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About 2 years ago, shortly before Russ and I got married, I joined an online forum called Christian Military Wives. I wasn’t very active on the website until about halfway through Russell’s deployment, but once I began participating on a regular basis I began to get very involved in projects on the website. I was able to head up a few media projects for the website, and last August they asked me to become one of several “Ministry Team Leaders” and be responsible for certain areas of the site. Since then I have become more and more involved, heading up a group just for newlyweds and doing a few other little odds and ends around the website.
CMW is planning to take a ladies get-away cruise in October, booked through Premier Christian Cruises, for a time of relaxation, open to any of the CMW members that would like to participate. I already know that I will be unable to attend that cruise, because our baby is due in September! Well, about 3 weeks ago, Premier Christian Cruises called Patti, who is the leader and founder of CMW, and offered her and the ministry team leaders of CMW the opportunity to go on the 2010 KLOVE Family and Friends Music Cruise, free of charge, all expenses paid.
WOW! After much serious consideration, flight searching, chain-of-command asking, and talking back and forth, Russ and I decided that we could not pass up such an amazing opportunity, at such an opportune time. My birthday is in 2 weeks, our anniversary is in March, we have a baby on the way, and we never had a honeymoon. And here we are given a chance to go on a free cruise to the Bahamas?!?!? We literally have spent the last few weeks in AWE of the ways that God shows us He loves us, even when we feel like we are very undeserving of His affection. He provided us with very inexpensive flights to Orlando, and the cruise line paid for all of our other transportation and hotel fees.
I don’t say any of this to make you think I am anyone special. I’m not. If anything, Russ and I both felt like we were extremely undeserving of this and we can only praise God for His goodness.
So, we three left last Sunday for Orlando. We spent the night there, and then Monday we boarded the cruise ship:
The view from our guest room:
Our teeny bathroom:
A quiet breakfast in our guest room:
We spent Tuesday on a private island called Cococay:
Wednesday we toured the town and beaches of Nassau:
The whole time we were there, Russ kept calling me a “Bahama Mama”:
Thursday we spent the day at sea:
Our wonderful dinner waiters:
Friday we spent all day returning home.
I am not currently a listener of KLOVE as I didn’t grow up listening to contemporary Christian music. However, Russ and I had the amazing opportunity to not only be recognized publicly in front of many of the artists that were on the cruise, but also to freely talk and mingle with them. I really can’t describe to you how genuine these people were and the big heart that they have for God. We really thought that the “famous people” would be very stand-offish, but if anything, they were the opposite. The group of ladies from CMW was recognized at more than one concert and the artists on the boat did everything they could to give US the honor instead of themselves. It was very humbling and an amazing opportunity.
Our group with Francesca Batistelli:
The whole trip was phenomenal. The weather was gorgeous, although the water was very cold so we didn’t do much swimming. All in all it was relaxing and spiritually refreshing. I also got the opportunity to not only meet Patti from CMW, but spend quite a bit of time talking with her.
The baby cooperated and didn’t make me sick once the whole time! I had a few headaches from the motion of the boat but very little nausea! Still feeling now (2 days later) like I’m on the boat, so please pray that that lets up soon!
I could probably write a book or two more, but I do like to keep my posts fairly brief. If anything, I want you to take away from this the verses that echoed through my head the whole week:
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103: 1-5)