How To Survive Thrive This Summer …for moms
Then Jesus said to the centurion:
“Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.”
And his servant was healed in that moment.
The ranting of disappointed, disillusioned moms who dread the long weeks ahead have already begun broadcasting all over cyberspace. And every time I read those words my heart hurts. Because I heard those words too.
Listening in to those conversations between mothers, I knew that it was me who would mess up my mom’s world in the weeks ahead, and me who would instigate and perpetuate those arguments.
It was me who would be in the way.
Somehow I failed to see the smiles beneath the words. I didn’t know she didn’t mean it. Had no clue that this is just the talk of moms in the trenches, a sort of bravado between friends.
And every chance I got I skipped down the path, scampering as fast as my awkwardness would carry me to Caroline’s house. And there, in that house by the edge of the woods, I reveled in my best friend’s mom’s welcome.
Anita Joslyn saw summers so differently than any others that I still warm with the memories of being loved by her “a cuppa tea solves everything, luv” kindness.
Anita Joslyn full on cried through the last week of summer! She lamented our going back to school. That last week before school resumed was a mournful celebration of every good memory she’d made for us over the summer months.
She took us to have cake at her favorite bakery. She painted our toe-nails stylish yellow, made us toast spread with Nutella. She took us for rides in her forest green Jaguar, held a sleep over to get every last drop of fun out of our last days.
Gosh, I loved her.
Somehow, I think Anita Joslyn knew something most mothers seem to miss. She believed that her children were a gift to be cherished. And she chose to embrace one longing-to-be-cherished best friend as well.
And so, for these first weeks of summer break, I want to imagine with you how summers might be a time for thriving. Of cherishing your children.
I am asking the Father to show us how create a summer in which you and your children can thrive. A summer so sweet that maybe you’ll create a life long memory for your kids… and a friend in need.
For today, here are two essentials:
1. Take time to readjust your thinking about motherhood.
Most of us once longed to be mothers. We cried over Hallmark commercials and couldn’t wait to be the center of the celebration on Mother’s Day.
What we didn’t do was count the cost. In our idealistic dreams we imagined our pink-cheeked cherubs sweetly crowning us with daisy chains, drifting off to sleep while we bustled about creating the perfect home.
The truth is, motherhood and family and nurturing children is relentlessly hard work. Managing two or three people while actually getting something done takes effort and focus and planning and goal setting. And yet we know that everything worth doing well is worth doing right, and that includes raising our children.
What if we reimagined summer as an important project to manage? Using our skills and energy and imagination to purposefully pour into our children, to create those kinds of I-am-cherished memories that I relish from my friend’s mom? What if we set goals? What if we planned each day on purpose— even the ones where nothing gets done?
What if we started this summer by going to God and asking Him to “heal” us and our children from the selfishness that pervades our homes?
I dare think He might say, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.”
2. Practice the discipline of thanksgiving.
Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts has opened a generation of women to the heart transforming power of giving thanks.
She writes: “Anxiety can wear anger’s mask. Fear of failing, of falling, of falling behind, it can make us fierce. The answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ.”
Then in a piece of raw honesty this week she wrote of her own angry meltdown and I ached at the memories of doing much the same and all the shame that is so hard to remember is forgiven.
She urges us to change our hearts and our minds by choosing to write thanks in lists. And she tells her story of how those lists changed her heart by setting her free.
Here’s what I hope every mama will do: Run out and get a notebook for each of your children—a simple moleskin will do. Write their name on the front. Then proceed to fill the pages with what you love about your child. Do it every day. On going-good-I’ve-got-this-days… and on those awful days you’ll someday wish you could forget.
1. The feel of his soft warmth as he snuggles you first thing in the morning.
2. Her lingering lisp that turns every sentence into sweetness.
Include triumphs of that day:
1. A moment of peace, a shared joke between siblings.
2. That time when she cleaned the toothpaste off the sink and hung the towel on it’s hook— without being asked.
DO NOT turn that notebook into a performance review. This is not a tool for manipulation, but a means of seeing and hearing Truth— the Truth that God sees and we too often miss in the midst of crazy, real, ordinary summer days.
This post is already too long and I’ve just gotten started on all my Thriving Summer thoughts. I’ll save the rest for next week and maybe many weeks ahead. But while I wait to jot down more, can you fill in the comments with your own ideas of How To Thrive This Summer? Let’s fill the summer with His goodness and pour it on each other and on our children.
From my heart,