It’s summertime! The transition feels different this year. Going from homeschooling everyone to summer break isn’t such a big deal. But going from having two kids in school, to having everyone home, is really sweet.
Seven kids, ages four to seventeen, all home, for the most part of our summer days. And it’s wonderful. It brings tears to my eyes, thinking about how thankful I am that the atmosphere in our home is what it is. That my children are who they are, by the grace of God.
I was prompted to write, as I thought about the fact that I am reaping the benefits of much labor, both my own and that of others. I want to encourage those who are still in the trenches of raising small children to keep up the good work! It will be worth it.
Let me state the obvious: We are not a perfect family. I had a dear friend describe another family to me by saying, “They are like your family. Everyone thinks they’re perfect. Until they get to know them.”
So true. But imperfect as we are, we do enjoy our kids, and other people seem to like them too. And while sanctification is an ongoing journey, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)
I love where I’m at in this parenting journey. It’s not as much work now, and there is much enjoyment! I just want to remind you, yes you, the one with piles of laundry and dishes and diapers, that it’s worth it!
When you are interrupted from making dinner (for the third time), and patiently give kisses and band-aids, you are loving your children and showing them Jesus.
When you have to stop story time with your two-year-old, to lovingly give needed discipline to your four-year-old, you are teaching them to fear the Lord, which will bring them joy all the days of their lives.
When it takes you three times as long to unload the dishwasher because of your “help,” you are paving the way for the day when they can do this chore independently. You won’t be the only one doing dishes and laundry and cooking forever!
When it seems difficult to get everyone to settle down for devotional in the morning, you are teaching them to persevere and prioritize what is most important in life.
When you hold them to the standards of the Word (Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32) and not the world, their sibling relationships will flourish.
When you say no, even to good things, if life is too busy, they will know how much you value time as a family.
When you share with joy what God has been teaching you, they will see it’s a relationship, not a religion.
When you step away from your computer, and play baseball in the backyard, you are showing them how important they are to you.
When you take them on “special dates,” you are giving them time to ask questions alone, share their hearts, and just feel loved.
When they see you have your quiet time in the morning (or see your open Bible and empty coffee mug on the table) you are modeling dependence on the living God.
Though you might groan inwardly when the early morning quiet is broken, your cheerful “Good Morning,” smile, kiss and hug is teaching them how to greet each day and those around them.
Are you noticing a trend here? God’s Word is invaluable.
I’m deeply grateful for instruction I have received, starting with having had great parents myself. I’ve also learned so much through parenting classes and sermons, godly women and great books. But all of these things are based on one book – the Bible – which in and of itself has taught me the most.
Because I have also received some bad parenting advice. From Christian people and Christian churches and Christian books. And I wouldn’t have known it was bad advice if I didn’t have God’s Word to compare it to.
So if you are a mommy of young children, I want to encourage you, most of all, to be in the Word! Get up earlier than your kids if you can. Or let your kids watch a video. You only need fifteen minutes.
Just fifteen minutes.
More is nice. But don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Here’s a great way to get started.
Love those babies. They grow up so fast. All the old ladies will tell you that (especially when you’re about to tear your hair out, and it doesn’t seem fast at all). But I heard a great quote that made sense of it.
“The years are fast, but the days are slow.”
I know it's not easy. You have the most important job in the world. But if you belong to Him, you have the God who created everything available to you 24/7. That’s not a bad deal. I hope you will take advantage of it!