I’d never been to Hawaii. Joey’s family had invited me twice while we were dating and I passed up both experiences. But Joey was obsessed and I was jealous! I wanted to experience Maui with him. So this year as we came up on our 5th wedding anniversary we decided to plan a trip to Maui. We were gonna leave on March 18th and drop our babies off with my parents in Arizona.
But as the trip got closer and closer I felt so unsettled. Shiloh was still so young and nursing and I wasn’t quite ready to give up our time together. So I came to Joey in the beginning of November, voicing my fears and my desires, and asked him what he thought about postponing until 2024. He’s a gem and, though he was disappointed, he understood and was on board.
No more than two weeks later I received an Instagram DM from an almost stranger on Instagram. I’d formed a friendship with her over both having first born boys named Judah. Mine, a little mountain dude and her’s, a beach babe. Her message started with, “This may sound bonkers but…” and she went on to offer her home on Maui to us for eight days while her family was on vacation themselves. The date? One month earlier than we had planned and an opportunity to celebrate both my birthday and Shiloh’s first birthday on Maui.
Isn’t that just God? So intimately loving us, listening to the desires we have and then going above and beyond on the delivery? It took Joey about 2 days to believe this was actually the best idea ever and soon we were planning our vacation with our babies, now only three months away.
I got teary as our plane landed on the island under a bright, full rainbow – a promise from God. And instantly we had to joke.. Does God live on Maui?!
We had the most precious vacation. So many sweet memories and moments I’ve been dreaming of. Drinking out of a coconut on the Road to Hana. Sitting at a luau overlooking the ocean. Humpback whales breaching in every direction. Building a sandcastle with Judah as a sea turtle sunbathed 20 feet away. Our Shi girly in a tulle dress, snapping photos as she turned one on the beach.
Our experiences were unreal but what has left a lasting impression is the way the Lord used the trip to spark new growth in our family. With our feet planted back in the Rockies we had a renewed vision for how we wanted to live our life.
Seeing the Lord provide and bless not only us but strangers around us through our trip was unbelievable. There is no surprise that God is constantly working miracles, big and small, but to get a front row seat to how intimate those miracles are to each of his children strengthened my faith. A chance to look up and realize that miracles are all around if we only carefully watch. And when we share what we find with others it only leads to uncovering more!
My postpartum healing journey has been much more mentally taxing with Shiloh than it was with Judah. What I’m learning is that unprocessed emotional and physical stress from Judah’s birth has shown up in my life in this past year. God graciously brought it to my attention on our vacation. As I was resting and refueling with my family he was pointing my heart and mind in the direction it needed to be for the weeks following. The past month has been trying but the Lord prepared me well for it. My entire family is on a new path, seeking health and for the first time I am leading the charge. I can’t believe his goodness!
We racked up 40 hours outside in 7 days on Maui. We walked, hiked, swam, snorkeled, played in waves, ate meals in the sunshine and so much more. We found ourselves daydreaming about how beautiful the island is and how easy it is to move your body and be outside when the weather is perfect and you live at the beach. And then we realized we live in the stinking Rocky Mountains! The same ones that millions of people travel to each year to enjoy. The same people who are probably leaving saying, “300 days of sunshine a year?! In these beautiful mountains?! Can you imagine how much time we would spend outside?!” So we feel excited to continue exploring our home state. We are signing Judah up for snowboarding lessons next winter so we don’t have the excuse of the winters to keep us away from the mountains anymore!
Finally, as we stepped back into our home, contentment spread over me. Every inch of me loves the life we’ve created and the home we have built. I love our neighborhood, our church, our home, our community, my day to day grind, Joey’s career and so much more. And as fun and flashy as a vacation on Maui is the simplicity of my life right where I am is priceless. The rhythms that make up my life have me content and at peace right where we are.
So yes. God is so evidently at work on Maui. But his fingerprints are visible all over my mundane, too.