For the most part, I try to be very purposeful in keeping our family’s schedule routine and underwhelmed. But as this past school year was drawing to an end, I realized that we had a big opportunity this summer to make a lot of fun memories together. Faith has been with us 7 months now and is adjusting so well. Jian is much more at ease in new situations now that she has a sister. And Faith is feeling well on a daily basis. I don’t know what our future holds, but as for now, things are well, and I don’t want to squander this time. So we declared this summer to be the “Jackson Summer of Fun!”
We scheduled several long weekends that we could enjoy as a family. The first was tent camping on Memorial Day weekend. There is a State Park very close to our house that offers many wonderful activities. We planned everything out and packed up our car with the basics—tent, sleeping bags, pillows, food, firewood, and a few outdoor toys.
When we arrived and got unpacked, Jian looked a bit disappointed and commented that the campsite beside ours had “better stuff.” I was disturbed by her statement and quickly squashed that attitude. Afterwards I was reminded of an excerpt from Francis and Lisa Chan’s book You and Me Forever. It speaks to the fact that all of us are merely on a camping trip while on this earth, waiting for our eternal home and how silly it is to be concerned with having all the best “stuff.”
“We are on a camping trip! It might be a 70 or 80 year camping trip, but that’s all it is…It would have been laughable to see people rolling up into our campsite with their luxury vehicles, pre-built homes, pristine clothing, potted plants, and their personal gourmet chefs. That’s not camping. When you’re on a temporary camping trip, you are more than content with the basics. You don’t need to set up a well decorated, cushy home, because you already know that the majority of your time will be spent pursuing the adventure.”
That afternoon we did just that—pursued our adventure. We enjoyed several activities, including canoeing, visiting a rehabilitation center for birds, and cooking by the fire.
When it became dark, we got into the tent and told ghost stories, per the girls’ request. A few hours later, I was awakened by the sound of rain pouring onto our tent. I immediately became nervous and started thinking through different scenarios and trying to problem-solve each one. I tried to figure out the best way to get Jian up the muddy hill to the car in the dark and how to pack up everything in the rain and drive home in the middle of the night and what a disaster this would be.
I silently prayed as everyone else slept for probably an hour that God would please stop the storm. But it continued until I eventually fell back asleep. As it turns out, I learned a more valuable lesson than if He’d stopped the rain. A lesson I knew He was teaching me to file away for future reference. I learned that He would protect us even in the middle of a storm that would not soon end. The tent remained secure without an ounce of water leaking inside. We were all safe and well-rested, and the next morning was sunny and beautiful.
We visited a Demonstration Farm that next day, where Jian was in her element. The girls were able to see and pet all kinds of animals up close, some for the first time.
I would call the first of our many summer adventures a success. And I love the reminder that we are all merely campers passing through this temporary world on to our Heavenly home.
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. 1 Peter 2:11
But now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16