Archive for August 5th, 2006
Several weeks ago, I was blessed to run over to Lexington from Louisville when I was at the North American Christian Church conference. Zach and Mandy live in Lexington and I was able to squeeze in a couple of days with them. At that time, Zach and Mandy were working on a screened in deck with Nick, Mandy’s dad. It was a neat project. I’m thankful that Nick was close and is an accomplished carpenter. Their work has been top shelf because of his expertise and time spent helping them know how to do what needed to be done in the best possible way.
For the last two mornings, we’ve spent nearly 10 hours total on that deck visiting, eating breakfast, having coffee, and playing games. Most of the time, however, was spent in conversation. Having escaped the blazing heat of west Texas, to be able to do anything outside in sub 80 degree heat was a welcome treat. To have meaningful and unhurried conversation with both of our children and our daughter-in-law has been a sweet touch of God’s refreshment. To have that kind of blessing in something that has been made by hand, by family for family, was an even sweeter grace.
This morning, however, was a holy moment — we were on holy ground, or in this case, holy decking. But to understand it, you need to know a little about our daughter-in-law, Mandy. Mandy came to Abilene Christian University to go to college for one simple reason: she felt called by God to attend there.
She was visiting a number of Christian universities at the time. She really didn’t know anyone at ACU. However, when she came on campus, she felt very strongly that the Lord was really calling her to attend ACU. Mandy and Zach met during welcome week. Our lives have never been the same since. The blessings she has brought to our son and to our family are too many to list. She is precious to all of us. We believe that the Lord did call her to attend ACU for Zach’s benefit, and our own!
So this morning, as Mandy and Zach talked about what they believe the Lord’s will is for the next stage of their lives, we listened with great interest. As Zach put it, “One of Mandy’s gifts is to be able to recognize where the Lord is leading us.”
It wasn’t that their announcement of the next stage of their journey is unimportant; it is, but that is our little family secret for awhile. However, for Donna and me, the wonderful thing was to sit on a backporch made by your grown children, enjoying their company, and having adult conversations about faith and the direction they want their lives to take. While I know that every parent should be proud of his or her children, there is an indescribable sweetness when they reach adulthood, have a burning faith of their own, and can articulate that faith and integrate it into their lifestyles.
Our daughter, Megan, not only turned 21 this summer, but she was also co-director of ACU Leadership Camps for the younger students. The challenges she faced didn’t grow her up, they just revealed the growth that had already occurred. We are incredibly proud of her and her accomplishments. We put off this trip to see Zach and Mandy so she could come with us.
Megan loves Zach and Mandy, and in many ways can talk to them with a lightness and freedom that even we can’t duplicate. So to have them all together, enjoying each other, and talking about the real faith governing their life-decisions was the ultimate blessing a parent can receive. I know their challenges are not over. But, I also have a real conviction that they know who they are and even more importantly, Whose they are. We are thankful to the Lord for loaning them to us for their raising. We are so thankful that we now get to enjoy them as more than children!
Yes, I did take my sandals off this morning as we sat at the table on the deck … and I took them off on purpose, though no one really noticed at the time except me and the Father, who whispered in my heart that this was holy ground. My heart pounded out a sweet “Amen!” as I enjoyed the moment, the laughter, and the faith that has become their own.
Zach and Mandy have recently gone to Colorado. They spent a week camping out in a tent and hiking for miles, often alone without other people in site, in the Colorado wilderness. Their pictures were beautiful and their adventures were quite fun to hear recounted. They realized the possible danger to hiking in such rugged wilderness alone. Their time, however, was a great blessing for them and without incident of any negative kind.
So, what do you think happened when they arrived home. Mandy went to the mailbox and was stung 5 times by wasps and hornets — okay, I don’t know the real name, but it was two different kinds of stinging critters, one of which was a yellow jacket and none of which were bees. So our day of shopping and eating out turned into a grand adventure at the doctors office. I guess the real test of a family is to see if you can enjoy yourself even while spending half a day in the doctor’s waiting room. We did, although I’m not sure the receptionist ever could figure out why there was such a large group of us there for some wasp stings.
We still managed a trip to several electronic stores — for Zach and myself — and the pottery place for Megan, Mandy, and Donna. And of course, we got a good lunch out of the deal. Growing up Cambellite meant that every disaster, minor or great, had to be met with food!
Despite it all, we had a really good day together. The irony of it all, however, is that once again that we were reminded that despite all the dangers in the world, the greatest joys and hurts are usually found close to home. Thank you God, for most in our family, we’ve had a much bigger number of those joys than hurts. My prayer is that this is true for our kids and, someday, their kids.
Until that day of “their kids,” we’ll enjoy the grandcats. That day is still a ways off, we learned, when they did a little blood work to make sure Mandy could receive treatment on her arm.
So, Southern Hills folks, you can still send Mandy and Zach that sermon where I mentioned grandkids! 8^)