Summer Series: Growing in Christ

Summer.

When I say that word, my mind is immediately filled with visions of kids with sun-kissed cheeks double-fisting a giant slice of watermelon and a sticky, chocolatey s’more.  For you, maybe summer means meeting friends after work to dine outdoors at the cool new place that just opened downtown.  There was once a time for me when summer meant lazy days near the water with a book, a hat, and a cooler.  

In reality, summer makes me cringe.  It means I am with all four of my kids from sun-up to sundown.  They only understand lazy in terms of not doing chores.  The lazy that means sleep in and have a slow start to the morning is way off of their radar.  

Summer means I have to provide structure every day, all day while also getting them to various therapies, appointments, playdates, and camps.  And then at the end of the day, one or more of them will have the nerve to ask me if we are going to do anything fun tomorrow, because today was kinda boring.  Excuse me?!?

Every family has a different situation and circumstances, but suffice it to say that while summer can be relaxing and enjoyable, many of us are spending lots more time together.  That time together can be both exhausting and enjoyable.  It can be restful and rage-inducing.  It can be fruitful or fruitless.  

One of the things I have purposed to do this summer is to bring back family Bible time.  That is correct; I said bring back.  We haven’t been doing it for a while now and I could give you a laundry list of reasons why, starting with a global pandemic that turned everyone’s lives and expectations upside down.  Let’s follow that up with constantly dealing with changes in medication, schedules, and why not throw in an unexpected (but very loved and longed for) baby.  Family Bible time has been pushed to the back burner and it is time to bring it back.

Family Bible Time.

When I say those three words you might envision someone holding the family Bible while adoring and attentive children sit wide-eyed on the floor, just yearning to hear the next word of wisdom that is being read.  

In my house, it goes a little more like this.

Everyone grabs something to keep their hands busy, but it cannot make noise (no beeps or farts, you get the idea).  We all meet up in the den.  I grab our current devotional and I have everyone’s attention for approximately 3 minutes.  It is quick and to the point.  And that is it.  

No fancy, hours-long discussion on Revelation.  No flashcards (although I love flashcards and if I were the child here, I would beg for flashcards).  This is even a devotional we have read before because I just rotate through a few favorites.  There are no bells and whistles, and it is not meant to be magical.    

The point is, it is intentional.  As a parent, I am in charge of my four.  God has put me here for this purpose at this time.  I know He has because I have asked Him numerous times about it and He keeps telling me this is my place for now.  So, I ask daily for Holy Spirit’s help to change my attitude and my mindset.  I get to be with my kids from sun-up to sundown.  I don’t have to be a fun mom, but I get to have the opportunity every day to teach them about who Jesus is.  They are a captive audience.  

Spending time as a family or a “framily” growing in Christ is important.  Hot take here, but it is more important than going on a dream vacation or providing your children with amazing experiences.  As parents, we are told in both the Old and New Testament to teach our kids about who Jesus is and how we can live that out (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4).  It is paramount.

This summer, I challenge you to spend time growing closer to Christ as a family.  If you aren’t having family Bible time, start.  If you are never all home together, do it with who you are with when you are with them.  If you need resources, start with your Bible.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are a great place to begin.  Check out some of the devotionals we have in the Bridge, and use the Gathering Insights page in the Capstone app.  Keep is simple and practical.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but there is an opportunity for it to be fruitful.  

Sarah Ellen Edwards