Ready for the Holy Land?

Today was another leisurely flu-filled day at sea (two family members down, four to go). It was also the Sabbath, but keeping it holy isn’t easy when you’re surrounded by gluttonous buffets of pretty darn good grub.

As the afternoon came into focus I found myself with a moment alone. I walked up to level 9, filled a plate with pizza and made my way to a small table by the window for some much needed personal reflection.

Frankly, I don’t sit around with my thoughts very often and it was almost uncomfortable to put my feet up and stare at the waves without engaging my body in busy work.

Soon my mind turned to the Holy Land. We disembark tomorrow morning and will be spending the day around the Sea of Galilee, including a few sites like Nazareth and Mt. Tabor (the mount of Transfiguration, one of my personal favorites).

As I started thinking about the Holy Land, I was overcome with the most horrible sense of panic. I’m not ready. We have had two months to plan and prepare for this trip and here I am, 14 hours out and I’m realizing that I’ve been so busy getting ready for the Holy Land that I forgot to get ready for the Holy Land.

My packing was impeccable. We have enough of absolutely everything, and I was even proactive enough to remember the forgotten essentials like Miralax and two kinds of perfume. I’m organized and prepared for just about any child induced catastrophe, but in the midst of so much planning I have forgotten why I was packing to begin with.

I’m going back to Jerusalem and I’m not ready.

Throwing down my pizza crust I ran back to my room fueled by dread. I tore out my Bible and frantically began checking to see how fast I could read the New Testament.

“Children!” I called, “Quick, come sit around Mommy, we need to…read something!” Jason was looking at me like I had lost my brain or perhaps found Jesus for the first time.

“Honey, you okay?” he asked.

“I just…we need to study the New Testament. Come on, turn to Matthew…”

I know what you’re thinking. How could someone who knows better be so negligent in their spiritual preparation? How could I let the time slip away from me without planning fantastic devotionals and family musical numbers centered on the Life of Christ to prepare us for this truly monumental pilgrimage?

I started searching frantically for something that would apply to tomorrow’s site list, reading a random verse here and another there. My anxiety grew and I felt foolishly like a virgin who was low on oil.

But my friends, I have to tell you that as I was reading I felt the Holy Ghost place a gentle hand on my soul.

Perhaps we haven’t watched enough National Geographic episodes on Jerusalem or talked as often about Christ and his miracles here on the Earth as we should have. But every time we kneel in family prayer, every day when we read from the scriptures together (don’t ask me why we haven’t  been hanging out in the NT), every song about Jesus and every successful family home evening, I am preparing my family for the Holy Land.

I have been to Israel and will return there again. But that has nothing to do with the fact that I know Jesus lives. He is my Savior and I knew it long before I ever stepped into the Garden Tomb or gazed upon the ancient olive trees in Gethsemane.

I am ready to go back tomorrow. Whether or not people in my family are puking or pouting or pooping their pants, I know the Spirit will burn in my heart and remind me once more why I do what I do. Jesus once was a little child and I can’t wait to show my children where it all went down.


  1. Mary Richards says:

    You are totally making me goosebumpy and weepy with these posts!

  2. I wish I could come. I promise I wouldn’t poop my pants. 🙂

  3. I hope to visit someday. Please get in some Jerusalem sightseeing for me. And you’re totally ready.

  4. I can totally resonate with this post. Not that I’m on a cruise headed for the Holy Land (I WISH!), but the bouts of panic that I, as a mother, just missed a huge teaching moment (or months of teaching moments), and I too, have felt like a mother low on oil that I’m supposed to be strengthening my children and home with. I love your conclusion, though.

  5. for your sake i hope NOBODY’s puking, pouting, OR pooping their pants while on your excursion tomorrow! as for the rest of the post, i feel what you’re feeling. this is something i have anxiety over all the time while serving in church, no matter the calling. i’m always checking & rechecking to make sure i haven’t lost site of what the real purpose behind it all is. love ya tons! ::hugs::
    jealous you got a busy-work free moment to take in the waves, btw. 🙂 sounds delightful!
    and please, do me a favor. when you’re in gethsemane, will you please just place your hand on one of those olive trees for me and linger for a moment? will you please just spend the moment thinking & feeling & listening for me? that’s something i just do when i’m in sacred places. i make contact and then feel & listen to that connection. sorry if it sounds weird, but some powerful things have come as a result. some great clarity & respect. anyhow, then shoot me your thoughts. that’d be phenomenal! thanks in advance. ::double-hugs::

  6. Gosh, I don’t even know what to say. I would be totally overwhelmed by the thought of visiting the Holy Land.
    But…….aside from a cruise like you are on
    I guess I can, still…visit the Holy Land………through the scriptures, personal prayer…and throw in some faith ………
    and I will remain overwhelemed
    and humbled