The Family Ride

by Kevin on June 15, 2010

There is a picture that I have that is one of my favorite of all time. It was taken in front of my Grandmother’s house about six o’clock one evening. The picture is all four of us (my wife, daughter, son, and I) and my neighbor’s son. We are all horseback. We had been out riding and stopped by to say hello. Being the ultimate Grandmother, she had to go get her camera.

I just smiled and said “cheese” with the kids as she took the picture. Now I look back and long for that special day with my family. It took about four hours to get four horses saddled and bridled and be on our way (my son was a little guy, so he rode with me). Everyone wanted to help and that was fine.

We brushed the horses real good and made sure everyone had their boots and spurs. Of course, everyone couldn’t find something. There was a left boot that had magically disappeared, a spur strap that was missing in action, and a hat that had been on someone’s head three minutes ago and was now nowhere to be found.

I remember being just a little frustrated and aggravated by the time we were ready to ride. Now when I look back at that picture, instead of feeling frustrated, I feel a big old lump in my throat.

We have plenty of horses to ride and we could go ride every single day if we wanted to, but something always seems to get in the way of that. Griffin and I will ride together a lot. Christie likes to ride with our daughter Reilly. I also ride with each of them sometimes, but we have not ever just saddled up like we did that day–as a family.

My son will never be small enough to sit in front of me again. My daughter still likes to ride some, but she is thirteen now and likes other things as well for some reason. Griffin likes to ride, but he would rather throw his bull rope on one of the steers and buck them out. I just let everyone do what they want to do and support them, but I would love to have another one of those family trail rides.

Families should do things together and it’s up to us parents to make sure those things happen. Why did my Grandmother want to take that picture so bad? Because she knows from experience how fast children grow up. To her, family time is special time. When was the last time you did something special with your family?

In the book of Acts, Paul and Silas are thrown into prison. This sounds bad, but something wonderful happened as a result of that for the prison guard. As Paul and Silas are in their cells, a great earthquake comes and shakes the foundation of the prison and all the chains are broken and all the doors come open. Not one prisoner left. When the prison guard comes to check things out and notices what has happened, he draws out his sword to kill himself. If the prisoners had escaped on his watch, he would have been executed anyway.

Acts 16:28-34
28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

Verse 31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Then in verse 33, “then immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Finally, the last part of verse 34, “…had come to believe in God–he and his whole family.” Talk about doing something as a family. I know if there would have been pictures back then, that prison guard would have wanted one for that day. The father finally understood what was important in life and led his family to everlasting life.

Parents, can you say the same thing? Parents, are ya’ll leading your family on the trail ride to the green eternal pasture or the wasteland of death? Be careful and know today what is important. Your children are horseback with you. They are gonna follow wherever Mom and Dad’s horses go. Get them to follow you to Jesus Christ.

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  • I think about that sometimes, in the moments. I can get frustrated with the details of “getting ready” for our family adventure of the week–or month–but then we look back on those times with joy. I’m glad our Father enables us to forget some of the emotions and remember the blessing. How I want to lead my kids to their Savior. He is so gracious to take their hand even when I fail. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Kevin

      Wasn’t it you that stepped out of the car for a moment and held your cell phone up to you ear and walked around talking to God in a parking lot? I think it was….that was some of the best and greatest advice I have ever heard for times of stress. Thanks for the tip and the comment.

  • I heard a message the other day saying something similar and going on to say that Mom and Dad have to make sure they are not only connected with the kids, but with God and each other as well. It’s almost easier to cut one of the latter two out, to cut back on time alone with the LORD or a Mom and Dad date night because the kids need something. If Mom and Dad can lead as much by example as possible, it’s more likely their kids will pick up the same trail.

    • Kevin

      Nice cowboy saying at the end there….”their kids will pick up the same trail.”

      We’re gonna make a cowboy out of you if you’re not careful!!

  • I love that Bible story where parents are bringing their children to Jesus. There is nothing better that we could do than to bring our children to Jesus. All those precious times with our kids doing family events are special beyond measure. But they will mean nothing if we fail to bring them to Jesus with us. There are very few things we can take to heaven with us. One of them is our kids. –Richard

  • Loved the story and the message. Isn’t it a blessing that the Lord helps us remember only the good in those arduous family adventures. Sounds like this Father’s Day might be another time to round up your family for a memory worth savoring.

    • Kevin

      I couldn’t agree more Janis…as a matter of fact, I have been thinking that same thing.

  • I got a big ‘ol lump in my throat just reading the story. Your grandmother was a wise lady. We need to capture and treasure every moment that we can with our children. I think that most parents miss this in pursuit of other things, but when they have the chance to be grandparents they realize what is of real value.

    My children are now eight and ten. I am trying to make more time to give them while they still want me to.

    • Kevin

      I know I sure have missed out on a bunch. When my son was very, very little, he heard my wife call me Kevin. He walked up to her and said, “He not Kevin…He’s da Daddo!” I will treasure that through eternity.

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