Our first family camping trip with our church friends began with a torrential downpour, which caused me to let go of any future expectations of how the weekend would go.
Instead of complaining, we laughed. Three families huddled around a picnic table and ate soggy burgers under a leaking tarp. We made jokes. We took pictures. We watched the red areas on the weather apps move directly over our campsite.
Memories were made. Community was forged. And the rain just gave us something to talk about.
That evening, when we were all beyond tired and ready for rest, my two-year-old decided it was party time. It was his first night outside of the confines of his crib. This fact did not escape him. I closed my eyes and feigned sleep, thinking this might calm him.
Instead, he crawled to my side of the tent, put his face directly to my ear, and in a loud voice said, “Hey!”
It was an extremely long night.
As much as I love my bed and a good R.E.M. cycle, I will never forget that night. Even as I type about it now, a smile comes to my face.
When we embrace what is instead of wishing for what isn’t, memories that last a lifetime are made.
We have the freedom to open our hands and receive the blessing that is right in front of us with gratitude, instead of clenching our fists because things didn’t go as we’d planned. We can receive what’s given to us as grace, because everything is.
Our God is not one whose miracles are limited to saving lives and healing the sick. Everywhere we look, the earth is filled with them.
A beautiful sunset after a storm. An expanse of stars that forms the Big Dipper. A dry tent.
The following day after our restless night, we took a hike around the lake. As I was walked hand in hand with my oldest, he looked up at me, all of a sudden, and said, “Mom, I love you. I really like walking with you.”
I would have given a hundred sleepless nights for that one moment.
So today, I’m opening my arms to the unexpected. I’m embracing the glory in the mess, and letting go of those unseen ideals.
And I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next.