We all move into summer with grand ideas of slowing down, and intentional soul rest, don’t we? We imagine ourselves in lazy rockers on the front porch while our ten children quietly entertain themselves with books and trikes and zero screen time because they appreciate all the excitement the outdoors has to offer. We close our eyes and smile as we picture what the warm evenings will look like, as we lock our phones away and all gather around the picnic table outside in the backyard, thanking God for the meal we grew with our own bare hands, savoring the sweetness of the berries our little ones picked with their chubby fingers. And prayer time. Oh, how much prayer time we will have now that there is no more homework or sports or lunches to pack. We just know it in our hearts … this is going to be the best, most fulfilling, Holy-Spirit-filled summer ever.
And on day two, we are pulling our hair out. By mid-July, we are completely bald.
The thing about intentional rest? It needs to be intentional. Which means, we need to plan it. I know. We are all so ready to throw away those rigid routines and schedules and daily planners. We want to live barefoot and carefree and allow the Spirit to guide our days. And He will. However, in my own personal experiences of summers past, what I have learned is this: if you do not plan out your rest, rest will never come.
You see … at least for me … summer makes me lazy. And Lord knows, after the year I have endured, I deserve a little lazy. But here is the problem with that. If I leave my day up to me, with no guidelines and no borders, and nothing planned, pretending that I am Joanna Gaines …. those places of vulnerability … those weaknesses in me … they become more exposed to you know who.
And so when the kids are all on screens and not on trikes (and my youngest is twelve and oldest nineteen so it would be strange if they rode trikes) and when we, in fact, did not grow our dinner from the garden but rather ordered it from the pizza place, because news flash … we don’t have a garden … and when that required summer reading for the kids doesn’t happen until two days before back to school because as they repeatedly tell me, “Reading is boring!” … well … it makes me a not-so-nice person.
I get frustrated. Angry. Disappointed. And let down. And then, I believe the lie that I am the worst mother and my kids are all slackers and then I go on Instagram and look at the all families who could afford to go on vacation, and all the kids around the campfire singing praise and worship because they enjoy that … all I can think is, “Yup. Another summer fail.”
And so this is where I need your help. What do you do to balance your summer? How do you schedule intentional soul rest and quiet time with the Lord, without your children being raised by the X-Box? If all day summer camps and vacations are not in your budget, how do you get creative in entertaining your older children … who, remember … hate books. (Lord have mercy on them!)
And how do you maintain your prayer life and stay connected to the Vine, when you are surrounded by people who appear to be on a mission to cut that vine branch off … who constantly need you … who look to you to provide the constant entertainment … even though their father is in the very next room?
I would love to hear your suggestions! Because summer is here, and I am dying for rest, and I will bet you are, too. I pray we can use this space to share our ideas and give needed encouragement and have a good conversation … from your favorite summer reads for the mama’s soul, to affordable entertainment for the family … heck, I will even take a simple “me too.”
I just know that together, we are stronger … and I could use some additional strength now … before the boredom and frustration sets in.
My prayer is that when the end of August comes, we can sit on that lazy front porch rocker together feeling refreshed and renewed; still connected to the vine and sporting a full head of hair.
Copyright 2018 Laura Mary Phelps