We just returned from a fantastic 5-day getaway where we spent all day everyday doing nothing but swimming in crystal clear warm Indian Ocean and playing in gorgeous white sand. We ate delicious meals that I didn't have to prepare (a big plus when you holiday). We shared this time with my mother-in-law, during her second month-long stay in Madagascar since we moved here in 2012. March this year has been a memory-making month. :)
Our family has never put huge emphasis on vacations or holidays. Not because we don't like holidays, but because it costs money and time. Both of which we had previously spent on renovating our house during the first 6 years of our marriage, or even more recently, improving the current house we live in. Really, this is our 3rd official big getaway as a family in 10 years of marriage... and we enjoyed it! We were reminded once again, how special it is to get out of our normal environment and enjoy each other without the responsibilities of home.
I was also reminded that just because we're on holiday it doesn't mean that job stress, attitudes, and difficulties in life are eliminated.
Don't get me wrong, this particular holiday was probably the most relaxing one I've ever been on, even with our four children 7 years old and under. But sibling rivalry and sulking when selfish desires weren't met were still our reality. It didn't, by any means, ruin our holiday, but it kept things real. :) It showed me that we can be in a surreal and beautiful place, but sin is still there (in all of our hearts of course, not just the children's).
Our holiday environment can be great and fun and relaxing--we can be removed from our current stresses "real" life has, but then, of course, all fun and relaxing holidays must end, and we return and face those things we wished to leave behind for a time.
Relaxing refreshing times are needed. They really are. And I don't want minimize their importance. But true refreshing and strengthening comes from Christ. The peace and strength He gives to us when we are trusting in Him can't compare to any holiday or vacation that we would desire to experience. That is all temporal. The highs of holidays pass away, yet I think I am rightfully anticipating many more wonderful family holidays away in our future. But I don't want us to be living from holiday to holiday, pining after new experiences in unexplored places. And tricking ourselves by thinking those "if only..." statements--how we are deceived into thinking we would just be happier, or life would be easier somehow if only we were (you fill in the blank).