How to Not Dread Summer

Ears to the ground, I can hear the train a’ comin’………  the end of the school year. Some moms can’t wait till summer. I am not one of those moms. I think of endless hours of heat and sibling arguments and messes and empty space I am completely responsible for filling and I want to melt into the ground. Which is kinda funny, since by the end of the summer I usually bear a remarkable resemblance to Glenda’s green sister. By nature I am  a non-planning, non-kid-person introvert, people. This does not fall within my natural wheelhouse.

T-minus four weeks (three for the preschooler) and already I am clenching fists and heart-strings tighter, afraid I won’t have enough. Enough energy, patience, discipline, fun, joy, connection, creativity, money and educational experiences to give my children a fruitful summer.

I am painfully aware of the impending lack. But surely I don’t have to live this way, surely this summer can be filled by good things! Surely I am not on my own. God said He’d always be with me and I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. It’s a principle of the kingdom I’m learning to love: empty places are pregnant with promise, the very place God has plans to fill. I’ve filled the lack with dread and fear and complaining. It’s time to drain out the gunk, embrace the not-enough, and allow God to fill that empty with good things.

So I’m perusing these thought patterns to lay down old ones and embrace positive new ways of thinking.  There is always a way to find fullness where I fear lack. “Poverty is the fear of not getting,” I heard recently. This poverty mentality has got to go!

If you know me, you know I like to ask questions of myself and God. Here are some conversation starters, if you’d like to join me:  Why do I go straight to not enough every summer? Why does it feel like Fulsom Prison when we are home and free and together, as God intended? He gave me these awesome kiddos, and He has amazing ways of filling our family time with good things. In His economy, there is MORE THAN ENOUGH for us. In His heart, Summer 2016 is gonna be fun and sweet and restful and eye-opening and recalibrating.  

My questions, then, turn away from me and toward my Help In Time of Need. (Sweet Lord this definitely qualifies as a TIME OF NEED.) His promise is true – I am not alone! I have a parenting partner who lives inside me and “takes from what is the Father’s and discloses it to me.” (John 14 and 16.)

I wonder, God, what we have to look forward to this summer?

Long ago You wrote these June and July days in Your book. What are You looking forward to on these pages?

What do you have for us? What is on the edge of your hand that you are wanting to pour out over our family?

Is there a theme or starting point you’d like to give us for summer 2016?

When I start freaking out, how can I find You?

What scripture can I hold onto to help me recalibrate?

What are some fun things we can do together?

How can we give ourselves away?

Who can we serve together?

What are a couple educational experiences?

For each child, what area of growth can we focus on?

What do you see in them that I have yet to see?

How can we freshly invest in each one’s giftings and talents?

 

Somewhere in these answers, the truth comes through…

Even though my kids outnumber me, I am not alone.

I have the Holy Spirit within me to help me.

I have a community of neighbors and friends around me.

There is more than enough, I just need to ask.

I am the queen of my home and I can set a positive, expectant tone here.

Summer can be fun!

These dialogues are a much healthier way of framing summer. If you are in the same boat, I’d encourage you to take pen to paper and dialogue with the Lord about it. And let’s be a support to each other! We can do this!

God, thank you for not leaving me alone as a mom. Forgive me for speaking negative things over my life, for limiting my family to what I can do on my own. Forgive me for forgetting all the ways you’ve helped me parent these children through the years. Forgive me for all the ways I’ve closed my fists when You’re waiting to give me good gifts. Forgive me for all the times I’ve shut my ears to your Spirit of Truth waiting to give me ideas from the Father. Help me change my filter? Speak to me? Instead of complaining, I want to simply ask and receive all the ideas, energy, kindness, funds, administrative discipline, and grace you have for me in the coming weeks. Help me remember to look to You as My source, to partner with You in raising these kids. They are surely Your gift to me, and if You gave me these children, You’ll also give me what I need to rear them well.

Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son.  Let Me say it again: if you ask for anything in My name, I will do it.  If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you.  I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, who will remain constantly with you.  The world does not recognize the Spirit of truth, because it does not know the Spirit and is unable to receive Him. But you do know the Spirit because He lives with you, and He will dwell in you. I will never abandon you like orphans; I will return to be with you.  In a little while, the world will not see Me; but I will not vanish completely from your sight. Because I live, you will also live.  At that time, you will know that I am in the Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who loves Me will do the things I have commanded. My Father loves everyone who loves Me;

and I will love you and reveal (disclose) My heart, will, and nature to you.

John 14:13-21, The Voice

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