Today was the last day of school for my kids, and earlier my mom asked me how I’m feeling about that.
Well….I definitely have feelings about it!
There’s a lot I’m really excited about – more time with my kids, a slower pace, no more school drop-offs and pick-ups to mess up a baby’s schedule – and I do anticipate a fresh new season and the fun it will bring. But I can’t say that’s all I feel.
I’ve experienced enough of these summers to know exactly how I struggle in them, and I admit I’ve been bracing myself lately for the amount of work it takes to run this house when it’s filled with all of the kids, all day every day. I know that at least the first two weeks are full of sibling conflict as the kids get used to spending extended time together again. I know that my introverted self will panic a bit at the nonexistence of alone time for three months straight. I know that it’ll be impossible for me to stay on top of the messes and that it will stress me out more than it should. I know that my kids’ individual needs – and especially their age span – will stretch me all summer long.
Certainly, the physical work will increase, but that’s nothing compared to the heart work that summer requires of me.
I’m aware of the yuck I’ll have to address in my own heart. At some point in the summer, my battle against selfishness will intensify, and I’ll struggle to engage with my kids instead of retreating in tiredness. And if the past is any indication, then I expect that the desire for quiet and solitude will become an idol, and the whole thing will make me weary.
So that’s the honest, ugly flip side to my excitement for summertime, but gratefully there’s a hope rising in me that I can’t escape either. God’s been reminding me that his mercies are new every morning, and I feel it deep inside. This summer can be different. It may be just as hard as past ones, but it doesn’t have to steal my joy. I can live it one day at a time, clinging to Jesus for all I need: strength for the task and grace for the failures.
Preparing the Heart
The last two weeks have been all about preparing for summer – determining new routines, creating chore charts, and making a million different lists to hopefully help me get ahead of our usual challenges this time of year. But none of that will save me this summer. Practical preparations might help me survive, but only more of Jesus will lead me to thrive throughout the summer.
So here we go. Summer is here. Mothers everywhere – we can do this thing! One day at a time.
And that’s exactly how I plan to move through summer –
daily choosing the right perspective,
daily dying to self and giving to these children I love.
In sharing the usual snippets of life on Instagram, I’ll periodically sprinkle them with the encouragements the Lord is showing me for this particular season, and I’d love for you to join me there for the ride (see sidebar on the right). Because I already know I’ll desperately need to cling to truth and preach it to myself again and again. And I definitely need to walk this wonderful, work-filled journey called parenting with friends.
Conquering summer is not about performance but about trust. It’s not about being happy, comfortable, and confident in our abilities every single day. We want to be faithful, but more than that, we want to better know the God who is faithful even when we are not.
By the grace of Jesus, let’s not just survive; let’s thrive this summer of ’15.