Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lessons in Retreat

As a lot of people who work in ministry do, we live our lives in semesters.  In our house the Spring semester is our hardest time of the year.  Zach is insanely busy at work which means most days the only time he sees our kids is after they are already asleep.  Having lived this life for a while we realized that we need time, in the midst of the chaos, to retreat together as family.   It was a year ago that we booked our weekend away and I had been counting the days.

Last Thursday we loaded up the car, checked Zoe out of school and headed up to Sacramento, NM for a couple of days of fun with the family and (per doctor's orders) some rest and relaxation.  I can proudly say that our agenda was met, with a little help from our Father.  He sent some glorious rain on Friday which kept this accident prone pregnant lady indoors and out of harms way.

Enjoying the beautiful weather.
One thing we did do, before the rain began, was take the kids up on a little hike to a place called Serenity Peak.  We took our time heading up and once we got to the top, we just sat on the benches and chatted for a while.  It was so serene (see what I did there?), for a brief moment.

Serenity Peak with the family.

My darling daughter of five years was always such a sweet thing.  We never had to really deal with the terrible toddler years with her, just some stubbornness.  It seems she was storing up all of her past tantrums to unleash on us once she started school.  While she is close to perfection at school, when she comes home its battle royale time at Bechtold Manor.  She chose a moment, coming down from Serenity Peak, to express this, and boy, did she express.

It started with a stumble, which lead to her standing there screaming like she was seriously maimed and refusing to take one step further.  We calmly (at first) told her that she must calm down, her injury was not serious, and she could, in spite of her proclamation that she could never move again, make it down the mountain.  We would take a few steps, turn wait for her, and she would scream bloody murder and take one measly little step.  This continued for a while, even after her announcement that she had to potty "so bad" which, regardless of what a sane person might think, did not result in her choosing to suck it up and start walking.  Finally, when mommy and daddy were close to their breaking point, little brother stepped up to save the day.

Little sweet, almost three year old Noah, looked up the hill at his big sister, screaming like a banshee, and calmly proclaimed, "I'll go get her."  He trucked himself up there, gave his sister a comforting hug, took her by the hand and lead her down the hill to us.  It was the sweetest sight and it humbled me.

As parents Zach and I try to teach our children to have strength, to make wise choices, and to be good examples for others.  Sometimes, in the midst of these lessons we forget that we also need to teach them compassion for others, especially those who may not be receiving compassion from anyone else.

I've previously blogged about how I know I have a weakness when it comes to showing others compassion, as well as allowing myself to receive it from others.  My husband preached a sermon on Sunday, which I didn't get to hear much of (pesky kids :) ) but in which he spoke about how important it is that we always show love to others and allow them to show love to us in return.  It's about humbling ourselves.

Our time in the mountains was indeed refreshing, allowing us to connect again as a family and to rest our bodies, but, as usual, I came away from this time of no distractions, learning a lesson from my little ones.

May you also find time to refresh, rejoice, and perhaps, learn something...