• Baptist Children's Homes

Children learn from summertime's many experiences

Updated: Jun 30


For the most part, I have always enjoyed learning/experiencing new things. However, I will have to admit sometimes those new lessons were a bit scary. I would enter these opportunities a little apprehensive, especially if it involved water. Swimming, water skiing, scuba diving (which I tried only once and decided snorkeling was more in my comfort zone) and jet skiing all fell in that category.


As a part of my recent journey, after the passing of my husband, I was preparing to sell our house, which meant purging lots of things. I went through many boxes of mementos and pictures holding lots of memoires. With some of the memories came tears. Some of the memories brought laughter. There it was, a memento of the day we decided to try jet skiing. I chuckled, as I remembered the day.


Oops! There I go in the water again. On what must have been the busiest water sport day in the year, my husband convinced me to try jet skiing. And, of course, we did not take time to read the directions. Not being very mechanically inclined, and as mentioned before, a bit afraid of the water – I entered into this endeavor thinking it was not the sport for me. After falling in again before even starting this contraption, I was not looking forward to this day of “fun.”


Off I went. Not smart. I was just out of sight of the dock when the engine quit. My husband was still at the dock trying to get the other jet ski started while I began drifting helplessly down the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway. My mind said you are too old to be doing this!


Oh, well I told myself, it could be worse. I at least could see land. As people flew by me I shouted and frantically waved my hands for help. Eventually, some kind soul took pity on me (and I did look pitiful!) and towed me back to the dock where my problems were quickly fixed. But the other jet ski refused to start. For about an hour, I rode in circles in front of the dock waiting. Finally, the other jet ski started, and almost two hours after arriving at the dock, we were underway. So far, I was right, it was not fun!


Slowly I made my way down the waterway as my husband and others taunted me to speed up. Three teenage boys yelled “granny” as they zipped passed me at what seemed like warp speed. I laughed with them and kept on moving down the waterway.


But then, I began to get a feel for how this contraption worked. It was a beautiful day and my ability to zip in and out and around other boats, safely of course, was enjoyable. By the end of the day my words had changed from I am not ever going to let you talk me into doing something like this again, to “Wow this is great fun!”


Many times, life lessons come to us in unexpected ways. Once again, John had challenged me to get beyond my fears and try something out of my comfort zone, which always equaled lessons learned. How many times would my faith have benefitted from the simple truths that I experienced in my jet ski debut? I learned:

  • Anticipate difficulties.

  • Don’t get discouraged when you “fall in.”

  • When in doubt read the directions.

  • Age is a number.

  • If you feel like you are going around in circles, learn something while making the rounds.

  • Never underestimate the goodness of others when you are in need.

  • Savor the moments and the memories

  • And, one very important truth, I am not alone. God is on this often challenging, sometimes messy and difficult, often out of my comfort zone, journey ride with me. And while challenging, I can say, WOW what a ride! WOW, what Joy!

Learning life’s lessons, something new is challenging and difficult. I am reminded of the prophet’s fearful question as the people of Israel were carried into captivity. “Can we sing the Lord’s song in a new land?”


This summer, our children will have many opportunities to make wonderful glorious memories. They will be challenged to go beyond their fears and tragic circumstances of abuse, neglect, crisis, and abandonment that has left them feeling helpless and powerless over their lives. Many of our children are embarking into a new realm of experiences and will learn many new life lessons. Some will see parts of God’s creation for the first time as they visit the beach. For many, it will be the first time they have had a caring adult encouraging them and creating a safe refuge for them to have these wonderful experiences. For most it will be the first time they will hear the Gospel of God’s amazing love and grace. It is my prayer that each of these children will one day be able to say I am not alone. God is on this often challenging, sometimes messy and difficult, often out of my comfort zone, journey with me. WOW what a ride! WOW what Joy!


The Lord replied to the prophet’s question, “Behold I am doing a new thing.” Let it be so in the lives of those God entrusts to us to care for each day and in your life.


Thank you for being a part of their faith journey to freedom. For more information on how you can help provide special experiences, memories and life lessons for their faith journey call me @336-689-4442 or email bbgray@bchfamily.org.


This month we join you in celebrating our Independence/Freedom and are grateful to our forefathers who had the vision and fought for our freedom. Celebrate!


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