936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
She was born a triplet, a baby smack dab in the middle of two other babies: a business and a book.
We welcomed her into a whirlwind of business plans and book launch events. Arriving only two weeks after the publication of my book, our daughter came into a busy season. Although, isn’t every season busy? It wasn’t exactly the plan, to juggle OBGYN appointments around radio interviews. One interview I quite literally did from the front seat of my car in the hospital parking lot after an appointment ran late.
No, it wasn’t the plan to have a baby in the midst of building tiny homes and publishing a book. But four kids in, we’ve learned that life goes on despite our plans. Often, it’s better than anything we could have orchestrated or forced. Family, it seems, is something we do amidst the busyness. The question is whether we’ll choose our kind of busy, instead of letting it choose us.
I’ll always remember a sweet friend, in the weeks before my book launch and with my girl about to arrive, encouraging me, “Just remember, that baby is more important than a book launch.” I had brought a child into the world three times before. This was my first book, and a three-year labor of love. I needed those words from my friend. We need them each and every day, these sweet reminders that jolt us back into perspective and cause us to question what is most important. And, once we acknowledge the most important things, to ask ourselves whether our life reflects those values.
During those months of sleepless newborn nights, early morning cuddles, book signings and interviews, I found myself grateful for the crazy dynamic and new kind of busy. Yes, because both bringing a baby and a book into the world were beautiful, rewarding ventures. But also, because it forced me to constantly reevaluate our busyness. To ask myself questions like these:
Does my agenda reflect our family values?
Am I trying to force success, or am I being faithful in the key roles God has called me to: follower of Jesus, wife, mama, writer.
Am I placing the urgent before the important?
In twenty years, when my children are grown, will I look back on this season and be satisfied with how I spent it?
Many times, my answers to those questions were out of alignment. But that is their purpose. They are a heart-check. They are meant to push and prod, to peel back motives, to place pressure on weak spaces and call us to better things. They bring into question what kind of busyness we’re choosing for our family, and whether it is wheat or chaff.
I believe God calls us to a certain level of busyness. Proverbs 14:23 tells us, “All hard work brings a profit, mere talk leads only to poverty.” And 13:4, “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” But hard work and busyness are not always the same thing. The danger is that we’ll slip from hard work to empty busyness, and I don’t want that for my family. Instead, I want my children to see their Daddy and me working hard toward our goals, for God’s glory and our family’s good. I don’t want them to see our wall calendar filled with activities that don’t contribute to our values or dreams. I want them to see the depth and breadth of all we pursue, to look at our life and, in all of its facets, to see the reflection of eternity.
I want to choose the kind of busy that I can invite my children into. A busy they can get on board with. The type of busy where they feel a deep sense of mission and reward. A busy that won’t leave them exhausted and confused about what we’re living for, but well rested and fulfilled, and with a better understanding of what God has created them for.
I have come to believe that life will always be busy, and rightly so. Right along with that belief comes a determination to choose the right kind of busy, one that models to our children living courageously, generously, faithfully, and adventurously. I want them to learn right along with us how to choose our type of busy, so that we can choose when to play and rest, also.
I look back on that year of a business, a book, and a baby and I don’t see a blur of activity. I see our daughter. I see her beautiful contribution to wrapping up our family. I see my husband, tired from a day of building, holding his baby girl at the end of the night. I see myself, glimpsing the entire message of my book reflected in the blue of her eyes, beckoning me to live out what I had just sent out into the world. This baby born right next to two other “babies”, could have arrived vying for attention. Instead, she complimented what we were doing. And our pursuits complimented our time with her. When we choose the right type of busy, it doesn’t infringe on our family life, it magnifies it.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!