School is out. Warm weather is here to stay. And I am more tan right now than I was all last summer. =) (By the way, isn’t my boy so cute up there flying that kite on the beach?!)
Our family has been enjoying the time off. Immediately after Jude wrapped up preschool, we set out for the beach. My dread of driving long hours with little ones was worse than the reality (thank the Lord!), as they slept well in the car & I only had to crawl in the backseat once to entertain them. Here they are asleep on the way home.
St. Augustine was just wonderful. This trip was probably our most enjoyable family vacation to date. We made sand castles, jumped waves, splashed in the pool, toured a really old lighthouse, fed alligators, tried to not fall off the fishing pier, fought pirates on a real pirate ship, ate popsicles, flew a kite and so. much. more. We even became sort of friends with some Spanish speaking roofers near our condo, especially after we brought them chips, salsa & guacamole one day during lunch. That was fun! As parents, Brent and I took so much pleasure in watching Jude enjoy it all. He had such a blast. Luke did, too. He just kept trying to eat the sand, so we had to keep a close eye on him! Here are a few beach and pool pictures.
Have you ever fed alligators? For a quarter, you could buy tiny little alligator snacks and toss them down to hungry alligators. Brent was especially excited about this since going to the alligator farm at St. Augustine was a childhood memory for him. Though a bit redneck, we had a blast nonetheless! =) Of course, by the time we took the bottom photo, both kids were hot and tired.
We also really enjoyed getting a closer look at the St. Augustine lighthouse, which has been around since 1874. And who doesn’t love looking out over the ocean on the fishing pier?
One of the things I love about being at the beach is just the time to sit, take in the beauty and breeze and be reminded that that big ocean did not make itself. We have a God who is Creator, who took pleasure in bringing to existence not only beautiful things, but functional as well.
Jude actually asked me one day during our vacation, “Mommy, why did God make the ocean?” And before I could even respond to him, my heart rejoiced a little because my guy is showing interest in learning about the God of the universe. And I get the privilege of teaching him. So, after my little inward rejoicing, I realized there are so many ways to answer this question. But since I am not a marine biologist & don’t know details about life under the sea (think Little Mermaid song here), my heart went straight to the grand ideas of God and the worship of Him.
I told Jude there were at least 3 reasons God made the ocean. (And keep in mind, I used much more kid-friendly language.)
1. To enjoy it.
Don’t ya love the Father’s heart? He is a good dad to us. If we ask for a piece of bread, He won’t give us a rock will He? I mean, we’re flawed people and we still give our kids good gifts, right? He is not flawed, so how will He not give good gifts to His children? (Check out Matthew 7:7-11 sometime). As we splashed in the waves and enjoyed the breeze, I kept thinking of the last phrase of 1 Timothy 6:17 “God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” Thank you, Father!
2. To cause our hearts to acknowledge a good Creator.
The Bible says that everything that was made on this earth is meant to point us to the reality of God’s existence. We really can’t look at the ocean or the mountains or a beautiful sunset and claim there is no God. The Bible in Romans 1:20 says that we have no excuse to not believe in God because nature itself proclaims Him. His name is Jesus, friends, and He is real.
3. To remind us how small we are.
The ocean is deep and wide and long. And full of all sorts of sea creatures that could swallow us up. We are not grand and majestic like the ocean. We are small. And though we humans can accomplish some great feats, we can’t boast in our power or grandness when we compare ourselves to a God who simply spoke that big ocean into existence. The ocean reminds us to be humble before our Creator, to remember our place. He is supreme, not us.
So how is your summer going so far? Has the change in schedule helped you seek God more? If not, I want to encourage you to find time for Him. One of my goals this summer is to become an early riser, which is ridiculously difficult for me! But reading my Bible in the morning before the kids wake up would be so worth it. Pray for me!