Who else is anticipating the summer months? Ok, those of us living in Canada it’s not even a question we ask each other, because everyone has been waiting for it’s return the past seven to eight months. I’m no exception. It’s usually around February that I begin getting cabin fever and by April there is no distraction that can elevate the summer itch. So, I begin to plan. I plan our summer hoping it will stave off the mounting restlessness, as I count the weeks till we reach the May 24 weekend. This weekend is usually where the weather turn to summer here in Southern Ontario and as it happens is where I find myself today.
Weather aside, those of us with children and more specifically school age children, I generally find in one of three camps, ‘summer camps’ that is. In no particular order, the first camp of moms are eager and excited to welcome their offspring home for two glorious months. Usually these are moms of ‘kindie kids’, a term my son lovingly refers to Kindergarteners, and haven’t been doing the summer break thing for long. The second camp of moms are a little more jaded. They are dreading having their kids home and even before their children are off for break they begin fantasizing of the school year to come. The last camp of moms is a mix between the two previously mentioned. They are eager but hesitant as their summer break histories have proven to be joyous and vexing. Perhaps you, like me, find your self vacillating between all three camps. One day you are super pumped, next day you are all but ready to drop them off at the locked door of the school and leave them, or some days you are hopeful and your hopes fall short throughout the day. I don’t want to address the myriad of ways we can get into each of these camps but rather I hope to address how we should biblically think about our summer vacations, and in light of these biblical truths how it can that flush out in our lives.
I have one disclaimer before we dive in. I have not arrived. I am far from living this life well for Christ. I fall short daily. Just ask my kids or my husband. I am constantly confessing and repenting of sin. However, it is my utmost desire to be faithful with what I have been entrusted with (husband, kids, home, ministries, the Gospel) and continue to persevere until the Lord sees fit to gather me into his arms or comes again. One of the areas in my life that does not come easily is organization. I am constantly bucking against schedules and order. It is a daily struggle for me to maintain discipline in these areas. If it were up to me, and it was for a while, I would live in a go-where-the-wind-takes-me mentality. Unfortunately, over a few years all I found was chaos, frustration and anxiety. With some gentle encouragement from my husband and with some gracious women coming along side me, it has taken me about seven years and four kids to learned that some sort of forethought and preparation are helpful and is actually biblical. That being said, there is always room for the flexibility and spontaneity. I am still learning and struggling right along with you. I hope that what I have to share about what I have learned though my very short time of parenting helps someone else and encourages any women reading this to first and foremost see Jesus Christ as the source of all strength, peace and our ultimate example as we strive to be the wives and mothers he has called us to be.
I find it helpful and productive to have goals and set clear expectations. Perhaps that’s because I am a mother of four littles and without clearly articulated goals and expectations there are usually tears and screaming and its generally not from my kids. But, I tend to think it’s more because I love measurable success. Seeing progress and having the satisfaction of meeting goals are my jam. So, to save us from screaming and crying I think this is where we will start in this post and whet your appetite for more come the next post.
Here is what this series of posts is not. This is not to help us cultivate hearts of:
Boastfulness or Vanity. I like refer to the posture of this heart as the super-mom syndrome. The look at me, I can do it all, my kids are in it all, show off my mad scheduling skills, not dropping any of the balls, kind of heart. This heart craves to show case and flaunt for applause of others. To puff it’s self up or to tear down those around it. Guess what? My heart is prone to this posture. We must be careful to check our motives about who we are worshiping at any giving moment. Are we worshiping God or self?
Stress or Anxiety. When I think of this heart, I think if a mom who is barely treading water, or the sinking ship mom. This heart is desperate for relief from the overwhelming pressures of life. This heart is so fraught with stress it wants nothing more then to shut down and give up. It says either out load or quietly inside, “I just can’t deal any more”, “I just need these kids out of my hair”, “I’m in over my head”, or “I’m just not made/cut out for this mom gig”. I am guilty of this. This blog series is not a quick fix of tidy little tips and tricks to make life more manageable. Which I often look for. The heart that is riddled with stress and anxiety needs to look carefully about who is it is serving. Often our worship has shifted focus from God to self and our priorities have been skewed causing this troubled heart.
Fear of Man. This heart I believe manifests it’s self in the jellyfish mom. The mom without a back bone or at best a very wobbly one. It easily succumbs to the tantrums or the endless repetitive asking, that wears you down. This is the heart that is worried what others around them think, is fearful about how their own children will view them if they are firm and stay the course. It might talk a good talk but it is quick to fall back to keeping perceived peace with a compromise or a distraction. Guess who is a sucker for cultivating this heart. Yep! Me. This heart is grounded in wrong worship. It fears man, when it should have the fear of the Lord.
In contrast this blog series is to help us cultivate hearts of:
Compassion and Grace.
Humility. Helping our young ones grow in this but also for us mom’s alike. We need to teach and strive for quick confession, repentance and reconciliation. Modelling that even we sin and are in desperate need of a saviour.
Teaching and Training. We need to seize as many God moments with our children as possible. Having eyes for opportunity to point them to Christ but also recognizing our daily need to teach and train our own hearts to be obedient unto the Lord.
We need right worship. God worship. We can’t do any of this with out first recognizing how sinful we are, how holy God is, and that Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection is the only answer of hope we have in our mothering and in this life.
The next post we’ll discuss biblically what the family is and how I structure my planning for any event or holiday in my house. The last post will be all about the practical and how it flushes out in our house. I encourage you not to skip the first two posts as these are the foundation to planning for your family.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I am praying the Lord will use this in your life to further live for his name.