I am writing this piece in response to a prompt on The Red Dress Club
This week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt asked us to write a memory of sand.
Last summer we took our first vacation as a family; we had rented a trailer at the retreat where my sister and her family had spent their summers for years. We had visited many times, enjoyed the location and time with family and returned home with a few memories. We also took away feelings of being uncomfortable; we had never quite fit in. This Christian retreat had amazing amenities, great kids programs but there were rules that cramped our style, more my style than hubby’s if I’m to be honest.
This year hubby and I decided to dive in and actually stay for a week in a rented trailer to experience what Muskoka Bible Center had to offer. The no drinking rule wouldn’t be an issue anymore; I wouldn’t be spending my evenings hiding wine in a juice cup on the deck. We still smoked but we felt we could work around that rule; it would be worth the discomfort. The “Modesty” rule for bathing suits at the beach was a no brainer; I had put on 30 pounds in a very short time since the accident. The sun could kiss my Buddha belly in the privacy of my own backyard thank you very much!
There is nothing pretty about being stuck in the car with two impatient children and a woman with fears of driving and back injuries my friends, the two hour drive took three hours with pit stops and sanity breaks. But we had finally arrived! Our trailer was amazing, the triple bunks were an immediate success! The views greeting us were breath taking.
I’d often heard the term “unwind” used for vacations but hubby and I had never before experienced the feeling. This week away we truly did. We left behind all the stresses of daily living and allowed ourselves to soak up each opportunity for growth which we happened upon.
It was a slow week, one which we took day by day. Each morning hubby and I had time alone together while the children we in kids program, we attended chapel together and then took walks through the woodsy trails and on the sandy beach. We reconnected as we hadn’t in a very long time; we fell in love all over again.
Our afternoons were spent as a family on the beach, playing in the lake, making sandcastles, canoeing and making memories.
When the evening rolled around we would reluctantly leave our spot on the sand and return to the trailer. The girls would sneak out each evening while we were preparing dinner to go “frogging” in the gully behind the trailer and return covered in mosquito bites, victorious with a bucket full of slimy friends.
This week allowed all four of us to see God’s love for us, we were surrounded by His unmistakable beauty. There really is no place like Muskoka Bible Center, it was surrounded by water, rocks, trees, wildlife and people filled up with a love for God which brought out the best in each of us.
We revelled in it.
When it was time to leave I felt a deep desire to stay. I didn’t want to face the realities the world and risk losing this feeling of connection with God. We knew it wasn’t possible to stay; we had to figure out a way to bring the feeling home with us!
When we expressed these feelings to other families there, they understood and gave some tips for keeping God in the forefront of our family.
Upon returning home we made the commitment to attend our church, to become involved. We have since attended regularly, volunteered our time, involved our children in activities whenever possible. Here at home we speak God’s name and Word often throughout the day, we consider God’s opinion when making choices and allow our children to see us doing that.
We are no longer afraid of walking this journey with God, we’ve found our purpose. We don’t give up and do our own thing when it’s uncomfortable, we remain steadfast in our resolve to keep this connection we felt that week away.
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
AA Big Book, pg 130
Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us. We have found
nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.
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