It's mid July and for us (and apparently MANY others) last week was vacation week. Ours was a special vacation - after many years of taking the children and making memories with them, life happens, kids grow up, get jobs, or become a teenager and don't want to come along anymore. So, sweet hubby and I took off on our own little vacation. Our first stop was to visit our oldest son and his wife. A few days were spent enjoying them and a trip on a local lake.
Leaving them, we traveled to a couple of places we had never been before. Of course, my favorite place on earth is the beach:
After a couple days there, we headed to Savannah, Georgia to tour the historic city. There was lots of walking down quaint streets, a riverboat cruise and romantic dinner with a view to the river.
Those are our Facebook worthy pics to share our fun time. But it seems after every vacation, I bring something home, a truth that will hopefully lodge deep in the heart and become something regular that makes life more meaningful. Usually it is something like learning to slow down and cherish each other and beautiful things like that!
This time the thought was to 'return grace'. To fully explain, let me take you to the 'other side of our vacation", the one that didn't make the Facebook posts or be displayed in pictures. I mentioned before of my love for the beach. What I failed to say was that my sweet hubby doesn't share that passion. Basking in the sun for hours, only interrupted by swims in the ocean followed by long walks on the beach just isn't his passion. While I see the magic of the beach atmosphere, he sees hot, muggy, sticky and sandy. But, being the trooper he is, sat along side of me, smiled, endured and let me enjoy my beach time.
As we ventured to the city of Savannah, it was absolutely beautiful. But...it was July and there was a lot of walking. The riverboat cruise was something I was looking forward to. Upon boarding the choice was given for the 3rd and 4th decks, the 4th being open air. Since we were early, we spent a few minutes in the 3rd deck, which was air conditioned. Upon my insistence that we MUST enjoy the cruise in the open air, we made our way up to the 4th deck. The sights were beautiful but again...it was HOT! Blazing sun, humidity and little breeze blowing drove many of our fellow cruisers back down to the lower, cooler deck. Asking sweet hubby if he wanted to go down, he said no and we remained on the top deck. He is such a good guy!
On the way home, we decided to rethink future summer vacations due to the heat. It was a wonderful time being together and we saw some beautiful sights. But the most cherished memory was of sweet hubby giving of himself so that I could enjoy myself. Even when what we did wasn't his favorite thing, he graciously went along for me. Romans 12:10 says..."Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;". That was what sweet hubby did on the trip, deferred his likes and gave honor to another.
My return home take away is to remember that example of selflessness. In day to day life, it is so easy to become irritated, annoyed and sometimes just plain grumpy! Giving honor to one another is not making yourself a doormat to be stepped on. It is the act of thinking of another's needs and desires beyond our own. It is kindness extended instead of a sharp response. Words of blessing, actions that speak love, looking at situations from another's perspective are ways to begin implementing honor. Recognizing grace received is worthy of grace returned. Even if our loved ones don't generate the spirit of grace to us, God does. He loved us from our beginning. God knew our hearts, where our shortcomings would be, how we would sin and break His heart...yet, He loved us, forgives us from our sin and daily loads us with His grace and compassion. His love is alive in our hearts and when we draw on it, can help us return grace.