We love being outdoors and hiking, camping, biking, cross country skiing, or simply walking around our neighborhood. So it felt natural to bring our son along after he was born and to continue this plan as our children multiplied. Our oldest has been pulled down large hills in a ski pulk, our daughters were both toted in carriers to the top of Harney Peak in South Dakota. Our kids experienced seeing a bear walking down the trail toward us in the Smokey Mountains and, if that wasn’t scary enough, they got to hear a bear under the side of our little pop-up camper during the middle of the night at Rocky Mountain National Park. They’ve hiked beautiful trails, talked around campfires, been bribed using my hidden stash of candy to continue skiing or biking just a little longer, and fallen asleep exhausted after full days of being outdoors.
These memories are the best, and it’s so fun to look back at the adventures, both good and bad, and bond together as we relive them.
On April 1, we set off on our biggest adventure yet, following Jesus into full-time work with Chosen Gen. It took years of God’s moving and transforming to get us to this point, but here we are at the trailhead taking our first steps down the path, acknowledging that we know very little about what lies ahead of us. But, do you know what’s really exciting? Just as our kids came along on our outdoor expeditions, they are joining us on this spiritual adventure. What an incredible joy to be able to do this together as a family!
Before we would go on a camping trip as a family, we would do our best to prepare the kids. We would get them “trained” for the long hikes by taking them on neighborhood walks and slowly challenge ourselves to go further. We would also see if we could find information on the trail or park at the library or online to get them excited for what lay ahead. Lastly, and probably the kids favorite, we would make sure they had the right gear, which might be a $5 water bottle off Amazon or a pair of hiking shoes discovered at a rummage sale.
With this journey, it has been amazing to watch how God has been preparing their tender little hearts. He has used His Word to teach them about Himself - His love, His power, His heart for the lost. He has filled them with the Holy Spirit. No, not a (non-existent) child-sized Holy Spirit, but the same one given to all believers. He has encouraged them through the courageous lives of past Christians we’ve read about as a family. While God was preparing us, he was doing the same with our children.
As our children have grown, it has been fun and exciting to see how much they have learned along the way. Our sons love to help Justin pop up the camper. Our daughters know how to prepare our favorite campfire meals. They all know the rules around a fire. It is a real-life example of discipleship in action. We have discussed and shown them these lessons, and now they are naturally following in our steps.
On this Chosen Gen adventure, we feel blessed to get to show them the life that can only be found in following God. Honestly, it’s humbling and sobering to see how much they are watching. Already this week, our littlest put on his backpack and pretended he was going to be like Dad and ride his bike to work at the library. And our five year old setup his own desk next to ours.
Chosen Gen’s mission is to fight for the next generation and we do this by showing them the true life offered by God both now and for all eternity. As parents, we are discipling our kids every day whether we realize it or not. What are they learning from us? Let’s share how awesome God is and how much he loves them. Let’s equip them with God’s Word. Let’s let them know that he has a plan and purpose for each of them.
As parents, let’s not miss this awesome responsibility by spending our time as a family just getting by or chasing after the things this world says matters. No, let’s stop and dive into God’s Word. Let’s ask God to draw us closer to Him and help us to live as new creations. Let’s pray that He would direct our lives and give us the willingness to follow Him.
Thanks for following along with our family. God’s blessings on the adventure He has your family on!