Introduction: Montana Adventure
We recently took a family camping trip in Montana that was filled with majestic mountain views of Glacier National Park, breathtaking swims in (cold) mountain lakes, and inspiring star-filled skies framed by towering pines. We cooked our meals in tin foil over burning coals and enjoyed adventures together from sunrise to well into the night. We slept on the ground in tents that circled our campsite.
Sing For Joy
I personally love being outdoors! Worshiping God for His creation is as much second nature to me as worshiping God with music. I love the words of Psalm 95 that we sing in the Seeds song “Sing For Joy”:
“Come let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving, and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. In His hands are the depths of the earth and the mountain peaks belong to Him.” (NIV)
God’s creation speaks of who He is…His power, His beauty, His creativity, and His wildness illustrated in His untamed wilderness. He paints His awesomeness on the canvas of heaven and earth and we are in awe. There were moments last week when we would turn the corner on a hike or a drive through the woods and I would unconsciously say “wow” out loud. The chorus that rises up in my heart as a think about the beauty of the glacial valleys is:
“Our God is an awesome God. He reigns from heaven above. With wisdom, power, and love.Our God is an awesome God.”
Find Your Family’s Campfire
Our family loves the glow and the warmth of a campfire after the sun drops beneath the elevated horizon created by the mountain peaks. The conversations after dinner usually begin with jokes and stories from the day, but often turn to deeper questions and stories about our family history.
There was a specific conversation one night on our trip where my wife and I shared the story about our dating and engagement and some of the struggles we went through in that season of our lives. It seems like it is easier to have conversations like that around a campfire. Why is that? Well, it helped that our campsites were out of cell range so both the kids and parents weren’t distracted by phones, computers, or television. I also believe that spending extended periods of time together help create the space and trust necessary to allow the deeper things to come into the light.
You don’t have to go to REI or Costco and spend a bunch of money on camping gear and food to have this kind of connection and to facilitate these conversations, but I believe it is important for every family to “find their own campfire”.
How are you as a parent going to create spaces to share life and heart-level conversations with your younger children and teenagers? The Morlan family that is part of the Seeds Ministry team finds their campfire around the dinner table. They consistently eat together and love to enjoy different foods as a family (yes, they are foodies). Their mealtime conversations often will evolve into “campfire-like” sharing.
Here are 5 ways to create your own campfire:
- Commit to turning off media while sharing an activity or meal together.
- Look for opportunities to share stories about your family’s history.
- Ask questions and take time to listen to each other without interrupting.
- Ask one of the children/teens to share what God has been teaching them.
- Take your family to a park or lake, do an activity, and oh yeah, light a campfire!