Attending Sandy Cove's Family Camp was life-changing for my family and me.
That statement may seem extreme, but once you hear our story, you'll understand.
When the unthinkable happens
It was the beginning of 2009. My husband and I had been married for twelve years and had five children. We had saved money to go away on our biggest family trip to-date. We were planning to visit the Grand Canyon in February.
However . . .
The day before we were supposed to leave, my husband woke up in the middle of the night screaming "My head, my head!" One ambulance ride, one helicopter ride, three brain surgeries, and almost one month later, he came home to recover from a massive brain aneurysm.
In just moments, our big family vacation plans came to a screeching halt, and our lives were turned upside down.
We knew that my husband's recovery was going to be a long and hard road. He didn't remember anything about us, our marriage, or our family. It felt like we were starting from scratch. The word divorce was uttered from his mouth for the first time in our marriage, but I was too exhausted from dealing with the trauma of it all to figure out what to do or how to handle the situation.
A vacation do-over
A few weeks after my husband came home, I heard our local Christian radio station announce a "Vacation Do-over" contest. Listeners were encouraged to enter stories about their most tragic and failed vacation getaways. The winner would win a week of Family Camp at Sandy Cove. I thought to myself, "Who could have a better story than ours?!" So I entered. As I hoped, our story was chosen, and we won the free week-long, all-inclusive vacation.
Our vacation at Sandy Cove proved to be a significant step in the healing of our family. It gave us the time we needed to slow down and recalibrate. We talked, prayed together, and had fun. We reconnected with God and each other. And, what proved to be immensely helpful, was talking to others who had made it through equally challenging situations. We met people who openly shared their stories of trials and triumphs, and it gave me the hope that I so desperately needed. I began to truly believe that we could make it through this dark time and actually come out stronger because of it. Our stay at Sandy Cove was exactly what we needed, as a family and as a couple.
Now in 2017 when I stop to reflect, I can clearly see God's goodness, love, mercy, and grace throughout our journey. My family and I have come a long way since 2009. Many challenges were thrown at us that year, but God gave us the strength and perseverance we needed to make it through.
We're firm believers in the power and blessings of Sandy Cove's Family Camp. Our first time to Sandy Cove was so life-changing that we can't image not returning every summer. We keep in touch with both old and new friends that have developed over the years. I find that God gives me exactly what I need every time we visit Sandy Cove. And every year my needs have been different. I absolutely love the keynote speakers and, although I've had my favorites, I can truthfully say God has spoken to me through every one of them.
Why my family and I love Sandy Cove Family Camp
There are so many things that my family and I love about Sandy Cove. As a wife and mother, I love that our annual Sandy Cove vacation is virtually stress-free and all-inclusive. But even more importantly, our time at Sandy Cove overflows with opportunities to grow in our relationship with Christ. My husband and I LOVE attending the main sessions which include solid Bible teaching, practical life applications, and an authentic worship experience.
My children love coming to Sandy Cove, too. There's so much for them to do. They love hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones, attending their age-appropriate classes and activities, and so much more. Last summer:
- my 5-year-old loved the pedal cars
- my 9-year-old looked forward to spending time with his friends at The Palmer (the public on site gym complete with a climbing wall and various indoor game options)
- my 13-year-old never missed the swimming races
- my 16-year-old enjoyed competing in the basketball tournament, and
- my older girls couldn't get enough of the adventurous zip line and Big Swing.
To top it all off, the staff at Sandy Cove is amazing. They go out of their way to make Family Camp awesome. They're always friendly and extraordinarily helpful.
In short, our first experience at Sandy Cove greatly impacted our lives. It gave us hope and restored our faith. We want others to experience the same thing we did. Needless to say, we highly recommend Sandy Cove Family Camp to every family!
Following Joseph's example
I think our story is a bit like Joseph's story in the Old Testament. He went through many terrible situations in his life, but how God used all those things for His glory is astounding! Like Joseph, we also experienced a terrible, life-altering situation. One that seemed unfair and crushing. How could anything good come out of a brain aneurysm, right? But, we chose to believe that God was in control just like He was in Joseph's life. God knew our situation would lead to good and to His glory. He also knew that bringing Sandy Cove into our lives would make us a better and stronger family.
To God be the glory; great things He has done!
P.S. My oldest daughter has enjoyed her time at Sandy Cove so much over the years that she decided to work at the welcome center at Sandy Cove this past summer!
This post was written by Sandy Cove Family Camp attendee, Angela Feldbush.