A couple weeks ago for Thanksgiving (whether in my right mind or not, I do not know) my wife and I loaded up our Town and Country minivan and embarked on a 1,700 mile round trip to Chattanooga, TN to visit family. The drive alone with the rain and sleet early in the week was enough to send you to an early grave, but let me inform you that we also have a 13 year-old teenage daughter and two boys ages 3 and 2. Needless to say, this pastor did not make it the whole trip (or even to Arkansas) without losing his Christ-likeness more than once; there’s something about spending 14 hours in a car that can bring out the worst in us.
As I reflect on our trip, immediately the memories of struggle pop up in my mind. Me trying to take a shortcut around bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Interstate and almost getting stranded on a dirt road in the backwoods of Arkansas is just one example. Or I could mention spending thirty minutes driving around Jackson, TN trying to find a McDonald’s with a playground because stopping for food is not enough with small children, as I’m sure some of you parents can relate.
Although when thinking about this trip thoughts of hardship come to my mind I quickly conclude that I wouldn’t trade any of the struggles we had for the opportunity to make memories with my family, and to enjoy the life God has given me. Sure the kids nearly drove me to insanity. They do that at home. Of course, the car ride wore on my body; this body is wearing out quicker than I can imagine anyways. But, being together made the journey worth it, and there were countless wonderful memories we made.
In your journey of life you are going to face adversity whether you make adventurous decisions or “stay at home” and place it safe. So regardless of your life approach, I want to challenge you share it with a family that loves you. If you can, share it with the family that God gave you. Whether or not that is possible we can all share in the journey of life with a church family that is genuine and true. There are loving churches in this community that want to encourage you and travel together with you on spiritual adventures. I pray you appreciate the church family you have or be encouraged today to know that there are many churches in this community waiting to welcome you with open arms as a gracious, loving family.