An Update (from the Rocky Mountains)…

by jen erickson

For those of you who are wondering…

It’s been a good week so far. The boys and I have made some wonderful memories that will last, I’m sure. There have been a few difficult moments, but I think we’ve gone to bed each night amazed at how packed-full the day was with good things.

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to reflect on anything—maybe that won’t happen until I get back home. Truthfully, my heart still feels a tad heavy despite how well the week has gone. I long for more time to pray, more time to seek (and see) God. But I suppose there are several ways that happens in our lives—there are several means by which God molds our hearts. It’s not always a mountaintop experience. This week is not that for me. But it has been good. Your texts and emails have been encouraging (thank you)…I’ll respond to them eventually (I intend to, anyway).

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Our road trip out to Estes Park was fantastic. The boys did wonderful traveling and we took in a lot of sites near Rapid City, which included the Reptile Gardens, Alpine Slides, Mount Rushmore, as well as some pool time at the hotel.

Our final drive into camp became a little more difficult. We missed a couple of turns and then Aedan’s stomach couldn’t handle the winding roads. We stopped the car for a moment to give everyone some fresh air and Eli took that opportunity to convince Jo Isaac to put his hand on a cactus – so grandma had a handful of prickles to pull out. And at the same moment it started raining. So we entered into the camp a little later than expected and somewhat unsettled both physically and in our hearts.

And for whatever reason, that “unsettledness” lasted a while. Aedan had another bout with some altitude sickness (and home-sickness). Jo Isaac has carried with him an unusual amount of complaints, finding many things to whine about (interspersed with his usual delightfulness). I think it would be safe to say that Eli has been the most delighted by this trip. He was the one with his camera out all the time on our drive out. And he was ecstatic about Mount Rushmore. He just loved it – his reaction to that day was as one who had just accomplished something on their bucket list. We took a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park today and it was him whose eyes were glued to the scenery outside. His delight has most assuredly brought me delight this week.

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Aedan and I took in a session this morning together at the FLY Convention which was a really necessary experience for us, I think. It was a weighty topic, but the truth was shared so well. And though the session was intended for high-schoolers, both Aedan and I received much from it. And I want more moments like that with the boys. I love the conversations that come out of it. I love when our hearts are fed the truth in a way that we can process it together.

My sessions on Tuesday morning (Life in a Broken World: Casting Light on Discouragement & Despair) went well, although I’m not sure how to sum it up for you. But practically speaking, I was comfortable. In terms of how it was received by others, you’ll have to ask others. Again, my heart is still sludge-like to some extent, so I’m just doing what’s before me and trusting that God is working in it and through it (both for me and hopefully for others as well). I feel completely hands off on this one…and I’m okay with that. I’ll be presenting again tomorrow morning (twice), then I’ll be singing at the evening session as well as briefly joining in on a “talk-back” session the following morning. So I covet your prayers for tomorrow as well — it will be a full 24 (+) hours. Then we’ll have the rest of Friday to play and I’ll be heading home on Saturday (and the boys will be returning home on Sunday with Grandma and Grandpa). And speaking of Grandma and Grandpa, this trip would not have been possible (or nearly as delightful) without them. I love who they are. And I’ve really enjoyed spending this week with them.

I started reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot on our trip out here. It just so happened that so much of the first chapters of her book are almost exactly what I had already prepped to share in my session. At one point, I just laughed and put the book down because the scripture she quoted and the points she was making in her book were so similar. But this quote (along with everything else) resonated with me…so I’ll end with this:

“Many times in life God has asked me to wait when I wanted to move forward. He has kept me in the dark when I asked for light. I like to see progress. I like to see evidence that God is at least doing something. If the Shepherd leads us beside still waters when we were hoping for whitewater excitement, it is hard to believe anything vital is really taking place…The stillness is hard to bear –and God knows that. He knows our frame and remembers we are but dust. He is very patient with us when we are trying to be patient with Him…” (Elisabeth Elliot)

P.S. And we did receive a portion of the Lutheran Liturgy albums in time to bring out to the convention. I’ll get them up on Bandcamp next week…