Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Don't Want To Give My Kids The World

At 11,000 ft above sea level, one can "see" everything better. Nick, Ava and I took the ski lift up to the very top of the mountain at Angel Fire last weekend. We got off the lift and proceeded to walk about a 1/2 mile to a small private lake, called Summit Lake. It was quaint. We got there, (after walking uphill at such a high elevation) and sat on the "shore". It was like all of a sudden, life stopped, but in a good way. There was no place to be, no schedule, no noise. Nick and Ava decided to go "exploring" so I stayed behind and my pregnant self sat there in some shade and just let life be still for a minute. I'm so terrible about letting life stop for a minute. In the capacity that we work, serve and participate, I just don't. It's not good to let life continue constantly without ever stopping to just be. The reality is that, between our jobs, trying to maintain as many nights a week at home together, worship ministry, Kairos ministry, etc... being still for longer than an hour or so at a time, in a place not our home can be nearly impossible. I am thankful for the time we had, even if it was just a day away, to get some fresh air, be together and to not have lots of things to do. Even the car ride was nice because we could have uninterrupted conversation and laughing together.

I'm not sure when I started thinking that a busy life was a full life. I know that when we got home from Ft. Worth I got really busy to fill in some of the gaps I felt I were made when I was away from home and "normal life" for almost 6 months. I realized later that I was trying to "feel better" by being busy and that wasn't healthy or the right answer. I have always enjoyed simple things, but I have also had this struggle to always have a plan of action, something to do, somewhere to be and lately I've just sickened myself with how much ministry(not just one certain church, but as a whole in our life), get-to-gethers, ("fellowship" as we call it), running errands, service projects, fundraisers, ball games, extra curricular events, etc. It just all piles and piles and suddenly a year has gone by and we haven't even taken the time to breathe, let alone, listen to our children, spend time with our spouse or truly enjoy some quiet.

I'm not saying we should stop going to church (trust me, that's the last thing I'm saying). I am not saying we should stop serving (by any means), the times our family serves together are precious and they are full of learning, gospel and they lay a foundation for our children that is undeniably secure. Yet, we do fill our weeks with so many things that I have been reluctant to even have Ava signed up for anything "extra" without being very careful about how much time it will take to commit her to that activity. We have had to say no to some fun events and some "fellowship".

It says in 1 Timothy about leading a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified; this is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 
Seems to me that if we weren't so busy with "stuff", but we were leading a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified that we would be pleasing to the Lord and through that lifestyle (that people would and will question incessantly) we could bring people to the Lord. THAT IS CONVICTING.
Right now, is our family life showing the peace of Christ or are we showing the world, well, the world? The Christian life is not one without stress or conflict, hard times or struggle, by any means. Yet, how much of our life are we willingly letting become overwhelming and stressful at the cost of our children's childhoods, our sanity and ultimately the time we HAVE with our families.
I've just felt so convicted and since God has been pouring into me to try to write weekly on issues I am learning, wanting to discuss, share with you, this was what I have been struggling with this whole week.

Why are we so busy? What can we do about it? How can we live the peaceful and simple life God is asking us to
(I didn't say boring, unadventurous, bland)? He doesn't want us to be boring, but he wants us to have PEACE. When did you go to bed and not lay there going through lists in your mind about what all is going on the next day? When will we decide to quit overcommitting our children to things that are so temporary? When will we decide that serving, ministry and fellowship are all GOOD things but they don't have to dominate our schedule? I know I don't actually understand this right? I only have a 4 yr old that isn't even in an extra curricular activity yet. I know, I just don't understand. Do I? Here is the thing. I want to create a plan and a foundation for our home while my kids are little so that we won't have to re-learn or back track later into some new lifestyle that doesn't make sense after years of pushing the envelope. I want to challenge Nick and myself to be picky about what we commit to, what our children commit to and how much we extend ourselves. Church will always be a priority to our family, 1 other ministry outside of church will be high on the list, 1 activity at a time for our children is totally acceptable and seeing how they get interested in things such as music, etc. We will evaluate as they grow. Deciding to say no to an event or a get-together is ok and also planning to attend and being a part of those things are healthy and awesome for our family.

My heart: may we not lose sight of the goal of the family by being a busy group of people who happen to live together. Nick and I have 18 years to mold, shape and develop our children into adults who will then go out and be the followers of Christ and model citizens God has asked us to raise them as. Will lots of activities and mindless busy-ness make that happen? I don't think so. I think intentional involvement in Biblical learning, growing with other Christians, serving the least of these, being intentional about teaching our children the value of hard work, service, sacrificial giving, etc. are all the goal. I don't want Ava to know 3 instruments, take voice lessons, play basketball, golf for fun and be in every club at school just so she'll go off to college and then me "be shocked" that she doesn't find a church home, leaves her faith all together and begins to make foolish choices because she is FREE. Lord help me if I spend the next 14 years making her busy and not feeding her spirit.

God, may we cherish our children and may we feed their souls, nurture their minds, teach them your ways, give them grace all while disciplining according to your word and truth SO THAT they can be vessels for your love and gospel WHEREVER they go.

I want to give the world to Ava (I thought). No, I want to GIVE HER JESUS. I want to give her a life that IS FULL of HIS WORD, HIS LOVE, HIS SPIRIT, HIS WAYS. I want her to love Jesus and love her life with him, not resent the church, her parents or feel like she can escape when she is out from under us.

Let us slow down the pace. Let us take TIME to teach. May we enjoy the quiet sometimes. May we make the efforts to get out of our 8-5 routine and show our children God's world, let's give our kids the opportunity to serve, minister, sacrifice and grow through sharing GOd's love and his gospel everywhere we find ourselves.

Be convicted (alongside me) but be encouraged that FRUIT will come from our efforts and we will never regret making the hard decisions.


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