Like many families we gathered for the unofficial last day of summer on Labor Day. After praying for those who labor for our country, their physical hardships, and their needs, we went to play. Going to the Lake during the summer is a haven for our family and watching my daughter take her boys tubing, as I did with her many years ago, is such a joy. At our haven we spend hours laughing, swimming, eating, and sometimes we just sit quietly and watch the sun play on the water. We all need a haven—a place of escape from our busyness—a place to just “be.” We need such times and such places to live a healthy life.
Even Jesus needed to get away from time to time. He would steel away from the crowds, from the busyness, from the demands of daily life to find some peace, to reflect, and to pray. I often picture him beside the lake watching the sun dance on the water, or in the hills feeling a refreshing breeze. At such places we are on holy ground and we are blessed.
I’ve been packing and unpacking a lot during the last several months for trips long and short as well as purposeful and fun. In July I jokingly said to my husband, “I’ve been dealing with a lot of baggage lately.” To which he gave me “that look.”
We often talk about the baggage we carry in life from various life experiences, some of our own making and some hoisted upon us by others. With growing wisdom and faith we learn to deal with that baggage because we all know that baggage weighs us down!
I always thought that dealing with my personal baggage was my burden and I had to work it out on my own. But faith has taught me that God not only cares about our baggage but God will also carry it if we are willing to give it up.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11: 29
As we returned from our Mission Trip with the Nehemiah Mission in Cleveland, our team was asked to share the answer to this question: Where did you see Christ? I was touched by the answers of the youth and adults and they made me think of the various situations in which we found ourselves as well as the people we encountered.
One young woman talked about a family we met while painting their house. They had had so many serious set-backs, yet laughed and spoke with joy, and that amazed our team member and made her think about how she would react to disappointments in her life.
Another member of the team saw Christ in another team we met at the mission from Mount Vernon and how they welcomed us into their fellowship even though we were strangers to them.
I saw Christ in the people we served. They were, unsurprisingly, appreciative. But what really stood out was their generosity. So often those who have the least are the most generous! The lady we helped obviously didn’t have a lot, yet she surprised us with watermelon and cantaloupe on the hottest day of our painting project. It was delicious and so very humbling. We came to give to her, but she gave to us—not only the fruit that she shared but also the love that she shared. I saw Christ in her. How do others see Christ in us?
My mom died a few years ago and I miss her so much. I wish she could see my two grandsons and experience the joy we have in them. At a recent church dinner we somehow started talking about Mom and four-year-old Trey asked where she was. I told him that she had died and was in heaven with Jesus. He asked what her name was and what my father’s name was too. Then he seemed to get interested in something else and I thought that was the end of it until my daughter reported this conversation which occurred on the way home that night.
Trey: Mama, I’m sad about Nana’s mommy and daddy.
Beth: Why buddy?
Trey: Cause I want to meet them!
Beth: They would have loved you Trey, and your brother!
Trey: Yea, I would have loved my great grandma and great grandpa!
What a tender heart of a little boy who can love, even people he has never met. I have a feeling that he can even feel the love that is passed down from my parents in very real ways. They are always with us.