Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Christian Mom's Guide to Surviving Summer

Summer hasn’t even “officially” started and you can feel your sanity slipping away. Not because of too much time with the kids. Sure, they can get on your nerves from time to time, but you truly feel your calling to be a mom and you enjoy raising your kids. It’s a privilege, not a chore. But summertime can be messy.

Why - every year - does the chaos of summer schedules surprise us?  

As the days started to grow longer,
  • You longed for the end of school so that you’d have more free time in your schedule.  But now that summer is here, your calendar is already jam packed.

  • You eagerly awaited kids sleeping late so you could extend your quiet time with the Lord.  But the kids are awake at the crack of dawn, excited for new adventures.  

  • You daydreamed of warm, relaxing summer evenings.  But tempers flare by twilight because everyone feels overtired.

  • You imagined you could be a fun and ever-so-patient mom.  But neglecting your solitude and quiet time has you feeling frazzled.

I’ve been there. Most every mom either feels or has felt what you’re experiencing right now.  There’s no time for a quiet thought, let alone an hour of prayer.  

But there’s hope. With God, we know there always is.  When life seems to go haywire and the last thing you want to do is push God out of your schedule, remember - you have control. You can take the steps necessary to make sure summer is fun for the kids and rewarding for yourself, too.  

Here are 7 simple suggestions:

1. See Time as a Valuable Commodity.  In the summer, it’s easy to think you’ll have all the time in the world, but there are the same number of hours in a day when it snows as there are when it sizzles. You can find more free time your calendar, but you’ll have to purposely schedule that margin. As a family, determine the priorities for your time and then schedule those things first - to include free time. Seek God before saying yes. Slowing down and remembering to prayerfully consider your activities can increase peace and alleviate chaos.

2. Stay in God’s Word.  Your quiet, morning devotions may be on hold during this season, but you can continue to meditate on Scripture. Carry notecards that you’ll see several times during the day. Or choose verses that you can memorize together as a family while you drive from place to place.  Put the verses to a familiar melody and sing them until they're memorized. 

3. Prioritize Worship Gatherings.  The Bible teaches that we aren’t to stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but to encourage one another (see Hebrews 10:25). Take that to heart. Think of worship time as a source of fuel for your empty tank.  The rest of your week is sure to be more pleasant if you attend church together as a family.

4. Find Ways to Talk About God.  We learn in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Summer is a great time to share just who God is in your personal life. Lay on the soft grass, look for shapes in the clouds, and share your heart about Christ. 

5. Sneak in some Bible Study Time.  You’re sure to have “bleacher butt” from time to time. Instead of reading magazines, novels, or checking Facebook while the team warms up, bring your Bible Study book. If you need to avoid conversation to do this, it’s okay to sit away from the other parents until the game starts.

6. Get Enough Rest. Everyone will be better for this. Make Sundays a day of rest with no planned activities after church other than simple, family life together. Take a nap (all of you), or at the very least, head to bed a little earlier.  Remember, God didn’t create man for sabbath, but sabbath for man (see Mark 2:27). It’s a gift from the Father. Delight in it.

7. Enjoy Every Moment Together. Consider creating a family gratitude journal or thankfulness jar. Collect the moments and memories for which you thank God and review them as a family before the school season starts again. 

May these suggestions help you not just survive, but savor the summer and provide you with memories you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Your Turn:

How have you learned to guard your time in the summer months?

What’s your best tip for summer survival?

Share your thought in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. 

Be Strengthened today, by His Word,

Psalm 119:28

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