I remember when the kids were young, and I couldn’t wait for school to be out—when there was no rigid schedule or structured days….And then, the third day of summer rolled around, and I was fretting over how I could keep them entertained without sitting them in front of the TV all day. For two and a half months, there was not a period of time when the house was completely picked up or organized, never a time to go exercise or run errands alone unless you did so at 5:00AM. Everyone’s schedule changed, including mine. I must admit, there were times as a mom when I would become resentful of never having any time to myself. I would be in a bad mood and score a big fat zero on the fun meter! Those were the times when I became very convicted because I knew that how I was feeling was just not right. My thought process had become skewed. My priorities had shifted. I was more focused on me and how this transition was affecting me rather than delighting in the fact that I could spend all summer with the kids having fun and hanging out. Now, I know life is much more complicated than this. We are going to have these thoughts from time to time because none of us are perfect. The problem comes when we don’t feel conviction, thus we never change our “stinking” thinking. Enter a close friend or spouse who will call it like they see it. I know I’ve talked about having accountability partners in your life, but it’s worth mentioning again. We all need people to keep us on course, and we need to be that person for someone else.
As moms, we set the tone or should I say, the temperature in the house. I’m embarrassed to say that the temperature in our house has been a little toasty too many times over the years. I don’t dwell on it, but I hope I have learned from it. Even though I know the tremendous influence I have on my family (good and bad), I still have trouble “taming my tongue” at times, as well as losing my temper, and I tend to throw a mean pity party. Who would want to hang out with this mess of a mom?
I’ve been studying The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer with a group of young women. It’s an amazing study that reminds us of the daily battles we face in the spiritual world—our real enemy is not a person or a problem or a terrible circumstance, as we might believe . We have an enemy (Satan) that wants to divide and destroy our families, and this enemy will use our strengths and weaknesses to do so. We must intentionally put on each piece of spiritual armor daily to protect ourselves from the war that Satan is waging against us.
This week the pieces of armor we have been studying are the shoes of peace. God’s timing is perfect, huh? One of her statements that is so compelling is: “Trust fuels thanksgiving; and thanksgiving activates peace in your life.” If we want to have peaceful homes, we need to trust that God is in control and is with us through every battle, disappointment, illness, and transition; then we need to be thankful despite our circumstances. We can find gratitude in these tough times only with His supernatural power. Then God’s peace can flood our hearts and minds and hopefully spread to our households and families.
When our college kids come home for the summer, we all go through a similar transition. What was once a clean, organized house with no laundry, and no junk food, all of a sudden becomes a chaotic, messy Laundromat with laughter, activity and loads of junk food. When I get frustrated and want to scream and lock myself in a time-out room for 3 months, I realize that I need a head check, a heart check and a peace check. And, eventually, I figure it out, thank goodness. I’m in charge of how I react and how well the summer will go (for the most part). I need to enjoy the craziness, the spontaneity, dirty footprints, the overflowing trash cans, the shoes and clothes everywhere, and of course, the multiple daily bear hugs and “I love you’s”.
This is my family—I have the privilege of being a mom. I need to be a servant leader to them. This life is not about me, although I act like it sometimes. I want my kids to desire to come home because they feel loved, nourished and encouraged.
So Hope moved home for the summer, and life changed again. As wonderful as it is to have her here, my schedule is different and so is hers. We both like our schedules! Mine takes a back seat to hers now. It took me a few weeks to be ok with that. I have recently begun some new ventures of my own, and her schedule was conflicting with what I wanted to do. I became rather frustrated and not myself. Things were getting complicated as I tried to keep up my schedule and hers. Life tends to get chaotic and disorderly when we let the world take over our thoughts and desires. Enter “hubby.” Reid recognized my predicament (or should I say, self-absorption) and helped me reframe my thinking. These 3 months with Hope are months I will never get back, months I need to teach, months I need to love and nourish and encourage her. I’m not saying that I will drop my new interests altogether. It’s about me prioritizing my time. When chaos abounds, the devil is prowling around at work, but he’s not going to win today. I’m suiting up for battle—trusting God with this precious time and slipping on my “peace” shoes!