Friday, May 27, 2011

Ready or comes summer!

Shelly (our amazing administrative assistant) and I (Sharon) had a conversation on the phone last week about summer...I started telling her how excited I was about summer. She said, "I'd like to be, but I'm dreading it a little." Once we started talking, I began to remember the past few summers...endless plans from all my kids, driving all over creation, spending more money than we should, and frustration over failing to finish what I had started. We decided it would be a great topic for the blog. Shelly wrote this one and did a great job. I'll tell you what we've done since at the end...

It's the last day of school! The kids will be home, I can't wait! We are going to have so much fun!

It's the last day of school. Ugh. The kids will be home all day begging to do this and go there. It wears me out just thinking about it.

(Shelly) You may not be on one extreme or the other, but you fall somewhere along that line. I really want to be a mom who enjoys my kids and looks forward to them being home all summer, but honestly I'm dreading it a little. (I must say this year is better than last year.) Then I feel guilty. I know they are blessings, gifts from God, and I'm so thankful for healthy kids. But some days it feels like they drain the life out of me. I want to thrive this summer, not just survive! Growing up, we spent summers either at grandparents' houses, camp or at home watching TV until we scurried to do our jobs for the day before Mom got home from work, so I don't have a blueprint for this. (I can still say lines from Princess Bride and Man from Snowy River word for word!) With my kids, I look back over the summer and wish I had created or taken advantage of more opportunities to enjoy them and to teach them because I know that "these days are passing much too fast." I know the ideal I want, but I don't know how to get there.

Anybody else?

First of all, I need to let go of some unrealistic expectations. I feel like everyone else has it all together, and I am the only one that struggles with this. That is simply not true. Find a friend who you can be transparent with and you might be surprised. I know I was.

This has been on my mind for a while, and of course, God meets me where I am. I'm doing Beth Moore's study about the fruit of the Spirit, Living Beyond Yourself. I am only halfway through it, but here are two things already that will help me through the summer.

Peace...Part of what I dread is the fussing and fighting (I have a son 10, daughter 7, and son 5). I just want peace! Beth pointed out that peace comes with rule. "The key to true peace is the rule of Christ." (Look at Colossians 3:15.) This is changing my perspective as a mom. I'm not real bossy and my kids tend to run over me at times. (I hate admitting that, but it is true.) If I will bow to the authority of Christ, then step up in the role He has placed me in and set some rules, my house will be more peaceful. I'm not talking a whole book, but a few simple guidelines that will make some of the decisions for me and bring more peace.

Patience...I know--this is a characteristic we avoid asking for because we don't want the assignments that prove it! Hang with me. What I learned gave me a little freedom in this. There are two different words used for patience in the Bible. One pertains to enduring things or circumstances and is inspired by hope. The other is in respect to people and is inspired by mercy. The patience to endure is something we need and can pray for. Patience with others is "impossible except when expressed by God through us." Whew! I've tried so hard to be patient with people on my own and it didn't work. It is not up to me! My responsibility is to be filled with the Spirit and allow Him to express His patience through me. For some reason that seems easier.

People with their minds set on You, You keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Isaiah 26:3 The Message

OK, *deep breath* I am gaining more of a vision for this summer! I hope you are too. This summer on the blog (and website), we would like to have ideas to have fun and seize teachable moments with our kids, and we need your help. We are real moms just like you looking for solutions too! If you have an idea you would like to share, we would love to hear it! These are kids of things we are looking for...

* How do you manage the day in your house? Simple guidelines that help bring peace.

* Bible verses that keep you focused on God.

* Teachable moments--short little encounters that bring the God-factor out of everyday situations.

* Activities to fill the day for all ages:

* Favorite books to read with your kids

* Family movies
* Fun games to play

You can email your ideas to Shelly(at)MomAndLovingIt(dot)org, or join in on the comments!

(Sharon) Great thoughts, Shelly! Thanks for verbalizing what so many of us feel. Since our conversation, all of us (Laurie too) have become intentional about planning "real" things into our summer schedules and creating some summer rules in order to gain some peace. We'll post our ideas here and have a link to them on the website. We thought about posting through the summer, but these are ideas you may want now! So we will post them all in the "Summer Box of Tricks!" Open it up and see what is new!

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