Monday, July 28, 2014

The Home Front

I'm always amazed at how quickly we can slide into coasting mode at the start of summer. But now with school starting next week, we have opportunity to start new, to get our family life in order.  However, summer is not the only time we struggle with coasting.  One of the greatest struggles of parenting is engaging for the long haul. 

Years in youth ministry has provided some perspective in this area.  We've seen it happen again and again.  Parents focus on the accomplishments of their older kids and breathe a sigh of arrival.  The fruit of their labors paid off.  But now they are too worn out to be intentional about raising the younger siblings.  

Growing up number eight in a family of ten, I know what it is to be one of the 'littles'.  We watched our older siblings go off to follow their dreams, but us 'littles' were still kids . . . still in need of our parents and their involvement in our lives.

Now that I am a parent, with a set of older children and some 'littles' of my own, I can better understand the difficulty of raising children as we age.  There is less energy and some hope has faded as we reap the fruit of our mistakes or, in the case of our successes, pride.  It takes great effort to continue raising the 'littles' with the same energy and passion of our younger years. 

This is why, when my husband recently returned home from a missions trip, that tinge of regret at staying home did not bother me too much.  Staying home was my attempt at being intentional with my younger daughters.  (One attempt at least)

Some three years ago, I had made a promise . . . to make them each a quilt.  They picked out the fabric and designed a theme.  After starting the project, life marched ahead at full speed.  The quilt blocks got tucked away in a box, placed on the back burner, only to gnaw at my conscience.  It was time to resurrect this project. 

By now the fabric seemed juvenile, and so we considered starting over with different fabric.  But no, they wanted me to finish these.  

You should have seen their delight at the finished project! 

Well, the first stage anyway.  I have yet to complete the tedious part, the quilting.  But I'm planning bit by bit, to have them done in time for cold weather.

Years ago, God opened my eyes to a hard truth.  Though the need of ministry might seem urgent, I must keep my family as a priority.  It is often hard to find that balance. 

Next year my middle child will be in high school and so I look forward to more missions trips with the youth, but for this time, staying home was the right choice.  This was our first week of the summer with virtually no schedule, responsibilities, or appointments.  It was time well spent.   I hope I never underestimate the power of rest or time spent with my children.  (Yes, to sew and be domestic, is sometimes therapeutic for me.)

I am encouraged when I keep this truth ever before me:  God has a plan and purpose not only for me, but for my children as well.  He is forming them for His purpose and glory.  As I stumble and bumble through parenting, all is grace, God's grace, which carries them through to adulthood.  

1 comment:

  1. This post was very encouraging to me. I struggle with having energy to put into my younger children and this is a good reminder that we need to keep on keeping on. The quilts are beautiful and I can see why the girls love them. Thanks for making my day. Love, Blossom