Being a mom of three girls, there are moments in my week that I recognize that I am having the same thoughts over and over. I think them, realize I am too busy in the moment to do anything about them, and then save them for the next week. Usually the thoughts come while I am sitting and watching my daughter’s basketball game, finishing up the dishes, or hurrying through the folding of the last load of laundry for the night. One of those repetitive weekly thoughts is that I am not doing enough.
Of course I am doing enough work… as do most moms. But what I mean is, there is this nagging feeling that I am not doing enough to teach my girls about who God is. Who He REALLY is. Don’t get me wrong, we have always attended and served at church faithfully. We have always participated in small groups, Worship nights, and Sunday School. My children even attend a Christian school. (Well at least they do when there isn’t a global pandemic). But how often am I intentionally investing in the spiritual lives of my children? And not as a side effect of how I am living my life. But as the goal?
If I am honest, not often enough.
This season of rest, as we are calling it, where the world has had to close up shop for a bit, has helped us to re-evaluate as a family. What are we spending our time, our resources, our finances on? Are they the things God has called us to do as parents? Even though it would appear that we are from the outside, this nagging feeling I have in my heart begs to differ.
Hormones. Boys. Grades. College Choices. Friends. Gossip. Insecurity.
All the things that come with raising girls, all the conversations we seem to have over and over. How are we teaching our girls to navigate these things through the eyes of Jesus? If I am honest, I felt like there would always be time for that later. I needed to deal with the here and now.
In reality, these things are the here and now. These things are the things that our children are living in the age and space that they are in. And it is my responsibility as a mother to teach them how to navigate all those emotions and choices as they face them. Not when I have time. And not when it is convenient.
So this space. This social distancing, staying at home, depending on each other space. It’s been so good for us. We now have the time to sit down and pull apart verse by verse chunks of Scripture to make sure they understand it. We now have the time to answer all the questions they thought were foolish to ask. We now have the time to pray and worship together after dinner.
This past week, we started in the book of James. We didn’t have a plan or an agenda or a specific Bible study guide. Just God’s word and open hearts. As we started to read, we found words that encouraged our family and I believe will set the tone as we ride out this Coronavirus wave, however long it may last.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
Although the girls had heard this verse many times, I never asked them to explain to me what they thought it meant. My girls are ages 10, 13, and 16, and all three had a different thoughts.
“How can we have joy when we are being tested? That doesn’t make sense.”
“I thought God didn’t test us?”
“I thought endurance was for like running and stuff.”
It quickly became clear that we needed to spend some time explaining how God can use our trials to grow us. The result of the discussion on that section helped us land on one word: stronger. By the end of this season, this test and trial, we would have the endurance to trust God in a new way. Our faith would be stronger.
The other half of the discussion that night focused on James 1:12.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Could it be that there was a blessing on the other side of this season? Looking around the room at our family, our forced rest, our renewed sense of who God was, we already were experiencing God’s hand of blessing. Yes, we are incredibly blessed.
So as we hit hard moments…….volleyball is canceled for the season and summer camp is closed: Stronger and Blessed.
As we have to get creative when the store is out of toilet paper: (Flushable wipes to the rescue) Blessed and Stronger and Blessed.
When we are cooking from the freezer for the third night in a row because it still seems unsafe to go to the grocery store: Stronger and Blessed.
And when we realize that this time has brought us closer together, that we have time for long and meaningful discussions about God’s word: Stonger and Blessed.
I am realizing that this season, when it passes, will have changed us as a family. It has opened our eyes and hearts as parents to realize that there is only one thing that matters when we are raising our kids. Jesus. Teaching them to love Jesus, and how incredibly much they are loved by Him. So much more important than basketball or laundry. Not that I mind. I have always hated the laundry.
Remember: Stronger and Blessed. You can do this!
This post was originally written by Rachael for her publisher. You can read that on their website found here: https://www.warnerpress.org/blog/post/the-hidden-blessings-of-pandemic-life