever just need to hide away for awhile because your tank’s empty light is flashing? That’s what this pastor’s family had to do recently. Sometimes there is just so much *good* ministry happening, and other people’s lives you’re a part of, that it’s easy to start to feel disconnected from the ones with which you share DNA, or marriage vows. As much as we love being available, and living our lives 24/7 in front of others, there comes a time when getting away and seeing each other out of the fishbowl becomes vitally important. We’ve found vacating the parsonage for 24-48 hours, turning off the phone and emails, and giving ourselves permission to think about nothing but what WE will do, or not do, is entirely refreshing. I call it a Hide-a-cation. 🙂
On Monday, we did just such a thing when we decided to throw all the camping stuff together and start driving, with no reservations waiting for us. We had a destination in mind, but being summer and all, campgrounds often tout NO vacancy signs. So we set out in faith, believing God had a place for us to be together and whether that was sleeping in our van, in a tent, or even in a wallet-draining hotel room, we decided to give it a go.
And… God blessed us with one of the best camping ventures we’ve had. Everything worked out beautifully, from the weather conditions, to one of the last available campsites (they literally closed the park minutes after we arrived), to lots and lots and lots of family time. It was wonderful. We left home with no plans, and ended up having a trip that couldn’t have been planned better.
Lots of washing dirt and sand and slime from feet, fingers, and faces. There was also a fair share left untouched. That’s why we call it camping, right?!?!
Lots of singing silly campfire songs to each other.
Days were leisurely. The kids swam in the lake, which they repeatedly pointed out was “VERY” warm, despite their violent shivers. ??? I’ll take lounging in the perfectly not too hot, not too cold sunny weather to swimming in a cold lake any day, thank you very much!
Nights were spent walking the campground, playing at the park, and staying warm, laughing around the campfire. I love how looking into a burning, crackling fire brings out the silly in us all. (Maybe it’s just all the sugar consumed from hot cocoa and s’mores). As the coals died away, we put on layers of clothes after brushing teeth around the water spout, and snuggled deep into sleeping bags, only to fall asleep within seconds of hitting pillows. That wasn’t just the kids I’m talking about…I have to admit, I did too. 🙂 Yay for early *parent* bedtimes!
(Someday these kiddies will be grown and our camping trips will be very different. They’ll be easier and not quite so exciting. They’ll be quiet and not so boisterously loud from the play of little ones. They’ll be simple with no baby equipment, little people-sized sleeping bags, or camp chairs to surround the fireplace. But, I will miss chubby , grubby faces, dirty finger nails, and marshmallow fire experiments. These days of camping are treasured moments and memories!)
We came back feeling refreshed and reconnected, happy and at peace. A days worth of laundry and a garage full of equipment, including our still wet tent that got misted on the last night are great reminders of a perfect hide-a-cation.
I’m left feeling extremely thankful for a husband who prioritizes this family and this wife above all other things.
Thank you, Father, for filling our tanks again, refreshing us with your goodness and care.