Think back to the most memorable summers in your lifetime. What is the one experience that truly stands out? Perhaps it was one of those rare moments when you had the luxury of sitting on your grandmother’s porch swing, sipping ice cold lemonade and indulging in her famous double chocolate chip cookies. Or maybe it was when you had the chance to go fishing with your dad, enjoying his undivided attention. Your most memorable summer may even be the very first time you were blessed with the opportunity to take your own children to Walt Disney World. Whatever your summer memories, I am sure there are times when summer was the best season of the year. And there are likely times when summer was the most difficult season to muddle through. This summer, focus on the dreams that God has for your life. Surround yourself with summer joys.
When I was a little girl, I fondly recall the times when I would have the privilege of riding with my Papa Joe and Grandma Ethel in their blue and white pick-up truck. On the way to town, Papa Joe and I would sing the song, “In the Good ‘Ole Summertime,” at the top of our lungs. There was nothing like sitting in the cab of that pick-up, feeling the breeze on my face with the window rolled down, and feeling the warmth of the sunlight as we drove down the little country road. Since then, the truck has been sold and Papa Joe and Grandma Ethel have gone on to be with the Lord. Still, the memories will be with me forever and I am thankful for these summer memories.
Other summer joys I clearly recall are the times my mom, dad, and I were able to spend with my Grandma Lucille and Papa Sig at their condominium in Fort Myers. Whether combing the beach for seashells, building a giant sandcastle, or swimming in the Gulf waters, we always had such wonderful family time together. I first learned to swim in the condo’s pool. And I will always remember the last day of each visit, when we would have to each eat an ice cream bar, a glass of orange juice, a handful of fruit, and countless other things, due to the fact that we had all stocked up way too many groceries for our stay there. Since then, the condo has been purchased by someone else and Papa Sig has gone on to be with the Lord. Many things change from year to year, but I am happy that I can hang on to these memorable moments.
All of my life, my parents and I have always enjoyed a summer vacation (or more than one!). We have so many memories, as well as thousands of photographs documenting each and every moment. Whether we were visiting relatives in Virginia, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains, or sailing the Caribbean waters on a cruise, we always enjoyed spending time with each other. Even now, my dad and I enjoy traveling during the summer. We find summer joys on land and on the sea, and even in the air. Still, summers are not quite the same without my mom here with us. Yet, I am thankful for the summer joys that God continues to give us, as well as the fond memories we have of summers past.
Although I am grateful for the summer blessings that God has bestowed upon me, I cannot help but think about the absence of my mom. In particular, the month of August is especially difficult for me. And our camper in North Carolina is not what it used to be. You see, my mom passed away unexpectedly in our camper, while we were on vacation on August 2, 2008. I have prayed and searched the pages of God’s Word for peace concerning this date and location, yet there are still moments when I do not have complete focus on August 2. And there are times when I cannot bring myself to sit on the sofa in our camper. Even so, I know that God has given me victory over these things. He wants me to enjoy life, no matter what day it is and no matter where I am. He loves me unconditionally. He wants me to live a life full of joy.
What about you? Are there summers that you look back on with pleasure or disappointment? Or are there summers when something caused you to lose sight of the good things and solely focus on the bad? Maybe there is a particular location or a certain date that you find difficult, even though it previously brought you joy. John 16:24 (NIV) says, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Don’t let the sorrowful summers get you down. Ask Jesus to help you overcome these difficult memories and enjoy making new ones. Spend time with your family and friends. Cherish each and every moment this summer. Let go of the summer sorrows. Let Jesus surround you with summer joys.
In Christ’s Love,