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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, February 18, 2013

To the Ship!

It was time again for the Chick-fil-a Operators Seminar.  Micah and I missed last year for obvious reasons but were so glad everyone was recovered enough from illness for us to go last week.  This year, it was held at sea!  Micah and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale then cruised to Nassau, Bahamas and back with 4000+ of our closest CFA friends. 

Right before Micah and I left, I spent hours cleaning and organizing our home.  After spending one week at the hospital, then hosting an open house for the babies' birthdays, and enduring the tornado of one normal week, everything was a mess.  The more I worked and the closer I moved toward the ick, the more ick I saw.  I particularly hate cleaning the shower... which I hadn't touched in weeks... maybe months...  My aunt and I talk about it all the time~ how you need to be an acrobat to really get it clean.  She and I both agree that scrubbing the toilet is substantially preferable over the shower anyday.  Then, I happened to glance at the blinds.  There are 9 plantation style blinds in the downstairs that I know I have never cleaned... and I don't think anyone else had ever either.  I know, I know, that isn't necessarily a priority when going out of town, but sometimes I just want to clean something and it stay clean for more than ten minutes.  Blinds have a better chance than my floors or other surfaces.   

Then there was the mess of organizing stuff for a week away with others living inside my house.  It was a labor of love but indeed, messy.  Homeschool lesson plans for the boys, info sheets and schedule for the babies, medical release forms in case of an emergency, food for, well, everybody, I desired to be left in a way that made grandparents' time with our lovelys as enjoyable as possible from my end of things. 

With all of that finally accomplished plus packing for myself, it was good to be on the road with a sunny destination in mind last Saturday.  We made it to the airport just in time thanks to a last minute Target run (there are just always things we need at Target:)).

Catching my breath while suspended over the earth at 25,000 to 35,000 feet, moving away from the mess made a significant impression on me.  As we flew down south, I watched out the window at the way the earth looked from such a distance: organized, neat, tidy, slow moving, it wasn't long before I wondered, why in the world did God come near?  Why Emmanuel?  The closer I am, the more mess is revealed.  I knew what I had left inside my home, much like the ones I saw from a distance.  From 25,000 feet, everyone's blinds are clean! 

The deeper I move into my heart, the more sin I see.  The grout of my heart is revealed, and it is not pretty and white. I would like to say the older I get, the better I get.  The only thing for which I am surely getting better is seeing my great need for Jesus and His perfect righteousness.  I may have said that here before, but it is a truth to be repeated.  

We boarded the ship and moved away from land.  When all concrete, wood, sand, and sod was out of sight, I looked at the view of the ocean from our stateroom.  In that moment, I remembered these words penned by William Rees:

Here is love
vast as the ocean
Loving kindness as the flood
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
God does see the filthy grout of my being and the dirt of my earthly facade, but was moved to descend into the mess in love.  The word "vast" used above to describe this love took on a different meaning when used as an adjective for something so seemingly immeasurable all around our floating mini-city.  The weight of the concept was visual and overwhelming and I pray, not soon forgotten.  I need these object lessons now and again.   
It was a wonderful trip.  Micah and I enjoyed our time together and with friends.  We also enjoyed seeing a part of the world we had never visited.  The water in the Bahamas is just the most dazzeling teal blue and crystal clear.  It was refreshing in many ways for the both of us.  
Aboard the Allure of the Sea

Our view from a double hammock on Blue Lagoon Island
I think everyone back in KY had a good time as well.  I pray it will be well remembered as sweet Papa, Mimi, Abba, and Nana time for our children.  Until next year...

(There are no pictures of Mimi and Nana... because they were the photographers!)
Let us all His love accepting
Love Him ever all our days
Let us seek His Kingdom only
And our lives be to His praise
He alone shall be our glory
Nothing in the world we see
He has cleansed and sanctified us
He Himself has set us free
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heaven’s eternal days

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