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Escaping the Dailyness of Life: Anniversary Celebration on the K-Love Cruise

     Six months ago, I was in a hospital room holding our youngest daughter, Catherine, for the first time when my husband asked me to celebrate our upcoming ten-year wedding anniversary by going on the K-Love Friends and Family Cruise in February 2010.  I was so surprised!  My husband, James, and I have never taken a vacation together.  We spent our honeymoon ten years ago on a three-day trip to Williamsburg, Virginia.  We drove there after a snowstorm, James got terribly sick with food poisoning for three days, and then we drove home in a blizzard.  It was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons!  So, his suggestion that we celebrate our ten-year anniversary in style was an unexpected gift. 

     It was a gift I almost declined.  I thought it was too expensive and too far and too complicated and we’d be leaving our older daughters too long.  In the middle of all of those thoughts, though, I realized that my marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to me and I need to take every opportunity to celebrate it and strengthen it.  So, we started planning for our big trip.  We prepared our daughters for their week with Grammy, wrote out detailed instructions, and packed all of the things you need for two adults and a six-month-old into as few suitcases as possible.  I had two personal goals for the trip: to enjoy the dedicated time with my husband and to take personal retreat time with God.  My retreats with God had been increasingly relegated to doing my weekly grocery shopping by myself, so some time with God on a beach sounded perfect!

     This cruise had everything you would expect in a relaxing, Caribbean cruise vacation—a gorgeous ship,  warm weather, relaxing beaches, a trip to the Bahamas, delicious food, and amazingly attentive and helpful staff.  Our steward even placed a new towel animal in our room every night, including a monkey wearing James’s sunglasses. The first day we docked at Coco Cay, the Royal Caribbean’s privately owned island.  While there, you could lay out on the beach in one of the many available (and free!) beach chairs, tour the tiny village of shops, walk the nature trail, play in the kids’ area, or embark on one of the available excursions {insert picture of sailboat}.  On the next day, we docked at Nassau, where you could shop, eat, sight-see and have an adventure of your own choosing.

     All of this would have been a great vacation, but had it just been a Caribbean cruise, it wouldn’t have been our vacation choice.  What made it perfect for us, though, was that it was the K-Love Cruise.  K-Love is a nationwide Christian music radio station.  The radio station annually charters an entire cruise ship and then invites the biggest names in Christian music and well-known Christian speakers to share during the week. 

     This year, some of our favorite groups were on the ship: David Crowder Band, Mercy Me, The Newsboys, Big Daddy Weave, and Chris Tomlin, as well as one of my favorite speakers, Louie Giglio, who runs the annual Passion conferences for college students.  We attended concerts every night, which were really more intimate and passionate worship sessions than simple performances.  After dinner, other groups performed shows all over the ship.  In 2011, the line-up for the cruise will include Casting Crowns, Toby Mac, and The Newsboys.  There’s no wonder the ship is already 50% booked for next year!

     Besides seeing the scheduled performances, the artists were on vacation on the ship themselves, so they ate breakfast at the table next to you and huddled along with everyone else on the deck of the ship during the lifeboat drills.  It was encouraging to see their genuine witness for Christ on and off the stage.  K-Love also gave out a devotional book prepared by the various musicians and speakers on the cruise.  Through random encounters with the artists, autograph sessions, and an Artist Q&A session, James met members of The Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North, Down Here, and Mercy Me and was able to have meaningful conversations with each of them.  

     When I asked James what he was taking away from this trip, he said that autographs are nice, but making a true connection is much more valuable.  How many of us are satisfied with God’s “autograph” in our books—we’ve done the minimum the Christian life requires—but we fail to pursue the meaningful connection with God that comes with time spent in His presence?  As my husband says, “We have a backstage pass to meet the biggest Star of them all.”  We should value our time in His presence and be excited to learn more about Him rather than just checking in and out on Sunday mornings.

     I’m so thankful that instead of declining my husband’s invitation six months ago, I agreed to go on this celebration trip with him.  I’ve heard Luci Swindoll say, “The trouble with life is that it is so daily.”  The overwhelming busyness of everyday life eats away at our relationships.  In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus describes seed that falls among thorns.  He says, “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22-23, NIV).  I have a strong relationship with God and a fantastic marriage that can coast along through the daily “worries of this life” and mostly survive intact, but at some point even the strongest relationships become barren and unfruitful because the dailyness of life has starved them of time and a meaningful connection. 

Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

Reader Comments...
2010-03-02 19:30:00
"I am so blessed to have Heather and James as music directors for my church. I sing in the praise choir and love being led by them. I am so glad, Heather and James, that you allowed yourselves to be blessed with this trip! I love you both!"
        - Lin

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