In our ever-evolving life as a family of six, certain things, recently well-known to our family of four have decidedly taken a back seat for the foreseeable future.
Things like lengthy meals at sit down restaurants, trips to an actual movie theater (Redbox is our new BFF), Mother’s Day brunch at swanky shrimp-cocktail Country Clubs, and little hands rifling through the fridge at any hour of the day or night.
My kitchen is open or closed. It’s either a designated eating time or it’s not. Period. Short-order cook status and I don’t get along. And believe you me, we are NOT traversing American thoroughfares to cater to individualized fast food fancies. If it’s a majority vote (heavily weighted by Mama and Daddy), then it’s most definitely our “final answer.”
All of these adjustments are certainly worth the price of admission to “large family” status. But the one thing I really do miss is a regular work-out. And by “regular work-out” I mean, semi-regular. And by semi-regular, I mean weekly. Is that too much to ask? Just once a week?
During the school year, I was at least able to finagle a good Wednesday morning exercise routine. Dragging my sorry hiney out of bed at 5:45 was no easy task, but beggars can’t be choosers.
I would step onto the elliptical trainer, plug in my ear buds and slowly begin the forward revolutions.
At regular intervals, I would place my hands on the side-rails, hoping to burst the upper echelons of heart-rate monitor status. After all, this is the only measureable means of success at such an hour. My weary face wasn’t doing me any favors. Could my heart-rate possibly vault past “fat-burn” all the way to “cardio”? Some may call it obsession. I call it due diligence.
With sweaty hands I grasped the hand holds, waited for the heart symbol to stop flashing, hoping for some three digit number to appear. And there it was: 70. 70?! This machine must be broken, I winced. Delicate perspiration on my brow convinced me this number must be wrong.
And then I heard it. God’s whisper.
“Oh sweet child of mine, that’s YOUR heart rate. You can only get so far relying on your own efforts. Now try it again. With Me. Go ahead. Dare to channel my Spirit.”
In a matter of seconds, the numbers flashed forward, pole-vaulting over 70 and landing on 180 beats per minute! His heart rate transferred to mine. And His message was clear. “My gracious favor is all you need. My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
This month, my family and I have the privilege of sharing space in community at Young Life’s one and only camp designated to minister to and serve families. Families of every shape, size, color and configuration. These families come from all walks of life to spend a week together at the base of majestic Mount Princeton. Laden with cameras, swim suits, cowboy boots and car toppers, they bring much love, joy, pain and sorrow along for the ride.
Last week, military families enjoyed this getaway, some of them experiencing a bonafide family vacation for the very first time. Soldiers danced with their wives for the first time since their wedding day and began to unpack memories of trauma that hold them captive.
This week, we are beyond blessed to host families who share one thing in common. Each and every parent here is raising a child who has battled or is currently battling cancer. And, in some inexplicable reality this is just one of many challenges life has thrown their way. Some of these sweet children already wear the label “autistic” or “special needs.”
My heart is humbled by their stories. Their realities.
In the face of very real pain and potential death, these folks have fallen. Flat on their faces they have pleaded to the Lord, cried out to Him demanding answers. Hoping for miracles.
But even in the midst of strife, many are quick to worship. To lift their eyes heaven-ward. To align their heart-beat with God’s and to soar on eagle’s wings.
Their struggles are vast. Their faith is inspiring.
My words fall short, but His sustain.
I continue to learn that perspective isn’t just one of many things. It is the only thing. The only thing that will thrust my eyes heavenward.
Looking down binds me to this world. Chained to like a chicken to the hen house. Forever pecking away for my piece of the pie.
Looking up – adoring the One who knit me together, channeling HIS power, hoping for His perspective frees me to soar.
PS – Does wrestling tiny bodies to the ground in the midst of tickles and groans count as a realistic summer workout? Here’s hoping…