We are pretty disciplined to a budget. Those pay days roll around and we divvy up; categories like tithes, missions, savings, vacation, Christmas, oh and of course, the ever revolving bills. Every penny is accounted for and assigned. So when my husband suggested going on a trip for our 15th anniversary, my response was “Oh that would be so wonderful, but babe, we haven’t saved for it.” Vacation? Yes, that’s in the fund. But vacation includes the family; those precious people who are only under our roof for a limited number of years. Anniversary trip? No, not a single red cent put back. As the months went by and my husband periodically suggested it, I’d keep to the budget, saying how I’d love to go but we just didn’t have it, until one evening when my husband expressed his feelings quite clearly. He said, “If we were deciding to end our marriage we wouldn’t count how much money we had in savings first, so why can we not take some to do something for our marriage?” The guy knows how to make a point. He continued with statistics that the average marriage lasts seven years, so he felt we should take three trips. Ha. Ha. But one nice trip would suffice for the milestone.
See, for me, it’s justifiable doing that for a medical treatment of an unexpected illness or to replace household equipment for an unexpected breakdown, but just to spend on a trip? I mean, who does that? Well, evidently we do because it is our belief that if we invest our money wisely the Lord will provide for all of our needs and sometimes our marriages need a little money invested.
So there we went doing something we never do; tipping our hats to spontaneity, pulling from our general fund and booking an all-inclusive trip to St Lucia at the beautiful adults only Sandals La Toc resort.
Our motive for such a trip was to be excluded together and focus solely on one another. But with our quickly approaching trip, we began to consider the available excursions. There was so much to do; the spa, golf, snorkeling, a bike ride to the waterfalls, tours of the rainforest and mud baths, zip line activities, horse back riding, or hiking the infamous Pitons. We just didn’t know what all we might want to do. The need to see it all arises considering the cost and distance traveled. Make the most of the opportunity. So we packed for it all. Just in case.
We arrived in St. Lucia at 1:50pm Friday June 13th. Our luggage arrived to our room at 5:15pm on Sunday June 15th. For the interim we didn’t have undergarments, dinner clothes, hair products or the most important for a trip to the beach, our swimsuits. Needless to say the experience has educated us on the importance of packing a carry on, and although we’ve traveled numerous times before without this inconvenience, we have definitely learned and will travel differently from now on. Our resort was ever so hospitable in trying to accommodate our needs for a problem in which they held no responsibility. As frustrating and disappointing, as it was to be there without our things, it was an opportunity to see the generosity and kindness of the beautiful natives illustrated to us.
In our prayer time together, we asked the Lord to help us focus on the reason we came…. to spend time together. And when our luggage did arrive, the contents portrayed our plans for the possibilities. However, most of it we never even used.
Doesn’t this sound familiar? When we say our vows we have many plans in store. We have packed up a lifetime of dreams in our hearts. When we say, “I do” we unite those dreams; those goals; those plans with the person whom our soul loves (Song of Solomon 3:4).
But wow! Let’s just say that sometimes, that luggage doesn’t arrive. Well, maybe it does, but with a few more pieces.
You see, when we set out to start our life with our spouse, we’ve packed for many possibilities; the possibility of a home, of children, of goals achieved, of education and careers. But do we pack for the possibility of sin, of disappointment, of betrayal, sickness, or failure? I don’t know that many of us do. I can tell you, I didn’t. I knew we’d have bumps along the way, but I never imagined anything too terribly catastrophic. I certainly didn’t foresee financial decline, the loss of a pregnancy, or the bitter insecurity of mistrust to creep into our relationship. Those were definitely issues I had not packed for.
But guess who did? My Heavenly Father. Out of His abundance came His provision, His comfort and His forgiveness. The suitcase that carried our darkest moments also carries our greatest testimony. My husband is far from perfect. And he married someone just the same. That’s an eye opener right there. Because although we know our spouse isn’t perfect, we don’t really make allowances for their sin, and by nature that’s what we all are, sinners. Thankfully Someone did take that into consideration. The Word tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, His grace is sufficient and that His power is made perfect in weakness. Exactly the reason we need the Lord as the foundation of our relationship.
I’m so grateful we haven’t given up in those times we were tempted to give up. Because I can’t imagine forfeiting all the goodness the Lord had in store. I’m reminded of our instruction to press on in Philippians 3:12 and furthermore, to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead in verse 13. The years truly do get better and better. I can’t imagine loving him more, but I know will. Love is the byproduct of a life invested together.
We went to St. Lucia and we didn’t golf, we didn’t snorkel, we didn’t bike ride to the waterfalls or tour the rainforest and mud baths, we didn’t zip line, horse back ride, or hike the Pitons. We did sit on the beach. We did sink our toes in the sand. We did listen to the waves roll in. We walked and reminisced; we planned and reflected. We held one another. We had no interruptions, no obligations, no schedule. We had each other…. for an entire week. And I can’t think of a better return on investment or a bigger bang for our buck.
*** special thanks to Terry, Victor and Tracy at Sandals La Toc along with other staff like Travis & Valentine the photographers, Rufina our server for the candlelight dinner, SueAnn in housekeeping, and Kevin from food & beverage-- each one contributed to the special time we were able to spend.
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