You have got your hands full there….
A common phrase often said to me as I juggle my 5 kids usually 2 or 3 of them crying and a shopping trolley at the Tesco till. Or as I am having 4 conversations going on at once at the school gate, trying my best to give each child the attention they need before the bell rings.
A common phrase often said to us when people hear what we are involved with and what we do as individuals, a couple and a family.
Then this week my friend Joy sent me the card pictured below that blew all of that out of the water. She said out loud what I couldn’t articulate in that moment. A prophetic, encouraging voice in the midst of my crazy life. She filled my heart right up. Oh a reminder to me to follow that prompting that the Holy Spirit gives me each and every time.
As a family we are planners. We have to be. There are seven of us all wanting something from each other so we make sure that being with each other happens in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways. We get creative. Of course we have to give over our own wants and desires. I’m ok with that. I want our kids to grow up knowing that being sacrificial is a must. I want them to grow up in a family that sacrificially lived for each other and those around us. I want them to feel so secure in themselves, secure in our love for them as individuals and that our life here on this earth is about loving God and loving others. I want to make space to listen to them and value their opinions. I want them to live a life of radical adventure and not to pursue comfort and the easy path.
Our kids are growing up in a house that is so passionate about people. They see us giving up our time, our comfort and our money – that requires them giving up those things too but we make sure we are passionate about them and their worlds, their dreams, their friends. They see us put people over our possessions every time, we are so ruthless about this. The phrase too busy is banned in our home. We celebrate each other and other people passionately. We get to do this adventure with them and because of them.
We want to live a life of fulfilling Jesus greatest commandment. We do that imperfectly of course but that means in many ways sacrifices of money, time and energy. A talk I heard by Pete Grieg at Encounter More in Causeway Coast Vineyard really summed all this up for me in the most challenging way. If you can find it, listen to it.
There has always been a misconception and maybe a reality for others that if you serve the church your kids suffer. I feel for some of us we have gone the other way and dare I say made an idol out of our children rather than showing and modelling to them a life that pursues God and His kingdom. I want to smash both of those conceptions to pieces. We, as a generation can do better than that. We can show them how to be passionate about our world and the people in it but not get forgotten about in the process. We want to include them in all that goes on. Allowing them to grow in confidence in how they serve by using the treasure that God has put in them now for this time. They get responsibility and they get to clean the toilets. That is how the Father treats us. Modelling to them that they get to make a difference no matter what age or stage they are at. Having kids doesn’t mean everything stops, it just means we get to inspire the next generation that people really do matter.