It had been a long day of driving. With the goal of dipping our toes in the ocean before sunset, we had set out with our friends before dawn and pushed hard through the day, only stopping to use the restroom and refuel. The last fours hours were filled with the cacophony of children cries- “How much longer?” and “I wish we were there already.”
We finally began to see palm trees and sand and signs for our destination and our hearts began to wake up. As we paid the toll at the Mid Bay Bridge, the weariness of a day of driving fell away and the “Are we there yet’s” turned to “Woohoo’s” and we opened portals in our car to the salty air and in our heart to beat of the beach vacation drum. We lifted arms out the sunroof and waved like madmen to the cars passing by. The freedom was as tangible as the humidity in the air.
We arrived at our God-gift of a last minute condo as the sun was beginning to set. We didn’t even go inside, instead, we slipped off shoes and started across the beach walk to the ocean. Realization broke over me like a wave as we crested the dune. I grabbed my husband’s hand and jumped into his arms, “We’re at the beach! I can’t believe we’re at the beach!” He smiled and kissed me sweet and gave me that “I know, right?” look and we took off running to the surf.
We hadn’t planned this vacation with our dear friends. Come to think of it, neither had they really. They had decided to get away just three days prior and it had all fallen into place in a beautiful way. They were sharing their plan with us as we prepared our church for Sunday morning services. “We are leaving for the beach tomorrow!” They told us.
Jealousy mixed with genuine happiness for our friends flooded into us as we celebrated with them. Then the inevitable conversation.
“I wish we could go with you.”
“You should, there’s another condo available. All you would have to pay is food and gas.”
My husband’s eyes met mine. He was already burning vacation for the week. I began running the lists of “We couldn’ts” in my head….I mean could we? That’s crazy….just take off for the week…to Florida? The kids are in school and only have 2 weeks left, the dog- we’d need someone to take care of her, Charlie’s off- but I would have to tell my Mom/boss that I am taking an extra week of vacation and we’re right in the middle of a big project, we’re not packed, I don’t have any laundry done and I had planned to lose twenty pounds before anyone saw me in a swimsuit- we couldn’t, just couldn’t go….right? But, oh dear Jesus, how my family (and I) could use a break…
And then God started knocking down the dominoes….one. by. one. As He did,my husband and I started smiling, more than we have in a long time, even as we packed at two in the morning for a 4 am leave time.
And I still don’t believe it. Each time we cross that beach walk to the white sand of the Destin beach…I am in awe of how God brought us here and is ministering to our hearts. It’s beautiful and restful and I am blown away by His love and generosity. We were floundering in the midst of our everyday existence and were beginning to be suffocated by the tyranny of our schedules back home. God has been guiding us to rest more, but we keep pushing Him back- “after this event, Lord, I’ll rest.” “When school’s out, we’ll take a little break.”
But then He extends this beautiful invitation to LIFE and REST, and the siren song of it was more than we could resist.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”- John 10:10