We traveled to New Orleans for spring break this year. We hadn’t been on a family trip since the world shut down due to Covid after our last spring break. I found there were some things I’d forgotten about family trips. We have a tendency to become hangry, so we need to find food for our people before they get upset, which is made harder because one child is a picky eater. We constantly have to tell one child to stop looking at the phone when we are walking, and we do a lot of walking on vacation. Inevitably, one child will complain that the trip is completely centered around another child. Then, that child will accuse the first child of ruining the trip for everyone. Some other things I forgot about family trips are more positive. The kids are really great at car rides – they are efficient and quick when we stop at gas stations or restaurants. We have some really good and in-depth conversations because we don’t have all of the activities and distractions of home. And I remembered that given the time and opportunity, we can all bounce back from a tough situation.
We had reservations for the World War II museum on Friday morning and needed to be there at a certain time. But we experienced a few snafus regarding breakfast. I thought we could have breakfast at a café that turned out to be closed due to Covid. Then, we had to backtrack and walk a lot farther to find something to eat. When we arrived at the new breakfast place, it was not open yet. Finally, we ate and headed back to the museum, but everyone was still cranky and hot and slightly irritated about rushing to arrive on time. After a sibling teased eight-year-old Alex, he’d had it. He was steaming mad and wanted to go back to the hotel. But then, we arrived at the museum, and his siblings (after a stern talking to from us) started better including Alex as we toured the museum. Alex got caught up in the story and enjoyed seeing the artifacts from the war. He rebounded and enjoyed the rest of the day. He just needed some time and space to make a comeback.
God gives us the opportunity to make comebacks over and over. Sometimes we make mistakes and at other times, we know the right thing to do but do the opposite anyway. We disregard the needs or feelings of others and instead focus solely on ourselves. We are human, and we mess up again and again. But God is in the business of redemption. While we must still deal with the earthly consequences that result from our actions, God forgives us and guides us back to him every single time.
We often feel unworthy and irrelevant, so we have difficulty believing, trusting, and accepting God’s unceasing grace. But the Bible says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that’s what we are!” (1 John 3:1). God loves us and extends the chance for recovery to us. God always wants to restore us to him and to ourselves. Thanks be to God.