29 Jun Summer Breeze, Makes Me Feel….Crazy?
One step outside reminds us that summer is here, and we are graced with opportunities to live life in a different rhythm. If you have little ones, you already know that you are living by a different “clock.” I remember being a little shell-shocked during the first weeks of summer, with the kids home, and long days stretching ahead of us. But I also loved the freedom summer brought, allowing us to life live a little differently. I am ALMOST a little jealous of those of you with littles. My husband used to meet us at the pool after work, with pizza in hand, and we would enjoy a picnic and an after-dinner swim, before putting the boys into their pajamas in the pool locker room, anticipating the luxurious reward of having them practically sleep walk to bed.
The teacher in me meant that I tried to provide at least some variety and structure, and our summers were sprinkled with library visits, museum trips, swim team, rainy days spent reading playing games on the porch, and catching lightning bugs. We also tried to find different ways to love and serve our neighbors with our newfound time, and my now-grown sons still have lots of stories of our days delivering Meals on Wheels.
At Calvary we’ve been talking about the Four Keys to Growing Faith at Home. And summer provides ample opportunities to put some of these “keys” into practice,
If you are a planner (and I am, please don’t judge), it may help spend some time thinking and praying about the “tone” you want this summer to ring. You have an opportunity to branch out and take advantage life of lived with less “outside” obligations. Like signing THAT.HOMEWORK.FOLDER.
The summer months can be integral in drawing families together, creating memories and deepening relationships…and with just a bit of intention we can also grow deeper in faith together. Our relationship with God is bound up in our relationships with those whom we love and live with, and summer often brings important milestone events for families–graduations, vacations, festivals and holidays, just to name a few. If we mark these events with an intentional faith effort then not only do we acknowledge God’s presence at the event, but also in our memory of the event through the years.
Below are just a few ways you can “grow” faith at home during the summer months. Please don’t feel like you have to try all of these at once…this is a starting place, and will hopefully spark some ideas of your own:
- Practice being present: We are so tied to our screens, that we have to text our kids to get them to come to dinner. Have a “no screens” day. Okay. Half a day. But practice being still and just listening to your children. Use dinner time to share the highs and lows from your day, and then turn them into a prayer.
- Chalk Jesus: if your kids love to display their artwork on the sidewalk…join them, and challenge them to illustrate their favorite Bible story, or character. Or, you could just quietly join them and draw your favorite passage/story/character, and when you view your “exhibits” you can share why this particular story has meaning for you.
- Expand your reading material: during your reading time – whether it’s at bedtime or during an afternoon siesta, weave in some Bible stories. Take turns picking the stories. Make a family challenge to try to see how quickly you can get through a children’s Bible. (I still love the children’s Bible.)
- Wonder: About everything. Encouraging the practice of “wonder” demonstrates a posture of curiosity and an appreciation for the vast creativity of our God. At the zoo “I wonder why God made porcupines;” or at the beach, “I wonder why God decided to make jellyfish.” Model stillness by sneaking out with coffee and a Bible to greet the morning, and wonder at the sunrise.
- Love your Neighbors: Summer presents different ways to practice serving together as a family. Bake cookies for your local fire station, be sneaky and bring your neighbors’ trash cans up before they notice. Bring extra trashbags (oh, and gloves) and help clean up the park. Grow vegetables to donate to a local foodbank. Cook dinner together for a family with a new baby.
- Practice Grace: I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that summer, long days, bored children, and hours in the car don’t always bring out the best…in any of us. Make a point to turn a time-out into a “begin again.” Pray together about short tempers, and ask for softened hearts. And if mom or dad is the one who “loses it” – don’t hesitate to apologize to your children for a lost temper, trying to separate their misbehavior from your reaction. Remind one another that love is kind.
Director of Family Ministry and Communications
If you want to read more about Growing Faith at Home, click HERE