If you were to come to my front door during these summer days, this is what you would find. Welcome to snippets of our summer….
We began our summer with a trip to the mountains of North Carolina. It was a joy to reconnect with good friends, swim in the lake, eat way too much food and stay up late talking. I forgot how peaceful it is to be in the mountains, especially now that we live at the beach. I think a mountain trip might be necessary for us each year.
Jennavieve turned three–our only summer baby, and a week in Sicily for Bradley found the kids and me on a road trip to visit my sister and parents. Time with cousins is always fun, and an added bonus was being able to see some friends who were in town from East Asia. My sister and her husband bought a new home last fall and the views from every window of their house are stunning. The sunrise and sunset are breathtaking and watching storms roll in each afternoon was just beautiful.
We had our first full week at home last week, and I loved it. It’s different, and I’m still adjusting, but overall we’re enjoying the carefree days and freedom to do as we please. Mornings are spent at the zoo, the beach, running errands, or just being at home. Our afternoons are still taking shape, and I have to admit that losing the guaranteed hour of quiet while the younger ones nap is a hard sacrifice. We’re still trying to work though what will work best for everyone so that I have a little bit of time to myself and everyone can get the rest that they need. Most days we find ourselves spending a bit of time reading and then either playing a game, doing a puzzle, working on a project, or chasing butterflies out front. Often times the kids are without pants, or shirts, and running around outside barefoot is completely acceptable. Dinners are typically from the grill and I’ve been having fun learning how to grill on my own.
I find myself in an odd rhythm this summer, mostly living each day as it comes and not planning things out very well. This equals a lot of fun and not so much housework, or anything else. Summer has taken on a new meaning with school-aged children, and I’m trying hard to be intentional about the time I spend with each of our children.
I wasn’t sure how the days would go being home with five children all day. I was excited about the lack of routine, but also realistic that life wasn’t going to be total bliss. Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I am enjoying this summer.
Yes, my children are literally this close to me almost every minute of each day. At least it feels that way. And there are times when I lose my cool, raise my voice, and everyone gets room time so I can recharge for a few minutes. There are no breaks, friends.
But I’m learning that I don’t have to live on breaks. When Bradley returned from his week in Sicily and experienced a taste of our summer rhythm, he said, “I don’t know how you do it.” My response was, “I literally have to breathe in and out the Spirit.”
I don’t mean that to sound super-spiritual by any means. Because I am not. I am a hot mess. I’ve realized that even though it’s summer and the kids don’t need to be out the door by any particular time, I still need to get up early and spend time with the Lord. I cannot live life in my own strength. As I immerse myself in Truth, I find the words of Scripture coming to mind more quickly throughout the day and I can lean into Jesus when it all just seems too much.
We have the gift of the Holy Spirit, but we need to rely upon Him for grace to live out the work God has for us. He works in us through the Spirit and through the Word of God. Both are necessary.
I’ve been studying 1 and 2 Thessalonians this summer, and these words that I read last week have been such an encouragement and reminder to me:
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Paul had just finished explaining the judgment that was coming for those who were causing persecution and suffering to this group of believers. And, the relief that would be granted to believers at Jesus’ second coming. We will marvel at Jesus and be glorified with Him on that day. But until then, this is how we are to live: worthy of our calling as believers, fulfilling our faith by the power of God, and glorifying the name of Christ.
Sometimes it’s tempting to think that living worthy lives and glorifying Christ can only happen through ‘big’ moments. Like a set aside time of ministry or service to others. But living in a way that glorifies Christ should happen no matter what task we find before us.
As a Mom who stays at home with my children, life can seem mundane. I keep house, care for my family and try to be a good friend and neighbor. It’s not glorious and can seem very un-worthy. But it’s not what we do that makes us worthy of our calling as God’s children. It’s who we are, whose we are, and what motivates us.
Fulfilling my faith can happen in the most mundane tasks when I choose to live by the power of the Spirit and seek to bring glory to His name. This can happen in the ordinary tasks of my day. For me, that means washing dishes, folding laundry, instructing my children, talking with friends. It happens In the moments when I want to throw up my hands and quit. Quit correcting, cleaning, settling silly disputes, trying to live at peace with everyone, striving to do my best, quit giving thanks and choosing joy when life feels out of control.
And it happens in the power of the Spirit as I breathe in the words of Truth that I’ve read and learned, and then breathe out the Spirit’s work of sanctification which enables me to love, persevere and stand firm.