With five children, it can often be very difficult to get individual one-on-one time with the kids.  We have sporadically tried “stay-up-nights,” where one child gets to stay up a bit later than everyone else to have dessert, play something, and talk a bit with both of us.  But, a day or even multiple days of undivided attention from Mom or Dad hasn’t been something our kids have experienced.  

A few years ago, Luke had the idea to make time for this by planning a one-on-one father/child backpacking trip with each kid when they turned 13.  This week, he finally got to see this come to fruition as he ventured out with our oldest daughter, Hadley, on a 3-day backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Mountains.    He had a few people who have been influential in Hadley’s life write her letters; he planned a few Bible studies on being grounded in her identity as a beloved child of God; he helped make sure she had everything packed, and they headed out.

Yesterday, when they returned, it was such a joy to see their pictures and hear stories from their memorable adventure.  Some of Hadley’s highlights were viewing the beautiful scenery, swimming in the lake, rocking out with Dad to music on the drive home, and reading the letters people had written for her.  A common theme throughout each of the letters was the truth that Hadley is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) by a God who saved her and calls her His own.  I am so thankful for the opportunity she was given to be grounded in these truths about who she is, especially during years of her life when one’s identity can be influenced by such shaky foundations.  I was also thankful for the opportunity she had to experience more of the awesome glory of God’s creation.  What a beautiful world He has formed for us, and what a precious gift!  

When Luke got home, one of the first things he said to me is, “You have to make time to do something like this with the kids!”  And I agreed!  I’m already getting excited about whatever adventure we decide to do together when they turn 16.  I can tell you right now, it won’t be backpacking (I love nature and spending time in it, but I also greatly value a warm shower and a comfy bed =-).  But, I have no doubt, whatever we do, it will be special time—growing in the sweet relationship our relational and loving God has kindly established.  

I hope you enjoy some of their pictures from this fun trip!


By Katie Miller

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