I promise, I will stop posting about California after this. (Until our next trip…) But, I did save the best for last.
On our last day, we enjoyed soaking up the beaches around where we were staying in Dana Point. We didn’t really make plans to see anything in particular. We knew on the last day we would want some time to just soak up the things we loved. After lunch in Laguna, we drove up the coast a ways to Newport Beach to enjoy the scenic drive and let Cove sleep. On our way back, Ian told me he had a surprise for when we got back. A few months before our trip, I had mentioned how I wanted to dedicate Cove on the beach at some point.
A little after Cove was born, we dedicated him formally at our church in front of friends and family, but I still wanted just the three of us to do something special together. Ian, being the gem of a husband and father he is, had remembered me mentioning it and surprised me by taking us to one of our favorite beaches, and reading and praying over our family and Cove. My heart could’ve burst from the joy I had as I watched Ian lead our family and Cove play in the sand. Just as we finished praying, the sun started to set and we sat there, mostly in silence, and soaked every second in.
There is something about watching a sunset that makes me realize that no matter what the day might have held, things are going to be alright. Now, really think about this with me. I know we all think sunsets are gorgeous. No one can deny that. But when you are watching it, doesn’t bring you to terms that there is peace beyond you and your situations. Just like a rainbow at the end of a storm, a sunset is like a promise at the end of the day that things are going to end beautifully. John Piper shared this during his sermon on the goal of God loving us:
“No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem. Why do we go? Because there is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self.”
I can’t help but find joy in this. Joy that it’s not about me. Joy that God wants me to experience freedom and joy through His works. More specifically, as we were sitting there that day, God wanted to remind me that raising my son was not about me or Ian. We are mere vessels. Just like the sun was a vessel that day to create so much beauty. It couldn’t have created such a gorgeous display if it wasn’t for God’s handiwork and intricate design in the universe. As parents, I think it’s subconsciously easy to focus on ourselves as we raise our children. Please don’t get me wrong when I say what we are doing is so important, but we are just a piece of the bigger picture. And just like the sun was literally removing itself from our vision to reveal the beauty of the sunset, we should remember that it’s more about God’s glory than it is our own. We do the best we can, we stay grounded in the truth and God’s word, we pray without ceasing and then we leave the rest to God. This is not just for parents, it’s for anyone on any journey.
So cheers to watching more sunsets, forgetting ourselves and seeing the beauty of it all unravel.
(If you are interested in the message from John Piper, you can read more here.)