One of the great blessings of a life overseas, were the beloved people we met.
Crossing cultures is no easy feat, especially when you’re working on a team, but there are so very many wonderful memories that we carry! One of my favourites is how our Nigerian teammates graciously participated with us in playing games for our Friday Fun nights, dare I say, they even began to enjoy it :) The competitiveness began to swell, but also great encouragement, as he would say, “it’s your time to shine!” (or...was it, "it's my time to shine"...)
Well, parents, this word is for us today. It’s our time to shine.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s always our time to shine. But in these tumultuous times, we need to remember that much of our parenting is caught, instead of taught. Yes, caught, not taught.
This means that we are communicating to our children, whether there are words or not. Kids are extremely perceptive to their parents’ emotions, even if the parents aren’t aware of it themselves. Our anxieties, our frustrations and our disappointments emanate from our being, in the way we talk, how we respond and what we do.
So friends, what will we do?
Let’s be honest. It’s probably going to be a long winter. We’re going to continue to navigate decisions about who we should spend time with, when to make an appointment to go get a swab done, and what activities we will participate in.
As our energy languishes, it becomes harder and harder to put that foot in front of us, to don the smile on our face and step into the challenges before us. Yet, we don’t cease to parent in a pandemic, we persist.
So, what can we do to intentionally persist in our parenting?
Teach the Word
Paul reminds Timothy “how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2Tim 3:15). It was a faithful mother and grandmother who imparted the Word of God to Timothy. Let's take up these free evenings now to spend time in family devotions or reading. No one has to run out the door to activities for the next week or two, lead your family to the Word.
We need to acknowledge our own feelings to our kids. It’s important that they know we are struggling too. Then, we shift our eyes to the truth of His Word, and model trust in God’s sovereignty. Peter encourages us, “be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3). Our flock is grazing at the kitchen table, lapping up spilled milk and occasionally choosing their own path instead of ours. This is our beautifully messy flock, and we are their example.
Keep a family gratitude journal. You can make a blessing bowl, or write the list in a journal on the table. Let’s keep track of all the things we are grateful for, even in the hard times. There is not a single day we can’t be thankful for life, health, or Jesus. And if that’s all we can muster up, it’s enough.
But we have to start the practice in order to gain momentum.
“Eucharisteo - thanksgiving - always precedes the miracle” ~Ann Voskamp
There is always hope for our tomorrow, it’s just not found in our circumstances or in this world. So, be encouraged today that your role as parents is indeed a challenging one, but can reap a harvest for eternity.
In spring we found ourselves in a total lockdown, we now find ourselves in restrictions again. May we continue to seek the grace and mercy of the Lord as we shepherd, teach and model faith to our families.
And just for fun here’s a random idea list to spend you time:
-bake something with your kids
-learn a new hobby
-play a game - one that you play at a table, not on a screen :)
-listen to an audiobook together
-start a new family tradition
-video call a missionary family, friends who live far away, or family who aren’t nearby
I’d love for this to be interactive, so comment below your favorite family traditions, hobbies or activities and how you plan to thrive in code red!
How will your family thrive in code red?