Last summer God asked us to do something unconventional.
He impressed upon our hearts the need to worship together as a family. In the woods.
It felt strange to dress in shorts and tennis shoes for church. It felt odd to pack a picnic for service. But we did it. And we learned something. When you obey God, you have no idea where that obedience will take you.
"Contained within each faithful response to God's guidance is the seed of the next possibility."
All this last year, we've seen this proven true. Family worship led to many decisions that changed the course of our lives.
This year we felt again the call to come and worship as a family in God's cathedral.
Last year, our theme was "The Path" and this year we continued that theme.
So every week, we pick a different trail and a different lesson to go with it.
One week, we went on a horse trail that was full of poop and slugs and mud and thistles. Our verse for that week was, "Thy word is a lamp onto my feet and a light onto my path." We discussed how utterly miserable it would have been to try and maneuver that horse trail in the dark. I told them that my life path has looked exactly like that horse trail at times and the only way I made it through unscathed was because I devoured God's Word and allowed it to guide my decisions.
Several Sundays ago I told the kids a story about the metallic blue diamonds attached to trees on the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail travels the distance between Mexico and Canada. When Dave asked me to begin dating him, I was unsure. I liked him, I respected him, but I wasn't passionately head-over-heals in love with him. So I went on a camping trip with my friend Jenny and I prayed and asked God to show me what to do. The trail we hiked on to our camping spot was part of the Pacific Crest Trail. God showed me, on that camping trip, that He was leading and my trail was marked. If I followed His Word and His voice in my life, like I followed the blue diamonds on the trail, I would be going in the right direction. Well....the trail that God had marked out for me led me somewhere way better than Canada (no offense Chrissy). It led me to now.
Dave went on to tell the kids what God's blue diamonds of leading look like. Gentleness. Patience. Love. Hospitality. Humility. Joy. The markers of His trail.
But last Sunday was the best hike yet. It was a hike through a river to a waterfall. We had to cross an enormous barrier of fallen logs to get to it. The logs were high over the water and semi-narrow and slippery. Grant was able to maneuver himself. But the other three kids had to ask Daddy to carry them. Even Avonlea. I closed my eyes as Dave walked over the high log with a 12 year old on his back. After Dave had gotten them all across he told me to come.
I had to remember that following the blue diamonds is often synonymous with obeying my husband.
I crossed with my heart in my throat and my eyes on my family.
But on the other side!
Well worth the scary scramble over logs.
Someday these kids may face an obstacle that seems impassible.
And just maybe....they'll remember the beauty that was on the other side.
And maybe....that will motivate them to ask their Father to carry them across.
These are a glimpse of the lessons God is teaching us this summer.
As a family.
In the woods.
Quote is by Ruth Barton.
The hike is in the Columbia Gorge. It is called Oneonta. Water gets to chest level.