Laughter permeated the family room. Giggles and muffled words hovered in the air, distracting me from my task at hand. The joyous sounds indicated they were keeping their end of the bargain as I had mine. Earlier, I swam at the neighborhood pool with my kids in exchange for quiet time. I settled myself on the couch as my children marched outside upon our return home. Appropriately dressed in bathing suits, all three kids collaborated to suspend the garden hose on the trampoline. The hot southern sun demanded the cool contrast on the black canvas.
I opened my book as they delightfully jumped in the mist. Their cheers and happy squeals overwhelmed my ears and made it difficult to concentrate. My eyes skimmed over words for a second time, none of them registering. A battle of curiosity and desire to focus ensued.
I snuck outside to snap a picture. A long summer of refereeing petty fights called for the documentation of a rare peaceful moment: all three kids cheerfully playing together. I attempted to avoid detection but my youngest caught me.
“Momma! Stay out here!” she requested.
“It’s too hot!” I quickly replied as I slipped back inside. She stared at the door, waiting for my return. I peered at her from my cool, air-conditioned kitchen, waiting for her response. She turned back to play after a few moments and I sat back down on the couch with my Bible study. Uneasiness bubbled within me.
I glanced down at the open book on my lap. The Holy Spirit stirred in my heart. My eyes trailed to the window. Go, and jump. Summer is nearly over. Be with your kids. God challenged me to spend quality time with my children. I had to trust that He would, in turn, provide me with the quality time I needed with Him.
Being outside in the sweltering heat is not my idea of fun, unless I am at the beach. I love my kids but I despise sweating. I slowly climbed the stairs to my bedroom. This turn of events would require a wardrobe change. It also gave God time to change His mind and beckon me back to the Bible study. He did not change His mind.
Enthusiastic hellos greeted me as I walked to the trampoline. The smiles on my kid’s faces transformed to pure exuberance as my intent sunk in. I had abandoned my study to jump with them: hose, heat and all.
The heat eventually forced us inside. My Bible study called me, but God continued to impress upon my heart the importance of quality time with my children. I set my materials aside and asked my kids to pick out a movie. I quietly prayed over my kids as we sat together on the couch, eating popcorn and watching a cheesy Netflix film.
Jesus commissioned all believers to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:18) As Christian moms, grandmas, guardians and caregivers, we are tasked with raising disciples in our homes. Simply engaging our little ones and being present is a beautiful way to model Christ’s love. I have a tendency to prioritize chores and other random things on my “to do” list at the expense of quality time with my children. On this beautiful day, God urged me to look outside the box. I could spend time with Him while enjoying the beautiful gifts He bestowed me.
My kids moved on to the playroom after the movie, and the Lord id indeed give me the opportunity to spend some quiet time with Him. Peace filled me. Thank You, Lord, for the time with my children. You are a good, good Father.
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!
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