Thanks for coming back and joining me again. I am eager to see and hear how the Lord is using his truths to impact your life.
Last time we looked at what this series is and what it is not. If you haven’t taken the time to read it, please do. I think it will help us to begin to form a framework as we move forward in discerning how we worship God in our planning and preparing for our summer with our kiddies.
Let’s begin by asking, what is God’s design for the family? I love how Kent and Barbra Huges, in their book, Disciplines of a Godly Family, layout what the purpose of a family is:
“Scripture’s declaration that children are a blessing emphasizes their significance to God’s people here on earth and summarizes what the Christian’s attitude ought to be regarding parenting. But children also have a vertical significance, which is often passed over in today’s discussion of family — namely, the glory of God.
The Westminster divines, after a long and measured look at Scripture, unanimously declared that ‘the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.’ This principle covers every human relationship, but it begins in the scared structure of the family, where people are most profoundly shaped. God is glorified, of course, when his children’s lives radiate his character — which only the Son could perfectly do, for “he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of this nature” (Heb. 1:3). Because christ perfectly represented God, our children, if they truly come to God in faith, can by grace radiate more and more of his character. It is our joyous heavenly commission to lead them to Christ and then influence their life so they walk increasing in the way of grace.
This is our great business, as Robert Dabney wrote long ago:
‘The education of children of God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money making ought to be subordinate; and every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God — this is his task on earth.
How elevating it is to realize that your family is the divinely ordained and primary vehicle to bring glory to God. (15-16)”.
I don’t know about you but God’s design and purpose for the family is a high calling and a sobering one.
On the heels of the Westminster catechism, 1 Corinthians says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (English Standard Version, The Bible, 10:32). If the purpose of the family is to glorify God and scripture exhorts us to glorify God in any and all actions, then our summer planning falls into this category.
We could spend a copious amount of time studying God’s word and those works of much more biblically educated teachers to mine the depth of this calling, however for our purposes I believe scripture has firmly established our chief goal as mothers. So, how does this flush out in our goal of planning and preparing for our summer vacations?
About 6 years ago my husband and I were participating in the plant of our current church. Our pastor shared the following paradigm of structuring priorities for those of us helping establish the church: first is your relationship with God, then with your husband/wife, then children, your vocation, and finally your church ministry. It was a quick way to biblical assess our decision because the number of potential duties and obligations were almost endless. This structure of thinking has always stuck with me and I often use this helpful tool when making decisions.
For our purpose, I have altered the paradigm slightly as we don’t need to use every one of the categories mentioned above. Second, we won’t be diving deep into scripture to get a full look biblically at each category but I trust it will be deep enough to help us inform our planning and preparing for our summer months. I highly encourage you to study scripture for yourself and seek biblically rooted secondary resources to augment your understanding. There is no greater joy of mining God’s Word for yourself. Lastly, the triangle is representative of importance and submission. For instance, God is at the top, the utmost of importance and all are to submit to him. This is not necessarily how my overall planning process starts and end. Most of the time, I start my planning with the kids in mind. I trust this will become clearer as we move forward, so hang in there. Let’s dive in.
Since all we do should be to the glory of God, here is where we should start, with God at the pinnacle.
Study God’s Word
Mathew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (English Standard Version, The Bible). If we are faithful to seek to know and understand who God is, which he has revealed himself in his written Word, the scriptures, then when it comes to planning and making decisions for our family we will know what will be honoring and glorifying to Him.
I must confess I don’t think to do this often. But we are called to “ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (English Standard Version, The Bible, 1 Thess. 5.16-18). Even in the midst of planning our summer vacations we should be seeking the Lord in prayer. This is how we will bring glory to God. Pray about how to use your time, money, resources. Pray with your husband about your summer. Pray and ask for wisdom how much to do and when to do it. Pray for our hearts to have right worship (see the previous post). Pray for eyes to see moments to bring the gospel to our children. Pray for the difficulty and trials that are bound to crop up over the summer. The list could go on and on. Perhaps we should make a list and at the end of the summer see his answered prayers and praise him for his faithfulness. What a wonderful way to show and model a thriving prayer life to our children. Get them involved and show him what a great and powerful God we have.
Don’t Neglect Church
Living in Canada presents some challenges come the summer months. One such challenge is the summer season is too short. In the midst of soaking up as much summer sun as we can, we often become transient church attendees. The Bible urges us to “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (English Standard Version, Heb. 10.24-25). The church is a vital part of our Christian growth. For many faithful Christians, myself included, and for one reason or another, the summer months tends to breed complacency in many spiritual disciplines, church attendance included.
My husband and I from very early in our marriage made a commitment to make attending church on Sundays our highest priority. We ensure that our summer vacation does not impede with our church attendance. If it happens we are away we make plans to attend the local church in the area we are visiting. Something to note and be mindful of is that not all churches are equal. We don’t just walk into the closest church for the sake of attending a service. We are blessed beyond measure to attend a Harvest Bible Chaple here in Canada and are connected to a large fellowship of churches who all share the same doctrinal statement. This makes finding a church in the area we are visiting very easy. But even if we weren’t part of this fellowship, we would ask our pastor, consult a wise friend and do some research on churches in the area that uphold the same biblical truths as our home church.
I say all this with the understanding that things happen. Sickness is one of those things. I have four kids, I know first hand that you can plan one thing, and the opposite happens. Those winter months are long, especially with young kids, who seem to be walking Petri Dishes. They always seem to contract and incubate some sort of virus. My husband and I have missed the occasional church service due to an unavoidable event. However, we recognize the importance and the Biblical mandate. We also understand the example we are setting forth for our children and how we are shaping their view of the church and by extension how serious we take our faith in Christ.
Friends, I think I may have bitten off more than I could chew for this post. I feel any longer and I will have you sitting where you are all day with me. So, to be mindful of your time and mine, I’ll end here, and pick up next time to touch on the next three tiers of our triangle.
Thanks again for taking the time to read. I’m praying that the Lord will work in your hearts to glorify him as your plan and prepare for your summer.