“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Well. I would have lost that jeopardy question. Did you know that you can go farther south than New Orleans in Louisiana? I truly would have argued the point that there were no cities south of there. But oh how wrong I was! The things you learn when you get out and explore this beautiful country that we live in. Stuff like don’t pull off to the side of the road in bayou country as alligators bigger than your monster truck are looking at you from the water. (yes I was scared out of my mind)
We left the sunny shores of Florida to come spend some time with sweetheart while he is working a job in Morgan City, LA. There is an absolutely gorgeous campground here called Lake End Park. The spanish moss covered cypress trees are alive with huge red fox squirrels and black squirrels who will come right up to you begging for a snack. Unfortunately there are also giant prehistoric size mosquitoes that drive you inside as soon as the sun goes down.
It is a busy vacation spot, full of families enjoying time together. I am struck by the simplicity of life in a campground. Children still play chase, hide and seek, cowboys and Indians when not riding bicycles down the tree lined paths. Today I watched a group of children having a contest to see who could roll down a hill the fastest. There is even an old style horse ride on the playground which sweet baby Lyric absolutely loves.
The evenings are filled with the smell of campfire smoke, music from dozens of radios melding together into a nighttime symphony. Chairs are pulled up around the fire as laughter over the day’s events along with discussions of today’s football game mingles in the air. There is little more important in the south than football, both college and pro teams. The Alabama University sticker on my truck has drawn more than one friendly (or not) comment.
As the girls and I walked the one mile trail this morning, there were plenty of smiles and waves from other campers. It made me wonder if they are that friendly when they are at home. I must admit that I am not nearly as quick to greet a stranger on the street at home. I can sit in the play area at the mall at home for an hour, never saying a word to the dozens of other women sitting alone, watching their children. But let me go to a campground and I am all about talking to the people around me.
How often do I do the same thing with my family? The people who are the closest to me are often the recipient of the least amount of my smiles. I will spend hours planning for and executing a ministry event, leaving my family with a frozen meal and a list of chores to do that I didn’t get around to. I will smile and wave to everyone I know (and don’t know) on my way into church right after I growled at my sweetheart on the way in from the parking lot or ignored a call from a child in need.
I am called as a wife first, a parent second, and a friend third. If I do not greet my sweetheart with a smile each morning, then I have wasted every smile I give to a stranger for the rest of the day. If I do not sit with a child who needs me, no matter how crazy their need is, then I have wasted every moment I give to a stranger. It is hard to smile and wave at the people who are closest to you but they are the ones who matter more than any stranger on the street.
Dearest Father God, Thank You once again for showing me Your Works in a simple setting. Thank You for the ability to hear the still small voice that You have placed within my heart. Let me remember that those closest to me are the ones who need me the most. All that I do for stranger’s means nothing if my family only sees the back of my head as I go out the door. I pray for more wisdom to know when I am doing too much. Remind me that it is my choice to be too busy. I can say no. The world will keep moving if I choose to step off the merry go round. I pray that I will smile more and frown less. In the name of Your Beloved Son, Christ Jesus, Amen