God did it again! He performed the yearly miracle called our family vacation. Before 2017, vacations were very rare for us. Just surviving the day and putting food on the table was the priority. It didn’t seem like we could afford for Chris to take off work or pay for a vacation rental. We didn’t think to ask God to provide for a family getaway.
Finally in 2017 I decided to ask God in prayer. We had no possible way to make it happen, but God did! He gave us a few days in a house up north. What an amazing time we had! We returned to that cabin again the next year and started the tradition of naming our rental homes.
The first was the “Stinky Cabin” because of the musty smell.
The second was the “Cold Cabin” because the heat in the old farmhouse didn’t reach all of the rooms.
The third was the “Star Cabin” because there were over 50 stars that decorated the place.
The fourth was the “Cow Cabin” because we shared the property with a herd of cows.
The memory of each has become so dear, and the faithful words of God so precious.
This September we received a free week at a real log cabin, and I thought sure it would be known as the “Cabin Cabin.”
I underestimated all that God had planned.
We traveled up north with two vehicles, 11 people, and a mountain of “essential” provisions. We were very excited when we saw the lovely, secluded cabin with a pond. We all went to bed dreaming of the coming adventures.
I woke up in the night. It was incredibly quiet in the woods with only the insect songs and the soft wind in the trees…until an unearthly howling began. In my sleepy stupor, I couldn’t imagine what it was. More and more voices joined in. My mind began to conjure genetically enhanced, alien coyotes having a secret round table deep in the woods, plotting the destruction of all who trespassed on their domain. I shuttered and was grateful that the boys hadn’t slept outside in their tent!
A fear plagued me all night. Yes, the howling mutants were creepy, but I had a much bigger concern: the thought of one of my precious little ones disappearing into the murky water of the pond. I had learned a lot about fear and spiritual warfare at the “Cow Cabin” last year. This year, I was still working through the irrational fear that one of my children would drown, and that this idyllic vacation would turn into a tragedy.
The next morning dawned with hope, sunny and beautiful. My girls had found some “treasure” in a drawer in the living room. They were very excited about the plastic gold and jewels.
Aria said to me, “We should call this the ‘Treasure Cabin.’”
Their older brother, Chai, made a treasure map for them to find the treasure all over again.
“How sweet!” I thought.
My plan was to bask in the warm sunshine and just relax, read, and rest. I began with Ephesians and read it one verse at a time. I allowed each verse to marinate my body, soul, and spirit in divine revelation before I moved on to the next.
When I got to Eph 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” I knew this was in a God set up. As I continued to read verse after verse about riches and blessings, I knew that God had designed this vacation for treasure, not tragedy!
I spent all morning mining the treasure found in the first three chapters of Ephesians.
- Being Spotless and Blameless (1:4)
- Being predestined for Adoptions as sons (1:5)
- Riches of His glorious Grace (1:6, 1:7, 2:8)
- Redemption and Forgiveness (1:7, 2:5)
- Knowing the mystery of His will, the Gentiles are fellow heirs (1:9, 3:6)
- Riches of our glorious Inheritance (1:18)
- Holy Spirit, the guarantee of our inheritance (1:13,14)
- The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation to enlighten our hearts (1:17)
- Hope (1:18)
- Immeasurable greatness of His Power toward us (1:19, 3:16-17, 3:20)
- The Church (1:22-23, 2:2-21, 3:10)
- Good Works that He prepared in advance for us (2:10)
- Peace (2:14)
- Boldness (3:12)
- Love (3:17-19)
I was so overwhelmed by God’s goodness and knew that our vacation week would be full of beautiful surprises. The howl of mutant coyotes ceased to echo through the valley, and I counted 73 treasures that came from God’s loving hand. Here are just a few.
Eating meals outside
Misty mornings overlooking the lake
Sunsets on the porch
Family fun at the pond
Watkins Glen’s Gorge Trail (the prettiest trail I have ever hiked!)
PA Grand Canyon
The best chicken fajitas ever
Treasure Chest store where I found the blue and white frames I had been looking for
Country Haven Treasures where I found the blue and white birds I had been searching for
Kidsgrove in Selinsgrove (the biggest and coolest playground ever!)
Among the treasure were simple, everyday moments that I would have missed if I wasn’t looking for them such as:
Chai showing Aria how to play T-ball with patience and kindness
Soft words of affirmation from my husband
The Veggie Vendor along the road to the cabin
Green grass, green trees, yellow flowers
Cadin making Ashlyn giggle
Stony Fork Country store which sold raw milk, cheese curds, and $1 whoopie pies
Eating massive steaks that Cooper bought
Chris doing laundry until every load was done
This year’s vacation rental will be remembered as the “Treasure Cabin”, and I am so thankful for all that God showed me there!
During this Christmas season, when our thoughts revolve around gift giving, I would like to remind you that the treasures of Ephesians are always with us as well as the simple treasures hidden in the common place routines.