Parenting Spiritual Growth

Day 8 – Making Room .. Be Diligent to Rest


Welcome  to Day 8 of Parenting Pointers and Mommy Refreshers. 
My heart is to bless you this month as I write 31 days filled with nuggets of parenting wisdom.  Each one is followed by a refresher to help you fix your eyes on Jesus and let your burdens go to Him.  Sit with God in this moment.  Find a place where you can breathe and hear from Him.  
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Today’s Parenting Pointer
Making Room
I’ve been thinking a lot about how things get squeezed out when we have children.  It is for the best of reasons that our life has to shift – plate tectonics has nothing on what we have to do to accommodate a new member of the family.  
Yet, I think God really means for us to shift with the changes.  It’s sort of like how the New Covenant isn’t the same as the Old, but it doesn’t cancel out the Old, it fulfills it.  When we have children we aren’t meant to delete ourselves – but to complete ourselves in a way that includes what we were before and more.  
If you had asked me in the first year of our parenting journey if I thought I was “completing” anything, I would have laughed – a very groggy laugh at that, the kind that goes on into sleep-deprived hysterics if you aren’t careful.  We had started building our new home when I was six months pregnant and then we moved when my son was three months old, only my husband’s new job wasn’t going to start for two more months so he remained in our old town – two hours away – except for weekends.  Our friends just happened to get a job change to our new town, so they moved in with me in the new home (yes, while my husband only came to our new home on the weekends) and I had my first baby.  Oh, did I forget to mention we had just gotten our foster daughter the week after we moved in?  Yeah.  Crash course in parenting.  So, my idea of “devotions” was either singing worship songs as I nursed my son or cruising by the open Bible which I kept on the cookbook stand in the kitchen, grabbing a snack of a verse or two to keep myself spiritually nourished.  
We’ve come a long way since those days.  That baby is now almost 13, is taller than me and has a voice of a man.  My youngest is about to turn six.  Even in this season managing my time is essential as a mom.  Making room still matters.  I still have big choices to make about my “yes” and “no” answers.  Do I spend an hour on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus, or do I organize the garage, or do I go out and ride bikes with the boys?  (um, not the garage, usually)  And what about maintaining friendships?  How do I fit those essential relationships into my home educating, part-time working, blogging, writing, mentoring, speaking schedule?  
The answer is that we have to be creative as moms.  We can’t expect to have as much free time or flexibility as when we didn’t have children.  We have to build things in and make room for what matters.  I talk with my friends on long commutes to LA twice a month.  I call them when the boys have friends over.  I make playdates with my friends (isn’t that what playdates are for?) while my kids hang out with their children.  I have carved out time almost every six weeks (more often through the summer) to welcome other home educators into our home to share, encourage and pray.  My husband and I have some of our  “dates” in our living room after the boys are in bed.  We sometimes ask families over after church for lunch (we’d be eating anyway and this allows us to connect with people we don’t get to otherwise see).  Life gets full and our availability shifts, but it doesn’t have to mean we give up time reading the Bible and praying, connecting with others and nurturing our own soul.  We can fit in much when we make room and choose the most important things to put into our days and weeks.  As my sweet friend and prayer partner reminded me this evening, this season won’t last – choose well.  
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Be Refreshed
Be Diligent to Rest
I’m just so intrigued with what God says in Hebrews 4:9 –
Be diligent to enter into rest
Diligence has never been something I associated with rest.  When I think of diligence I think of studying for mid-term exams.  You have to apply yourself and work hard to get to a goal.  I picture hard work and somehow the idea of rest just isn’t compatible.  So, I’ve been asking God about what it means to be diligent to enter into rest.  I think that it is like is the salmon run when all the fish have to jump up the falls to go against the current.  The current of the world – even of our own soul will cause us to remain busy and never rest if we aren’t diligent.  We have to focus on rest as a goal and pursue it with effort.  Swimming upstream seems to be part of how God operates in so many arenas and seeking rest is no different.  
Simultaneously we are exhorted to make the most of our time because the days are evil {Eph 5:16}  Again, doesn’t that just reek of burning the candle at both ends, saying “yes” to all service commitments and requests on our time?  It seems like we must do, do, do to make the most of our time.  Do we?  Is entering rest a contradiction to making the most of our time?   
When you have an infant or toddler, you hold one time of day as almost sacred: you know it – naptime.  Rest.  When that need isn’t met, we will all pay the price.  Could it be we never really outgrow that need?  I’m starting to think that making the most of our time has much more to do with knowing when “yes” is appropriate and when “no” is just as good if not better.  When we choose well – according to what we know we have to offer, what we sense God has for us and what aligns with how God made us, we are far more likely to make the most of our time.  
What about this “yes”?  This week a sweet friend actually read me an entire chapter of a book as I was driving to LA for work.  She read to me from Lysa Turkeurst’s book “The Best Yes.”  I’m buying it.  I have written before about letting our yes be yes and our no be no – in parenting and in life.  Lysa draws out such goodness and sets her own life as an example of pursuing what she was made for rather than just flowing along with the current and missing the boat altogether.  
I challenge you – and me – to think about how we seek rest and whether we are diligent in the pursuit of rest.  Then think about what you say “yes” and “no” to and whether it is really making the most of the time.  I want to look back not having missed some of the deepest dreams of my heart – and I want that for you too. 
I pray you found a breath of fresh air here and a moment to reflect and recharge your battery.  If you have missed any of this series, all the posts can be found here.  Come back any or every day this month to get another Parenting Pointer and Mommy Refresher.  And, as always, I do love hearing from you.  Let me know how I can pray for you or if something I wrote here touched you. 
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