So, a new year is upon us! It’s the time we all stop to evaluate and see if we are on the right track and usually there is much we want to change. It’s also too easy to get caught up in stressing about things that won’t mean anything in terms of eternity. Temporal concerns are definitely with us and need consideration and planning, but being a mom who now has all grown kids and remembering what it was like to have a busy, crazy, noisy household for MANY years, I thought I’d reflect on what goals really mattered to help you gain perspective.
Yes, this winter I’d like to get my living room floor, which gets much traffic, refinished. My couches are worn and a couple that aren’t real leather, are starting to peel. I have organizing to do in the attic and all my cabinets. I have a goal to simplify and get rid of stuff I no longer need and maintain a space for all those things I really do need and many more, just like you, but a season has passed for me. Yes, I still have a lot of contact with my kids and want to have input into their lives but it’s a different season than it used to be when I had little people living under my roof and dependent on me for all their needs.
If you still have kids at home, you still need to make the most of that special, impacting time with them. Time is short, even though it doesn’t feel like it often. So here goes. Here are some Christian family goals that really matter:
- Cultivating your own spiritual walk– This is easy to neglect, but vital. Don’t let someone else make you feel guilty if you don’t spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning. That may work great for you, but during my 47 years of raising kids, it was never my strong time. It changes according to kid’s ages, husband’s schedule, etc, but I wanted to give the Lord my BEST time and it often was not first thing in the morning after being up with fussy or nursing babies, sick kids, etc. In fact, early morning was NEVER my best time- it was a drowsy time. Sometimes, it was naptime , sometimes late at night, but the point is, find the time you are most alert and available and give God your best attention to His Word and prayer. Have a plan in mind- something you are searching out in Scripture or a daily Bible reading plan-change it up every year but find what works for you at the season you are in and stick to it. You’ll be a better Christian, wife, mom, friend, neighbor for it.
- Cultivating your relationship with your husband. This is so easy to overlook when you are in the midst of many little people demanding your constant attention, but again, it’s very important and a top priority after your relationship with the Lord. Find time to spend together communicating. It’s ok for kids to have a quiet time to read, play quietly, etc. It’s actually good for them. Until the kids were old enough to babysit, it was hard to get away together, but we did occasionally even if it was just going out for ice cream or a walk. Your kids will be out of your home before you know it. I’m saying that after 47 years of kids in my home, it happens faster than you think. Take time to appreciate each other- and that takes some creativity and planning.
- Guiding your kids to have a spiritual walk, daily time with the Lord– Time spent in the Word- reading, studying, practical application Plan time for the kids to spend with God and guide them as needed as to how to do that effectively. We for years had quiet time at little guys’ naptime and that’s when older kids would do devotions and the house was actually quiet. That worked for a number of years till kids got jobs, etc. We have multiple Bible study books(and flashcards and Bible CD’s for memorization) you may find helpful for all ages of kids to help them dig insights from the Word to apply to daily life.
–Kids of Character Bible study– 45 basic character qualities everyone needs to know- looking up short answer questions from the Word
–Proverbs People Collection– learn of the people you will meet in life and how to relate to them
–Growing in Wisdom– 32 negative kinds of behavior and the corresponding positive qualities seen through the lens of God’s Word and what he has to say about them
–Living the Fruitful Life– how to apply the fruit of the spirit to your life- what is it and how to apply
–Words of Wisdom– get a grip on the power of your words and you will have a real advantage in life
–Power in Proverbs-learn to dig out insights from the Word on multiple topics so you will be able to do this your entire life when you need God’s wisdom on a topic
- Time memorizing the Word, teaching Scriptures according to the need– every negative character quality you may be struggling with has a corresponding positive quality. We need the wisdom of God to put off the wrong and put on the right. If your child is struggling with anger, for instance, have them learn what the Word says about anger and about self-control. (Growing in Wisdom can help you with this ) Rick recorded Scripture and we had the kids listen at naptime/bedtime or even playtime. They learned so much Scripture without even trying and it helped to guide them as they grew and came back to mind to help supply direction in a time of need. It was one of the best and easiest things we did to teach them the Word of God. See all of the Uncle Rich Scripture Audios here.
- Time to spend with each child– studying them, being committed to their success, learning their weaknesses, strengths, desires, goals, dreams, what inspires them, what discourages them, things they want to accomplish, helping them with those goals, above my own goals. This takes time and evaluation. Each child is so unique and it takes quality time to know them and convince them you are committed to their success. I discuss this in detail in some of my podcasts- Moments with Marilyn
- Quality time to serve others as a family– This is SO important. We need to invest in our kids, but we need to teach them to invest in others so they learn life is not just about them. God has left us here to serve and we have received some of our richest blessings as we reach out and serve others as a family. We talked about teaching your kids to care here in this podcast.
- Serving in your church in whatever capacity you can. I must qualify this. Find a way to serve in whatever season you are in. If you have a lot of little people you may not be able to serve in ways others can. Even if it’s notes of encouragement to others or visiting shut-ins, taking meals to new moms- whatever you are able to do in your busy season. It’s so important for kids to grow up investing in others. When it’s a way of life when little, they will carry that over to be way of life as they grow up and some of our biggest blessings have been ministering to others.
Beyond this, evaluate each possibility to see if it fits the season you are in now. Remember, you won’t get this time back.
Psalm 90:12 “ So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”