Our first baby was born this July, a precious little girl with the sparkliest of eyes, who reminds me daily of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness. What a blessing that Laity Lodge Family Camp helped launch us into parenthood. Countless parents shared wisdom and advice with us.

One parent said, “Our children are our heart walking around outside of our body.” Ours is currently only scooting around, but I know the time will go quickly. It is hard to look past today, but I can also picture her first day of middle school, then high school.

Those visions of the future come with a sense of pressure. It is easy to feel pulled in many directions—even within my role of a mom. I have dear friends who are raising adolescents, and I see their rhythm of commitments and decisions—extracurriculars and relationships, driver’s license tests and middle school dances, navigating hormones and college preparations. All of this is truly an act of preparation for the day when our children leave the house and launch into the larger world.

Parents spend far more time as co-laborers and co-followers of Christ alongside our kids, compared to teaching our children explicitly to know, love, and follow Jesus. And I look forward to walking this path of redemption and sanctification together with my daughter—learning, falling, receiving and extending forgiveness, faithfully pursuing and embracing being pursued by Christ. This adventure is going to be a lifelong joy.

I hope I am always a part of the work of building bridges in the lives of my kids, helping them connect to truth and goodness in creative and personalized ways. And helping them connect to others and to God.

This is what Laity Lodge Family Camp does, too. We create space for individuals to encounter God, to connect individually with each other, and to walk as a family alongside other families.

This fall we are doing this more intentionally with families of teenaged children. The retreat on November 8-10, 2024, will be geared towards families with kids above the age of 12, designed programmatically with middle schoolers and high schoolers in mind.

We hope that families who attend this LLFC retreat will build bridges between adults and adolescents in new and meaningful ways. We hope that space will be created for adolescents and adults to encounter God and connect with one another in significant ways.

Look for more details when fall registration opens this spring. We believe this new retreat model represents the heart of God in Micah 4:5—“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” God wants us to be connected to him in each other in every season of life.