For as long as I can remember I have been head-over-heels in love with summer.
All my vivid childhood memories are summer ones. Even now I can remember the taste of the blueberry ice cream I enjoyed while watching ocean sunsets and the fresh corn on the cob my grandmother would make for dinner. I can smell the pine trees that framed our Colorado camping spot and the pink calamine lotion that calmed my poison ivy rash.
One unforgettable summer we had a month-long road trip and we visited several national parks. Each day’s driving would end in a different KOA swimming pool before I would fill a scrapbook with ticket stubs and postcards.
As a teenager, there were hot July days spent floating down the creek behind our house, baseball games and endless attempts to tan freckly skin.
Becoming a parent only deepened my love affair. Maybe it is because I am not naturally a routine person, but I could hardly wait until my children were done with school for the year. I just loved the lazy days of August with pyjamas until lunchtime, trips to parks and pools, and backyard shenanigans until the light faded. No homework or school uniforms, just lemonade and flip-flops.
This year has been unusual for the UK with little or no rain for months. We have had weeks of humid, hot days that start before we wake up and end long after we have gone to bed. And I have loved every minute.
You see, my kids are all grown up and I am counting down to my daughter’s wedding in October. My husband has been facing the toughest work pressure of his entire career. The days are full, the emotions are high and the temptation to worry is relentless.
But there is something about summer, something about the sunshine and the long days that remind me that there is a remedy for mother-of-bride fretting.
The remedy is rest.
And really isn’t that why we love summer so much? Isn’t that why vacations are so often the highlight of our year and our sweetest memories often involve sand and swimming and bare feet?
It is because deep inside our hearts, we long for rest. Not a nap or a late morning start, but God’s rest. His rest is an inside-your-soul kind of summer where life feels carefree because daddy has got it all in His hands. It is permission to laugh and to play and to let go of what you can’t control.
It is an invitation to enjoy being a child of God every day, in every circumstance.
We were, of course, created for that kind of rest. Adam and Eve tasted it in the garden and they didn’t appreciate what they had until they lost it.
We know that one day we will enjoy again this God-given gift. And it won’t be a harp playing, floating-on-clouds rest. It will be an ‘it is finished’, death-swallowed-in-victory rest.
But what I so often forget is that this victory rest is actually available to me now, even as I sit in my garden writing wedding to-do lists and dreading my empty nest.
When life wears me out, when the future looks scary or when decisions overwhelm me, there is a place underneath God’s wings that is forever summer.
I will find that place today, put my toes in the sand and enjoy being His kid.