Summer Joy or Summer Dread?

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With summer holidays fast approaching parents everywhere are beginning to fill with anxiety and fear with the prospect of their child/children being home everyday all day for 2 months straight.  This may sound so horrible and harsh but this is the reality for many parents.  As a family counselor I have had many parents tell me it is their truth.  And you know what?  To tell you the truth it is my truth as well.  You see I’m out of practice and I really have no idea how to keep my kids content, happy and not bored!!  I have my daily routine and sadly, because my girls go to school, they are not a part of my routine.  This summer is going to be a huge test for me.  Can I walk the talk?  Can I love the way God calls me to love?  Can I let go of my self-will and embrace the will of God?  Can I let go of outward peace, quiet, routine, structure and embrace the chaos that comes with having other peoples wills to take into consideration?  Children truly do make us grow up and mature!  I can choose (as I have free will) to be stubborn and selfish and hold on to my wants and needs or I can choose to let them go and embrace the wants and needs of my children.  The former way will lead me to all sorts of frustration, anger, resentment, bitterness, and this will come out in yelling, swearing, shutting off and shutting down and eventually guilt, depression and despair.  The latter way will lead to peace, harmony, joy, love and all other good things possible and for all those involved.  I’ve been in the former state many times before and I know I am not alone.  Parenting is hard because we as parents are forced to give ourselves to our children completely and freely.  We are called to be self-less in all things even the little things and this is sometimes painful to do.  Dying to self is not easy and in fact is impossible without God.  The thing that boggles my mind is that we as Christians are called to something even greater “for even the pagans love their children”.  We, as Christians, are called to love our enemies in this way.  I fail constantly with even loving my children in an unconditional and completely selfless way yet the Lord calls me to love my enemy in this way.  Impossible I say!!  And yes for me it is but as I said for God it is not.  So I put my trust completely in God and in His love.  I have faith that God will change in me what needs to be changed.  This may not happen right away so I must have patience until God so chooses to change me.

As I mentioned earlier this summer is going to be a huge test for me.  And I reiterate, will I be able to let go of my own agendas, my own routines, and the quiet, simple life and embrace fully the life of chaos that often comes with children?  I want with everything that I am to do so for my children’s sake, my husbands sake and for mine.  Our summer will be so amazing if I do!!  I need to let go of my dominant adult ego and embrace the child within.  I need to reconnect with the 2 year old child I once was.  In fact I need to actually become a child again.  I mean didn’t Jesus Himself tell us that unless we become like little children we will not inherit the kingdom of heaven?  How do I become a little child again?  Well I’m not exactly sure but most of it God just has to do in me.  There is not much I can do really.  And that’s the whole point.  It is in this state of helplessness that I realize I already am like a child in some ways because I know deep within me that I am completely and totally dependent on God my Father.  I know that in and of myself I am nothing and He is everything.  I am helpless and blind but feel safe in the arms of my Father because I know Him and I know He is loving and merciful and compassionate.  I trust that God will not abandon me but will finish what He has started in me.

So you see, I am like a little child in some ways but in other ways I am far from it.  In other words, my will and my soul may be that of a child, abandoned to God, but my flesh still rebels.  My sinful self still wages war on the surface but deep within I am safe.  It is from this place of safety that God begins to reorder what is disordered in the flesh, mind, and heart.  For instance, turning my adult ego into a child ego.  The Lord has started this process in me already and will continue to do so until it comes to fruition.  For starters, the Lord has put a desire within me to become a child again.  I see so many qualities in children that are beautiful and I understand why the Lord wants me to become a child.  To be a little child again is to be able to live in the present moment I have a present for you!! and to live each moment fully.  I want to become a little child again this summer and just explore life as it comes moment by moment.  I want to smell the flowers on walks with my children.  I want to eat cotton candy at the carnival until I get sick.  I want to get ketchup on my shirt and dirt on my face and just leave it there all day.  I want to stay up late with my children looking at the stars and talking about the things in life that matter.  I desire to look at God’s creation as if it is the first time I’ve seen it and to be in awe at what I see.  I desire to stay in the present moment free of regret, shame, blame, bitterness, and hatred.  I want to immerse myself into life fully, exploring everything, learning from everything, with a heart and mind that are open to all that life brings, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I want to laugh when things don’t go my way and enjoy life anyways.   I want to wake up each day excited about what the day will bring and then actually be excited with what the day brought, no matter what it was.  Oh to live life like a child is truly beautiful!!

This summer I have a lot of living to do and my children can help me do so.  They have a lot to teach me being children themselves.  I must let them lead and I must follow them.  I’ve always led and commanded that my children follow me but maybe it has to be the other way around, at least most of the time.  Maybe just maybe I have more to learn from my children then they have to learn from me.  A parent’s job is to lead children to adulthood.  It’s the children’s job to lead parents back to childhood.  I am not naive to think that this entire process will be completed this summer.  No this is a lifelong process with many ups and downs, failures and successes, joys and sorrows but with God all is up, all is success, and all is joy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

So this summer I will be immersing myself completely into life, my family, and God’s will.  Therefore, I will not be writing many blog posts over the summer.  In fact, I may not write any at all.  However, I will have so many stories, insights and growths to share with you all in September.  It will be awesome!!  I will still be posting to my Facebook page and to Twitter over the summer so if you have not yet joined please do so  https://twitter.com/RebeccaDawn41 or https://www.facebook.com/moderncatholic41/ 

I pray for all parents that this summer will be filled with wonder, awe, laughter, joy and peace.  I pray that we all become little children and with the grace of God are able to let go of our agendas and self-will and embrace the will, needs and wants of our children.  I pray that this summer will be a time to strengthen family bonds.  I pray that the Lord would heal family relationships and unite families that are broken.  May God bless and keep all of you safe this summer.  Amen.

My summertime prayer:

My dearest Lord.  I desire Your will always and in everything.  I want and pray that my will becomes Your will.  Although my body, mind, and emotions may say otherwise because of weakness my will is always pointed towards You.  Please Lord never ever allow me to willfully turn away from You.  Take my life now if this is in my future Lord for I would rather be dead and lose my earthly life then lose You for all eternity.  My will is no longer mine Lord.  As you gave me free will as a gift I now give my free will back to You so You can unite it to Your will.  I abandon myself completely into Your most beautiful and perfect will.  Carry me Lord for I am unable to carry myself as I am weak and blind and I am only a little child.  I do not wish to be any other place but in Your Fatherly arms.  My desire is to always please You and to do what is right in Your eyes.  I will this.  Lord give me the grace to bear my crosses patiently and gently.  I reject all thoughts that are not pleasing to You.  If I listen to them it is out of weakness or blindness.  I do not will it to happen in rebellion against You.  No, on the contrary it pains me deeply when I think my actions have offended You.  However, I know if You wanted these crosses gone You would remove them, therefore I accept all things as Your will.  My weakness and blindness are a constant reminder of who I am and who You are.  You are mercy, compassion, and love.  I need You Lord more than I need breathe and water.  Without You Lord I would be lost forever in the darkness of my sin.  You are the good, the light, and the love in me.  Thank you most gracious Father for everything for you are everything good.  You are forever my truth, my life, my light, and my love.  Jesus, I trust in You.  Amen.

 

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