We spent a week in Cape May, NJ vacationing with family. When I reflect back on the time, I feel like I could tell two stories of how it went. The first story includes memories like this:
- Watching dolphins swim and play together from a boat with a gorgeous sunset and thinking about my wonderful family and the amazing blessings of God in my life.
- Sitting under an umbrella at the beach reading a novel and looking up from time to time to see my children splashing in the surf and building sandcastles with their cousins.
- Riding bikes with my husband, sister, and her husband for a rare double date to a restaurant while my parents watched all of our children.
- Hanging out with my cousin and her adorable three children for the first time since we all went to college together at Moody many years ago.
- Seeing my parents love on my children and build relationships with them.
I could go on about sweet moments from the week, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say there is another story of the trip that could be told…
- Mosquitoes – everywhere! Our campsite was like a breeding ground for the little pests that like to bite all of us even though we bathed in bug spray. (except my husband who doesn’t like sticky spray and has not even one bite…. hmmph)
- Storms in the middle of the night which meant racing around grabbing towels off the line and cooking gear and getting it into the car so it wouldn’t get soaked.
- 5 uncomfortable nights sleeping in a tent leaving all of us a little more irritable than normal which led to general fussiness in front of an audience of extended family.
- Then there were small irritations that in the grand scheme won’t matter but still drive you crazy: a parking ticket written while I was on my way to get quarters for the meter, a broken wheel on a borrowed beach cart, a bike wreck, 10 hours in the car on the way home with everyone tired, etc.
- The kicker came the morning after we arrived home when I got up early to go work out. I arrived home before 7am with the days events running through my mind and inadvertently pulled into my garage…. with the cartop carrier (again – borrowed) still attached. I heard the crushing sound too late and not only is there damage to the garage, the carrier itself has met an untimely death.
At any given time in my life I can count so many wonderful blessings. Amid all the great things God has also allowed trials and difficulties that can attempt to overshadow all the good. When I change my perspective to see even the trials as things God wants to use for my ultimate good in building my character and drawing me near to Him, even pesky mosquitoes and storms change their shape in my perspective.
When I look back on our trip, I can wear the mosquito lens and see only the petty irritations. However, I can also choose to focus on the dolphins, sunsets, and even see the difficulties as events to refine me. Then I can laugh at myself for killing a car top carrier and refuse to let little daily frustrations get the best of me.
As we have over half the summer left to enjoy, I am praying that God will give me His glasses as my lens. I don’t want to let today’s mosquitoes (laundry, more storms, kids arguments) overshadow the dolphin experiences (time in His presence, making memories with my children, loving my incredible husband). I need His perspective to navigate the ups and downs of life so I don’t get stuck in the negative and miss today’s dolphins. I am so grateful I serve a God who is not far off. He doesn’t leave me guessing. He invites us to be near to Him and listen.
“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” Psalm 27:8
His Word is the best bug spray for killing the mosquitoes and His glasses give me hope through every storm. Time to put them on and prepare to see what He has for this day…