Today, my kids and I headed to the state forest with our favorite other homeschool family. Two women, five kids. We must be crazy. But when they boys have scout requirements to get done, you sometimes do crazy things. So we packed up our kids, lots of water and snacks, and headed out. As usual, the kids were gung ho at the beginning of our hike, claiming things like, “We can do miles!” Suuuure. Lets see how certain you are later. Many trees, birds, bushes, and a few flowers were pointed out and explained. Maps were read, compasses were whipped out. By lunch time, they were starting to drag, we started around 10am. So we found a spot by the stream to rest and eat. By the time they finished their sandwiches, they were ready to go. So we trekked and trekked, trying to find the swinging bridge. That was not on our map. But that the kids HAAAD to see. So we searched and searched. Eventually, we found it. And the kids were delighted to run across it and back again, and finally cross to the other side. We hiked a few more minutes in the same direction, then decided to turn back. Crossing the bridge a second time was a huuge bonus for them. They really enjoyed swinging it back and forth while they walked across it. By this time, however, they were tired. And whiney. And hungry. And sure we were never going to make it back. So we trudged along, and right about the end of the trail, they boys are running ahead, laughing, playing, so wound up it wasn’t funny. In all we hiked maybe 5 miles. So much for 30miles, huh kids? However, in the midst of all of this, I got to spend time with my friend and commiserate over the struggles of homeschooling, and work, and life. But we also laughed, and talked about how we love our kids, even when they drive us mad.
As I look back at today, I picked out a few bits of our trip that really spoke to me. Sitting by the water and having lunch. The effect it had on everyone. I thought of Psalm 23:2, a verse my middle child is so fond of. “He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.” Sitting there, with our friends, having lunch and resting, seemed to perk the kids up. How much so when we take time to rest, and sit with God, are we refreshed? (I prefer a cup of coffee, but a sandwich is just as good!)
Searching for the bridge. This was all encompassing to them, once they found out it was there. Nothing was going to stop them from finding, and crossing that bridge. Matthew 7:7 says, ” Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find.” Seeking isn’t just looking for a few minutes and giving up. Seeking takes time and effort. When we seek after God we spend time in the Bible, in prayer, looking for Him and what He has for us. Our children wanted to see that bridge, and they looked for it, and they found it. So shall we find God when we search for him. He will always reveal Himself to us.
The swaying of the bridge. My kids, especially my middle child, loved to swing that bridge once she got on it. She wasn’t afraid either. She trusted that the bridge was safe, and that should something happen to her, someone was there to rescue her. The swaying reminded me of how the world tries to sway us, alter our ways of thinking, how we feel about God. Ephesians 4:14,” so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” And no matter how we try, sometimes, we sway. BUT, lucky for us, we have someone watching, waiting to rescue us. Isaiah 43, ” “Do not be afraid—I will save you.I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.” So when we pass over a swaying bridge, or troubling time in our lives, we can be sure that God is there, and He will save us.
And most of all, I just felt so blessed to have another mom to chat with. About life, our struggles, our blessings. “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17. Simply put, we aren’t meant to go through life alone. We need other people in our lives to support us, keep us on track, and we are to be that to someone else.
All in all, it was a wonderful, stressful, fun day. Full of nature, laughs, sunshine, and a little bit of Jesus.