Now It’s Really Summer, Part 2

kids running outside

The first step to having a wonderful summer may be to put aside the expectation that you should have the “best summer ever.”  Click on the links, if you haven’t read Part 1 of Now It’s Really Summer and Now It’s Really Summer, Part 3.  I can so easily fall into pleasing myself, seeking my life, rather than losing it for Christ, flesh-pleasing as opposed to dying to self.  Ingratitude for the simple blessings of life that God gives.  How does that happen?  It’s the little ways of thinking, little choices, that are turned just a tiny bit in the wrong direction that spoil a life.  You will head in the direction that you are looking.  And, before you know it, the little foxes spoil the vines. Song of Solomon 2:15

Building a close, Godly family that loves the Lord and is being used of Him, that is growing in Christlikeness and bearing much fruit doesn’t come automatically from being busy.

We need to:

  • continually yield ourselves and our plans to Jesus Christ
  • train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and
  • guard against Satan’s sneaky, subversive attacks.

One of his attacks is to make it hard to read my Bible when I need it most, and when I’m busy, and to choose entertainment over time in the Word when I want to relax.  Another is to get so caught up in the outward appearance and actions of myself and my children, that I forget that the heart is most important.

It will be my example that my kids follow. It’s not only important what choices I make, but how do I make those choices?  What is in my heart and important to me? Am I selfishly thinking I deserve a little pleasure, a little me-pleasing, because I’ve worked so hard?  Do I demand my “rights” and have a list of expectations? Do I want my children to “perform” so that everyone will think highly of me? Is that what’s directing me?

Is this question even valid:  “How can you have the summer you’ve dreamed of, and the kind of summer that you and your children will remember forever?”

If you do have this kind of summer, you should thank the Lord, and treasure that, because you probably had nothing to do with it, and it came with some trials, lessons learned, and work attached!

If we need encouragement and refreshment, the Lord knows it, and He will meet our needs. May we always, no matter what the season, seek to strengthen our marriages, make brothers and sisters best friends, train children to work hard and be disciplined, and live so that we come closer to the Lord, build close family bonds and increase Christlike character.

I said in Now It’s Really Summer, Part 1, first, Pray.  Seek wisdom first.  It’s most important. Proverbs 4:5-9:

5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

I know that the Lord wants my best and wants to help me and guide me, so going to Him and asking Him what we should do is so important.

2. Plan Spiritual growth and fruitfulness first.

Plan the important, the eternal.  Put it into your life first. How will we be in the Word and study the ways of God this summer? Let’s be intentional.

I’m trying to get caught up right now on Bible-reading goals. I’ve tried, but not succeeded, in reading through the Bible in a year for several years now, and my goal was to not get behind in the first place this year, but life happens, and somehow I did.  Whenever possible this summer I’m spending extra time in His Word, knowing that, for me, beginning in the fall, busier times are ahead.

What “living books” are you planning to read as a family?  For many, summer is a time when special reading can happen.

Do you have plans for family ministry? I’m not referring necessarily to church programs.  Family ministry will look different for every family, as God uses your specific gifts, interests, and skills in your family, making you uniquely able to minister in your sphere of influence.

A shameless plug for Family-integrated churches

Churches tend to separate families by age, and rarely can the whole family be involved in the same place at the same time.  We have attended churches of many different kinds.  For the last 10 years we’ve attended a family-integrated church, and I appreciate that it encourages families to be strong, worshiping and serving Him together, which helps to accomplish the above goals.

What Can Your Children Do that Will Last a Lifetime

Are you feeding your appetites for entertainment and having fun? Will your children grow up being mighty in Spirit? What skills are your children learning and practicing that they can use for a lifetime to bless others and serve the Lord?

I heard something interesting recently.  A healthcare professional was talking to my 92-year-old mom, who has been very involved in music all her life, playing the piano and singing, and the woman said to my mom that this generation is going to find out that sports don’t contribute to a longer, healthier life–but music does–and also using your mind, doing things like crossword puzzles, and playing games that require thinking skills (probably doesn’t include electronics).

My mom has been playing piano and organ and singing from the time she was a little girl up until now.  At 92, she doesn’t play often anymore, but she still finds enjoyment and blesses others when she does!  Up until a year ago she sang in a seniors singing group, average age of 85, which presents music programs and concerts to groups at nursing homes, schools, and other places. The really unique thing is that they memorize the words to all their music!

3.  Ask your husband what he would like to do this summer.

Want your husband to lead? Here’s a good place to start!  Ask your husband what his goals are for you and your family.  You and your husband may be on different wavelengths, so communication is important.  Don’t go ahead and plan the rest of the summer without his input.

(This turned into a three-part-series, so make sure to read Part 3 of Tips for Your Family’s Best Summer Ever.)

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