School is officially out, and my children have all been home together for a few weeks now. I had grand dreams early on of making sure our summer days were organized and well charted out for optimal productivity and fun. But like most expectations with kids, it’s only been a week, and they’ve been completely shattered. Craft time turned into chaos. Play time was full of fighting. And rather than being a curator of fun, I’ve found myself functioning like a referee and snack vending machine more than anything else.
We’ve had a lot of family “together” time, and I had dreamed it’d go smoother, but it seems like chaos has reigned instead of calm. And yet, we’ve also had a lot of opportunities for growth. My kids have witnessed me at the end of my rope, but they also watched me apologize and ask for forgiveness. They might have completely wrecked the house, but they also learned that it takes hard work to put everything back in order. But mostly, I was reminded that motherhood is less about creating opportunities for productivity and fun, and more about pointing my kids to our deep need for Jesus.
Here are three practical ways I’m letting my kids see my great need for Jesus this summer:
1. Get in the Word. In an article encouraging moms to get in the Word, Sarah Welch said, “You will not magically carve out time for scripture reading if all you do is give in to the impulses and demands of your day.” I’ve felt this truth deeply these last few days. As I’ve run from one child’s need to the other’s, I’ve been tempted to neglect spending time with God. But one thing that I’ve loved is stopping amidst the chaos and cracking open my Bible. As our kids see me make time for Jesus, they see that it is important.
There have been multiple instances where time was especially chaotic, and I’ve proclaimed, “Alright, Mommy needs some time with Jesus.” My kids know that this means that Mom is breaking out her Bible or worship music and is going to sit down for a few minutes. Sometimes it’s only 10 minutes, but other times I can get 30 or 40 minutes. Among piles of dirty laundry and a messy kitchen, my kids see their mom’s desperate need for Jesus as I put down important things and make time for the most important thing.
2. Practice repentance. There’s nothing quite like humbling yourself and apologizing, and it seems like these last few days I’ve been saying my fair share of apologies. Just today, after I was short with one of our girls, I sat down beside her and asked for her forgiveness. Her reply? “It’s OK mom, I forgive you. No one is perfect, and we all need Jesus.” I about started weeping as she exemplified the good news of Jesus over me.
Now, to be honest, my kids aren’t as great at asking for repentance. What can I say? We’re working on it. But I am praying that as they see me repent and confess my deep need for a Savior, they’ll come to understand that they need Jesus too.
3. Name God’s goodness. Nothing displays our great need for a Savior than by pointing out his good provision. Throughout the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, God repeatedly told his people to remember and recount his goodness. That is great wisdom for today; because as much as we want to remember, humans are prone to forgetting. So, this summer we’re practicing remembering God’s goodness and pointing out his provision. We’re learning and proclaiming that “every good and perfect thing comes from above” (James 1:17). Whenever we see something good, we’re naming it and thanking God for it.
It sounds a bit cheesy and impractical, but it’s rather simple. When leaving a fun playdate with friends, we thank God for the good gift of time with people we love. When we watch a movie that we enjoy, we thank God for the good gift of art and creativity and time with family. Around the dinner table, we ask our kids questions, and one of them is, “How have you seen the goodness of God today?” We’re mostly stumbling our way through this whole parenting gig, but more than making our kids’ summer “the best one ever,” we want to train them to remember and recount God’s good hand in their lives.
Summer is a great time to slow down and spend time as a family. It can also be a season where we are tempted to fill up our days with fun and good things, and in an attempt to do it all, we can neglect the most important thing: showing our kids our deep need and love of Jesus. In the midst of the chaos, fun, and togetherness of summer, if you do nothing else, show your kids your great need for a Savior. Show how he changes not just your life on Sundays, but the ordinary days in between.