Friends, my family has been through quite a year. We've been through health issues, unexpected upheavals and big changes - not the least of which was moving halfway around the world to a place we never thought we would be! Our little family has weathered the craziness of this past year really well. My husband and kiddos are rock stars!
But gals - and I don't know about you - I'm tired. Body and spirit, I'm weary. I'm still faithfully spending time in the Word and in prayer; but most of the time these days it feels like my prayers are hitting the ceiling and the words from The Word are hitting plexiglass instead of a pliable, open heart.
And my family, y'all. After a year of change and movement, we need some peace. We're all tired, we're a little rough around the edges and we're all a bit on edge.
How about you? Could your heart use a little bit of peace? Could your home use a little bit of peace in this season of back to school, impending holidays and pumpkin-everything?
(Note: "peace" does not necessarily mean absence of action, or even absence of conflict. Rather, a deep seated contentment in your current season.)
I don't know about you, but I tend to think/feel, "If only someone would calm things down around here I could be the patient and loving wife and mother I long to be!!" You and I both know that we are the ones who set the tone for our homes and families. If someone is going to usher peace into our chaotic lives, it must start with us.
So, let's do this together. Let's take 4 simple steps to make our homes and families a little bit more peaceful this fall (and all the year 'round!).
1. Choose a theme verse. Spend some time praying, searching God's Word and talking with your husband. Ask God to lead you to a verse to be your theme for the fall. Commit to memorizing it, praying it daily, and talking about it with your family. I'm thinking about choosing Psalm 119:165:
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
I also want to incorporate verses 166-176 into my daily prayers for my family. Print your verse and hang it in prominent places in your home. Is there a song that incorporates your verse? Play it! Sing it! Learn it! The Word of God is living and active and the most powerful resource at our disposal to bring about positive and lasting change in our own hearts and in the hearts of our families.
2. Examine your schedule. It's hard to have any time of peace or rest if you're running six ways from Sunday everyday of the week. Talk with your husband and together come up with a plan for how many extracurricular activities in which each child can participate. We can't do everything, and we shouldn't try. For our family, in this season, our rule of thumb is one extra activity per child. That may change over the years, but for now it works for us. Decide for yourselves, too, how many extra things you will participate in. Do you really need to lead the women's Bible study at church, coordinate the nursery rotations, make snacks every week for the youth group and go visiting the homebound every week all while running a blog, personal business website and planning your next mission trip? By all means, serve!! However, let's find the places He is really leading us, and serve there. It will free our energies to cultivate peace at home, and it will free up ways for others to serve!
3. Concentrated time alone with God. My quiet times have been struggling lately. Oh, I've been in the Word. I've been praying...or trying to. But as I look ahead to cultivating a season of peace at home, I cannot give (or cultivate) what I myself to not have. We need hearts at peace in order to be agents of peace in our homes. Set aside time daily - a good chunk of time where you will have minimal interruptions - and really spend time with God. You may just need to sit quietly at first and focus on His presence to allow your heart to soften and open. If you've been through some stressful times this year, you may have been building a protective wall around it without realizing. This time can be early in the morning, during nap time or after the kids are in bed. It really doesn't matter, as long as you take it. Set a reminder on your phone, write in on your calendar. Protect this time like your life depends on it - because it does.
4. Accountability and Encouragement. We cannot do this parenting gig alone. Find some friends from church, work, other school moms, whatever to come along with you on this journey of peace. If, like me, like-minded friends in person are a rare find, there are loads of online resources to help you, too! The past few years I've been participating in the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge from Courtney at Women Living Well (this challenge will run again this year, every Monday in October). Last year I fell in love with the book, Autumn Bliss, from Denise Thompson. So many great ideas for cultivating peace and rest in our homes.
So, are you in? Leave us a comment and tell us which one of these steps you're either most excited about...or most terrified of! :)