I love vacations for many reasons, but perhaps my favorite part of getting away from the norm is the chance to reset things a bit when you get home. Our vacation was pretty incredible for so many reasons. We stayed in one of the dreamiest homes and had so many hours to dig deep with one of my best girls to do this with. We curled up in that sweet little girls' room at the Magnolia House, dreaming up ways God might be calling us to move. We sat on the porch in the afternoon sun and shared stories of the good and the bad from our past that continue to shape us today. And we stayed up late on our last night, sitting around that coffee table while our husbands slept, talking about what the Lord has taught us and where we go from here. And one word seemed to stick with me as we traveled home the next day, making our way back to a full email inbox, and a home with a lot less shiplap and a lot more cheerios stuck to the hardwood floor...
Obviously, this word smacks you in the face after any time away from home, when reality comes in the form of laundry to do, toiletries to put away, and if you're lucky, beach sand in the corners of your suitcase. But thanks to the words of Jill Briscoe from this year's If:Gathering, this word means much more than a carry-on suitcase to unload. As a world traveler herself, Jill had to learn to unpack wherever God put her, as if she was there for life. This allowed her to use everything He gave her, right there between her two feet.
So often I am guilty of this. In my Anchored Press devotional this week, Amy Hilliker wrote: "There seems to be such a temptation these days to rush the "process" in our lives. We want to create movements, force growth, self-promote, develop resources, connect with people, capture the perfect pictures, leverage our relationships, and quickly respond to the barrage of messages we receive everyday." I get caught up in looking outside of the orbit of my own two feet and I miss opportunities to truly unpack and be present right where I'm planted. And after a few days away from home, on a trip where I halfway expected God to plant a big seed in me that might lead to new dreams, I believe He asked the opposite of me. To unpack right where He has me, in the midst of a spring break week with two little disciples that sit right around my kitchen table.
God showed me purpose, presence, and process a lot during spring break, but mostly through a leprechaun trap. I unpacked - my time, my resources, and all my strengths, to be fully engaged with the two little humans in my house. Cruz had been very intrigued by the whole leprechaun thing and I wanted to get his wheels turning with a little inquiry based learning. I told him and Mila that we needed to build a leprechaun trap. In our pajamas, we spent the entire morning doing just that. First, we drew out illustrations of our plan and talked through the process together. Then, we problem-solved in order to construct a model using the resources we had. I assigned roles that fit everyone's specific strengths - Mila assembled colored strips into a rainbow, Cruz glued cotton balls on a piece of paper to make a cloud, and I used my gift-wrapping skills to assemble a bright green box that would surely entice our leprechaun. We found and counted gold coins, tested out our trap with numerous stand-in leprechauns, and I watched closely how each of their personalities came to life as we did this together.
It made me a bit broken hearted to see how excited both Cruz and Mila got through this process. To see Cruz label his diagram with the sweetest spelled words and watch how his eyes lit up as we explained his plan using so much detail and expression. To hear Mila exclaim, "Mom, you're a GENIUS!" as I helped them think through their plan with the supplies we had on hand. To feel their anticipation in the air and see just how sweet they worked together when I took the time to give them a task they could collaborate on. All morning, I knew with every part of me that this was exactly where God wanted me, yet how often do I miss these moments, their faces, the rich opportunities to unpack right at home in order for my most cherished relationships to see the best part of me?
God can reveal Himself to us anywhere. Through a Bible study, a mission trip, a vacation to a dreamy place, and even through a leprechaun trap.
And a pretty good one, I might add, even though that sneaky guy got away again this year, but not without a little mischief of his own... :)
More spring break memories with these two wild ones!
Mila's pouty face. Her Legos would not stay together!
Another favorite moment with them. They wanted to take a nap in our bed together and while I did not think this would work, they were insistent. We read books, I sang a couple of songs, and they said it was time to lay quietly with eyes closed. After they wouldn't stop being silly with each other, I finally said, "One more time I have to tell you to be quiet you have to go to your own beds." Then, twenty minutes later, I woke up and found them like this. Love Cruz all curled up with Mila's bunny.
They also insisted on a "sleepover" together one night with their sleeping bags. Quite certain this also wouldn't work, we decided to let them try. It took them awhile to fall asleep, but they were quite the sight when I went in to check on them.