Big Canyon Ranch HS Retreat: A mama's perspective
From the cries in the night to the rocking at dawn, you never truly know how quickly it all goes. Everyone warned me and told me to, “stay in the moment.” Lord knows I try to stay in the moment. But things want my attention, weigh for my time, and desire me to be torn from the moments that I so want to cherish. As a mom of a large age span of children, I feel like this is my constant resolution: be present, be in this moment, hold fast to this memory.
I had a few days like this recently that I want to hide away in my heart, cling to, and treasure. I was able to go to Big Canyon Ranch with the high school and with the theme of “Wholehearted Living,” I knew it would tie in nicely to all the Lord had been showing me personally. He’s really good at getting our attention! I found myself desperately longing to be back at his first baseball game or cuddling during a thunderstorm. I caught myself watching years unfold as my son led activities and small groups and lamenting the years that I feel got stolen. But the Lord showed me over those days that all the things I didn’t feel fully present for or that I wish the details weren’t as faint about that He was ever-present and remembers every detail and word spoken. That although I lacked that He never did. That each day He was fine-tuning the amazing young man standing before me. He faithfully had my five kids all of their days. He established each of their steps (whether I remember each of those steps or not).
He washed me with His grace as I entered into a knowing that He’s used ICS, this community, these friends, mentors, and teachers to come alongside him. This was how the retreat theme, “wholehearted living,” landed in me: to surround ourselves with those who can strengthen, sharpen, and encourage us along the journey. I’m incredibly thankful for how God has used the tools he has in my son’s life and I’m forever thankful for the God we serve who shows up in our kids' daily lives in times and moments that we could never orchestrate or recreate.
So be present and when you’re not, trust the one who always is.
Nicole Stoddard, ICS Administrative Assistant, HS small group leader, and HS mama