At the Summit

stone mountain family of 5

This weekend, we took a half-day family trip to Stone Mountain. It took forever to get on the road, but we eventually made it to our destination despite the obstacles of Atlanta traffic.

To say the weather was beautiful is an understatement. We loaded the Rowdy boys into the double jogging stroller and explored the base of the mountain while Scarlett was content snuggled up to me in the Ergobaby carrier. The boys, James Michael especially, were wide-eyed as they took in all the new surroundings.

We took the Sky rail to the summit because we weren’t about to risk Beau on the hike without having him strapped in a carrier. At the top, I’m pretty sure JM felt like he was on top of the world. He couldn’t contain his excitement, and thankfully, he didn’t have to. He lept from jagged rock to jagged rock pretending he was a super hero (his current obsession) while we kept a close hand on Beau the Wild Man.

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I’ve realized it’s so easy to see God’s beauty through this outdoor lens. The sun’s radiance lights up the Rowdy boys’ faces and we embrace adventures with our new family of five. From atop the mountain, we marvel at the scenery below and realize the awesomeness of our vantage point. It’s easy to recognize God when you’re above the fog and all the distractions of life. It’s easy to point to Him when life is good and your kids are laughing and you’re breathing in fresh air while the sun is shining down on you. God is good and life is good…it’s that simple.

But despite these few pictures snapped from our perfect half-day experience, they only give a small glimpse into our weekend.

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Before we set off for adventure, I took the kids with me to the pediatrician to get Beau checked out after a lingering cold and returning fever. Turns out, he has another bacterial infection (his third in three months) and is back on a round of antibiotics. And it makes me cringe just to think how much medicine this poor baby has had in his short lifetime.

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The morning after we returned home, JM and Scarlett came down with fevers and I spent 4 hours in the pediatric urgent care center on yet another beautiful day that we completely missed out on. Thankfully, Scarlett apparently had a random high fever and looked healthy otherwise, but my sweet three year old re-caught Beau’s cold and is dealing with wheezing and croup.

But despite this new round of sickness we’re facing, God is still drawing me near. The past couple days, as I’m studying Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon Bible study, he’s teaching me about “faithfulness, diligence and integrity through every task.” He’s showing me that through my ordinary tasks, such as caring for my home, as well as those that shouldn’t be ordinary but seem that way for now, such caring for my sick kids, He is near but I just need to be aware, because “sometimes the place and manner you find Him is the least spectacular you’d expect.”

As Priscilla writes, “Gideon’s story reveals that even your most mundane duty has a twinkle of the favor of God. For if He removed his blessings completely from you–taking away your home, your family, your work, your possessions–the need for many of your daily tasks would disappear. Don’t despise the very things that signify your seat under the umbrella of God’s goodness each day.”

Sometimes, it’s hard to see or feel God when I’m at the base trudging through the fog of sick kids, an unkempt house, another obligation, another diaper change, another fight broken up and another bedtime routine by myself. But He’s there, waiting for me to look up to the summit, waiting for me to recognize my blessings, waiting for me to seek Him for my strength.

Real life isn’t always sunny and clear with smiling, happy children. Real life is gritty and messy and overwhelmingly ordinary. So I am learning, slowly but surely, to look for Him not only at the summit of life, but at the base.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

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