Last week was a special check-something-off-my-bucket list time. I was able to take our oldest granddaughter and her friend for a week in Florida. Karen, my dear sister, was scheduled to go with us, but she opted to stay home and farm, so Debbie, my dear friend, joined us.
We had an absolutely fabulous time.
(I will not even get into the guilt I felt at leaving my farmers during the absolute busiest time of year after an incredibly wet and stressful spring. Let's just say I owe BIG THANK YOU'S to lots of people for stepping in to help in my absence. My husband and sons are ROCK STARS and very kind to their wife and momma. In my defense, when you are trying to schedule a week with VERY BUSY teenagers, you have to grab the gusto and go when they can.)
The weather cooperated beautifully. The girls were fun and giggly and grown-up and willing to try new things and ADORABLE.
Here are some words to describe our Beach Bash 2016:
We were very busy and blessed and exhausted at the end of the week. However, I would travel with them again in a second, and I will never forget our time together.
Special relationships were deepened and the special relationship I have with the beach was, too.
God seems to always teach me in a special way when I'm at the beach and this time was no exception. He is so gracious and kind in pointing out errors in my thinking, helping me see others with new eyes. It seems I always need to be reminded to love my neighbor. And those lessons often come as I stare at the vastness of the ocean.
Saturday evening we went to the movies. The girls wanted to see Through the Looking Glass, so we bought their tickets for the 3D Imax theater, popcorn and drinks, and got them settled in before we headed down the hall to the film we chose, Money Monsters. I won't go into the story-line of our movie, but let's just say it was very intense and NOT a love story. At one point after a tragic event in New York City, we were treated to a glimpse of what was happening at the exact same time in several different places around the world. The scenes went from one dark, evil event to another and it just about made me sick.
And made me realize that the scenes, though fiction, probably accurately represented what happens in this world. Can you imagine what it must be like to be God, to see your dearly loved children making one bad mistake after another, missing out on the life you created them to live?
Left to our own devices, we create one big mess for ourselves after another.
I was really troubled by this until Debbie reminded me that we don't live in THAT world. As Christians, we are part of HIS LIGHT, HIS KINGDOM here on earth.
Lesson noted and received with thanksgiving.
Sidebar: Our movie ended before the girls, and we snuck into their theater to check on them. We had a ball watching our two cuties watch Alice and friends while wearing their 3D glasses, smiling and laughing and reacting to the action on their screen. Precious Grandma-time.
We had milkshakes at Johnny Rockets and headed back to our condo, but I just kept thinking about the evil darkness I had seen in the movie. Why do people find it so attractive?
Sunday morning, we went to church and at the end of the sweet service, the pastor announced there would be a baptism at the beach in 30 minutes. Debbie and I were so excited to witness a new birth on the beach so we all headed down to the water.
Surprise. God showed me part two of the lesson from beach week.
Sidebar: I also learned not to lock my keys in my purse in the trunk. Don't worry. Happy ending.
Walking up to the pavilion to the beach, we began hearing the gentle sounds of a recorder. An elderly man was sitting there playing away, so we walked up to hear a bit of his story. We didn't expect what we saw next-a sign offering to tell our fortunes or give us an "oracle."
I could hear my grandma's voice telling me to run as far away as I could from someone who was messing with the dark side.
But before long, Debbie told him we were there to witness a baptism and she had him playing Amazing Grace. She's amazing like that.
Talk about the juxtaposition of good and evil. Of light and dark. Of knowledge and ignorance.
The baptism took place on a packed beach witnessed by those of us who were there by choice and those who randomly were at the right place at the right time. I can't wait to find out in heaven how God used that scene to impact others.
I know it impacted me.
Friends, as believers, we are so very blessed and called to be different than the world. We must be
LIGHT and LOVE and share the GOOD NEWS of the GOSPEL.
It is our "get-to". Our great privilege and purpose.
And the world desperately needs it and doesn't even know it. And they are searching for it through all kinds of evil. They don't know what they don't know.
So we need to show them through the way we live.
Once again, Christ does the work.
Jesus once again addressed them: “I am theworld’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty oflight to live in.” John 8:12 MSG Jesus is the light and because He is, we can be.
Matthew 5: 14-16
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as acityonahill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you ona light stand. Now that I’ve put you there onahilltop, ona light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Don't you just love that phrase, "Keep open House; be generous with your lives" ? Don't be stingy and selfish with the wonderfulness of God that He has put within you.