Last fall, Janet and I took Kristin and her boys to Gatlinburg for a short trip before I had to be in Knoxville to teach a class. Tonight, I am sitting in the same hotel in Knoxville, only Janet, Kristin and the boys aren’t with me. Being on the road alone can be something of a lonely experience. In the scheme of things, I spend quite a few nights on the road and I never really get used to it. I suppose that is a good thing – the family knows that I like to be around them; and with Janet most of all.
Gatlinburg is about an hour south of here and it’s all I can do to not get in the car and head down for the evening. For some strange reason, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville all hold special memories for me. Mom and Dad told me that they actually spent their honeymoon in Gatlinburg, way back in April, 1948. When my brother Doug and I first made the trip to this region, when we were small boys before Ken, our youngest brother was even born, we stayed at a little place that really wasn’t much to write home about.
When Kristin and Jill were very young, and Andrew was a baby, we returned to Gatlinburg and rented cabins for several nights. It was from the front porch of one of the cabins that Kristin actually caught her first trout in the Roaring Fork River. Somewhere I still have the picture in our mementos. When we were in town last fall, I actually found the house that we rented and drove Janet, Kristin and the boys past it. Boy, did it bring back memories! It was even for sale and for a fleeting moment, I thought about calling the realtor to get details, but I just don’t think the family cared that much about a place in Gatlinburg.
But the boys sure loved our time together. We went to Dollywood, which wasn’t there years ago and I couldn’t help but notice how much the areas has changed. Of course, we make it a habit to visit every Orvis store we come across and the family’s favorite restaurant chain is Fuddrucker’s, which is also in the area. So, for the boys, it was all good!
Especially since Kristin is a single mom, we try to make it a habit to be a positive influence on the boys. We have dinners together most Sunday evenings and the boys know what it is like to say grace and live as a family with strong role models – led by their mother and grandparents. It is so important, in these days of broken families, for our youth to know that they have family members who love and care for them, regardless of the circumstances. Even this evening, I called the boys and let them know how much I wished that they were here with me. I think they got a kick out of that!
Someday, these memories will probably fade into the background so it is important that we just continue to create more memories. It’s one of the things that binds us together as generations. And it is very important that we present Godly traits to our children and grandchildren. After all, God expects the elders to be the role models for those younger folks who are coming up in the next generations. The verse for tonight reflects the fact that Noah was obedient to God for the purpose of saving his family. And God honored Noah’s dedication to his wife and children. From Heb. 11:7, we are told, “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
My encouragement this evening is to let you know that you also can dedicate your life to honoring God through your family. My prayer is that you will have Godly offspring and that you will continue to hear God speak into your life through our younger generations. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…