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Intersection Column | The Unexpected Summer

by Rachel Hauck

Every summer, the cousins on my mom’s side gather for four days in eastern Tennessee. We laugh, take walks and naps, share a food table, play games, and spend a day pontooning on the lake. This long weekend has become a cornerstone for my summers. This year was our tenth “camp” together.

This year, however, was the unexpected. Before the gathering, my older brother suffered a serious injury. He was airlifted to a hospital in another city for emergency surgery. My husband and I drove to be with him. The three of us would not make the reunion this year. Summer suddenly looked very different.

While my new book titled The Best Summer of Our Lives launched, my husband and I watched over my brother or texted with family members who came to relieve us for a spell. Another brother, my sister, and I spent long days by his side, helping him with small needs, listening to nurses and doctors, asking questions. We laughed, played a game of cards, and had sweet moments with Jesus when we prayed and sang. At one point, when my brother was able, I sat by his bed and listened as he shared from his heart. It is a moment I will never forget. I consider it a highlight of my life.

While I missed the family gathering, the Lord gave me something greater.

We can’t help but imagine what good will come from a new job or relationship, but sometimes, as we let the Lord lead, we find the best moments and the real treasures come in the unexpected.

When I was sparked with a story idea to explore the summer of ’77, I had no idea what the story would be about, but I dug out my diaries from that year and started dreaming.

Like all books, The Best Summer of Our Lives was a journey. The four protagonists are bound and determined to have the best summer ever between high school and college. It was all planned out.

But our girls get into a bit of trouble, and instead of backpacking through Europe, executing their version of “the best summer,” they load up on a Greyhound bus for a long trek to a girls’ camp in Oklahoma. What they learn—and what we all have to learn—is to see the best moments in everyday life.

Psalm 46 tells us God is our “ever-present” help. He’s not distracted or bored with us. He’s not preoccupied with His number of followers on Twitter. He’s present! He’s aware! He’s the God who sees.

One morning, while I was writing Best Summer, I felt drawn into the main sanctuary. As I opened the doors, I stepped into the Lord’s presence. It was as if He’d been waiting for me.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in this room together, haven’t we?” He said.

I dropped to my knees in tears. “Yes, we have.”

He began to talk to me about the desert seasons, the disappointments and heartbreak we all experience, all the while reminding me He is always with us. We may give up on Him, but He never gives up on us. If you’re in a hard season, choose to go through it with Him.

After four weeks, my brother is on the way home. He has some healing yet to do, but I’ve seen and heard and I know that the Lord is walking through it with him.

He is Immanuel, God with us!


About the Author

Rachel Hauckis an award-winning New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award winner. Her book Once Upon a Prince, first in the Royal Wedding series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie. A retired member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Executive Board, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. Rachel lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat. Learn more at


About the Book

Twenty years ago, the summer of '77 was supposed to be the best summer of Summer Wilde's life. She and her best friends, Spring, Autumn, and Snow—the Four Seasons—had big plans. But those plans never had a chance. After a teenage prank gone awry, the Seasons found themselves on a bus to Tumbleweed, Oklahoma, to spend eight weeks as camp counselors. All four of them arrived with hidden secrets and buried fears, and the events that unfolded in those two months forever altered their friendships, their lives and their futures.


Did You Know?

According to Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California, our body temperatures rise just before we wake up and continue to increase through midday. This increase in body temperature means that our working memory, alertness, and concentration also gradually improve, peaking at about mid-morning. Therefore, morning hours are the best time for sticking to a schedule and following these routines:

  • Exercise. If you’re looking to build up your muscles or lose some extra weight, people tend to be more motivated to exercise in the morning. Working out at a gym or going for a walk in God’s creation can boost your energy for the rest of the day.

  • Making plans. Our minds tend to be more clearly focused and creative in the morning hours, so that’s the best time for mental activities like making plans or solving problems.

  • Setting the tone for the day. Focusing on things that are important as you begin your day helps to create a positive attitude. Reading, praying, journaling, or listening to music can be inspirational both spiritually and emotionally—sending you in the right direction for the rest of the day.

Whether we are young, older, or somewhere in between, establishing and following morning routines will benefit us throughout our lives. And the best way for us to start any day is to remember that God loves us very much!

-Crystal Bowman, Good Morning, God Loves You


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“Bookstores have a special finger on the pulse of the community. I find out more about what’s happening both locally and around the world by what books are on the shelves and what events are shared through the store.”

-Angela Breidenbach, Song of the Rockies



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