Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekend of Grace

Last weekend the boys went to a father-son retreat at Living Waters Bible Camp. A mere 90 minutes away from us is a place of respite, renewal, and recreation, nestled in a secluded valley east of Westby. Our friend Dennis is the executive director of LWBC, and I registered Mark and Cy for this weekend as an early birthday gift to my husband. Meanwhile, the girls and I ventured another 90 minutes north from camp to visit my sister Deb and her family on Lunde Coulee Lane. I prayed that the rainy weather would subside and allow the boys to enjoy skiing, tubing, and skating while we girls could sled the massive hills on Deb & Arlie's farm!

Alas, it rained most of the day Saturday, so we girls stayed indoors. But Deb & Arlie's is kind of like an ultra-comfy bed and breakfast-slash-rec room. There was plenty of fun to be had, such as the Wii, pool and puzzles with second cousins Eli and Evie,

and make-overs. Cousin Megan drove back home to help keep the girls entertained!

She did everyone's nails and even cut my hair. On Ally's new "do" Shae said, "You look like you're going to the PROM!" I think I speak for all of my daughters when I say "Thanks Megan, for the pampering. You ROCK!"

My hair was in desperate need of a trim. Meg really did a nice job, I think. The back perked right up!

The three little girls enjoyed a bath in Deb and Arlie's jacuzzi. This picture was taken BEFORE the jets were turned on.

Now watch what happened AFTER we turned on the whirlpool! Bubble-opolis!! I wanted to jump in there with them.

Yes, God showed His grace through Deb, Arlie, and Megan in their generous hospitality. You always feel right at home there. What better definition of graciousness?

Sunday morning we awoke to big, wet snowflakes. I was so thankful to worship with Deb and Megan at their home church in Ettrick. Worshiping with my goddaughter (Megan) and having Paige sit next to her godmother (Aunt Debby) made it extra special for me. We left directly from the church to head back to camp and pick up the boys. God definitely showered His grace upon us as we traveled southeast through slushy, slippery roads. I lost control of the Suburban once on a curve and thankfully was driving about 30 mph, with 4 wheel drive, and with no oncoming traffic. The girls sensed that Mom needed to concentrate, and they were graciously QUIET on that drive down to camp. We had plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful woods of the Black River area, all the while reminded of our own minute of "scare" as we drove past an overturned semi truck (which, thankfully, was a one-vehicle, non-injury accident).

The theme of the weekend at LWBC was "Legacy of Grace". I had worried that Mark would not enjoy the time at camp, due to poor weather and being such a private person. However, upon our arrival to pick them up Mark said, "I would not trade this weekend for anything". Cy was full of stories of the awesome tubing hill, how they were in the broomball championship game, how they built catapults and had marshmallow fights, the delicious food, and how he couldn't wait to go back to camp.

The girls were a bit jealous when they saw the lodge filled with God's creation (including this T-rex model head) and the gift store. Stories of bubble baths and camp activities were exchanged as we loaded up the luggage and headed home.

Mark shared how proud he was of Cy, who was not shy at all about raising his hand and sharing his thoughts on the Prodigal Son story which was shared during worship. The parable that Jesus told in Luke 15 is an excellent example of God's unconditional love and GRACE. The father in the story goes out of his way to welcome home his wayward son, sacrificing his dignity to shower his son with grace and love. Mark's notes on the devotional time include these powerful sentences:

When we fail (and we do) our first reaction is to hide.
I need God's grace for my salvation and for life.
God loves me on my best day and on my worst day.
On my worst day, I am a child of God.
When I come to the end of myself, I am closer than ever to God.
What God wants most from me is trust.

How cool is that? I love that 5th line: When I come to the end of myself, I am closer than ever to God. Less of me = more of God. Even on my worst day, God loves me and gives me His grace. No amount of toys, money, power, fame, television shows, or work accomplishments can give me what God can give me -- GRACE. The things of this world will come and go, but God's love and grace will always be there for me. He is there, always. In the little things. In the rain. in the snow. In the bubble baths. In the marshmallow fights. In the moment of pride when your daughter sings a hymn of praise with her godmother. Or when your son offers his understanding of His Word.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.--Romans 5:1-2


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