As I mentioned in my Finish Year post and again here, one of my goals for this year is to finish each day with my kids (and husband when he's not at work) in God's word and in prayer. This was one of 4 "official" goals I set although I have a few other unofficial goals that I'm keeping to myself ;) I guess we can consider this a 2 week update on how that particular goal is going.
It started off rough. I won't lie. However, we were kind of prepared for the "roughness" because of our experience this summer when we tried on several occasions to have "family church," but it didn't go quite the way we had envisioned. You know, ideally our angelic children would be sitting on their knees, just inches away from their father and me, leaning in to hear every word we felt led to speak as if they were precious rubies and diamonds. They would offer up sweet prayers of repentance and sorrow for all of the times they chose not to listen and run around like wild bandits throughout the day. They would then leave the room, heads still bowed in meditation, enter into their own bedrooms to tidy up before hopping into bed and falling fast asleep.
Not sure how a veteran teacher could ever seriously entertain that kind of vision. In reality they were mostly yelling things about poop and picking at one another, rolling around on the floor through the prayers and still pretty much the same wild and woolly kids after the fact. In all honesty, I think that when our expectations of how things should go were not met this summer, we began to let go of our dream to have that special time with our family. Thankfully, God does not let desires that he puts into our hearts die or go unfulfilled. Amen!?
So on January 2 we began again. (I'm glad I've learned how to do that!) As I mentioned above, it was still rough, but this time we were expecting it to be. We made a commitment as a family to do this every night. There have even been a couple of nights when Jonah is the one reminding us it's time! The little wiggle worms are wiggly and giggly as ever and it has been difficult to embrace that. But God is helping us.We are trying to come up with ways to make the time fun and not "booo-riiing" as the kids would say. The kids are 6 (Jonah) and 3 (Glory), by the way.
Last night our devotion was about each day being a gift--whether we see it that way or not--and how if we allow God to lead us throughout our day there may be tough things we have to do but He also loves to surprise us with special things that we can enjoy. I put a little package of fruit gummies into a couple of large birthday sacks I saved, stuck some tissue paper in them and hid them behind two curtains in our dining room. Then we called the kids in the kitchen, turned on their favorite song I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin, and went on a little parade around the house.
We were singing and dancing (embrace the wiggliness, right?) but as we came to each room we would stop and give the kids something to do: 5 push-ups, pick up 10 toys, etc. In one room we asked Jonah to pray for the family and to our shock and amazement--He did! Straight from the heart. He is usually pretty shy on that. Finally, we ended up in the dining room and I told them to look behind the curtain and whatever was there they could have. The look on their faces seeing the sacks was priceless. We told them to listen quietly as Justin read the scripture:
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
and the application from Jesus Calling for kids:
Expect Surprises! When you live your life with Me, no day will ever be boring or predictable. Don't take the easiest path. Don't just get through the day. Live it! Be willing to follow me wherever I lead. Even when my way is scary, the safest place to be is by my side.
Then we prayed and they ate gummies. :) And no one was frustrated. And I know that we ALL learned something.
This goal is going to be the most challenging of all. I know that because it is the most important of all and Satan does not want it to happen. But we are going to keep trying, in God's strength. I'm so thankful and quite surprised, to be honest, that He never gives up on me. God's grace has definitely been the biggest and most pleasant surprise of my life!