Three things to practice this summer

Whatever the next few months hold for you, we want you to know we are standing with you and praying for you.

Summer is once again upon us, and we Home for Good know just how challenging a time summer can be, and so we want to take this opportunity to cheer you on as you enter into this new season.

On the final day of the summer holidays last year, I shared on my own social media a video scanning the downstairs of my home showing the carnage that 45 days with no school had created. It was messy; full of half-finished projects, bits of paperwork and much more besides. The soundtrack I selected for this silly little video clip was an excerpt of a song from Les Misérables (the greatest musical) with the lyrics ‘One more dawn, one more day, one day more.’ It was an acknowledgment that I had just one left of the summer holidays to get through before everything changed. A little dramatic? Sure, but it encapsulated in a humorous way how I felt as I surveyed the mess of my home, a perfect picture of the chaos, challenge, and wonder of the summer holidays when children are not at school!

Summer is once again upon us, and we Home for Good know just how challenging a time summer can be, so we want to take this opportunity to cheer you on as you enter into this new season. Whatever the next few months hold for you, we want you to know we are standing with you and praying for you. And I want to share with you these three things, from my soon to be even messier home to yours, that I’m going to try and practice this summer, in the hope that they might bring you some encouragement too!

GRATITUDE

Remembering the things that we are thankful for is such a powerful perspective shifter. It causes us to focus on the good things in our lives, to relish good moments and experiences; it builds better mental health and stronger relationships AND it’s something the bible tells us to do (1 Thessalonians 5: 18 for example).

There will be times when this will come naturally, and there will be times (probably over the summer) when it will be a discipline that we have to choose to practice because we understand its benefits. Some days it’ll be gratitude for water in the taps, a cup of tea, a moment in the sunshine; other days there’ll be bigger things to celebrate as well.

It could be fun to spend some time this summer creating a gratitude jar. Find some kind of jar or container that you add to every day; writing something on a scrap of paper that you’re grateful for and putting it in the jar. You could make it a family activity and have everyone add their thanks, or keep it as a personal practice. At the end of the holidays (with or without Les Misérables playing in the background – totally up to you!) you can open it up and remember the great things about your summer.

Taking some time to be thankful will likely look a little difference for all of us. Whenever you do it, however it works for you, let’s be people who grow in gratitude.

JOY

One of my friends asked me this week if I had a ‘joy list’. When I told her I had no idea what she was talking about, she explained that it’s a list of things that you love to do, things you enjoy, things that bring you life. She went on to explain that once you’ve got those things written down, you must find ways and times to make space for them amid your rhythms, routines, tasks and to-dos.

Now, you might think a fortnight in the Caribbean would bring you joy (and it might), but the idea of this list is not just big things that feel unattainable, but smaller, simpler things too. Perhaps it’s reading a book with a glass of wine? A coffee with a friend? A walk on your own, or an afternoon watching sport?

Perhaps if you’re like me, your immediate reaction is, ‘I couldn’t possibly’, ‘I don’t even know how I’d make time for it’ or ‘I have no idea what I’d write on that list.’ That’s probably a good sign that making one would be a good thing to do. Will you join me in starting somewhere?

When you do things that bring you joy, it adds to your life and fills your cup a little more so you’re able to keep pouring out to others. It isn’t indulgent or selfish, it’s not a waste of time or a social media fad to avoid; it’s acknowledging the value that you have and investing in who you are, and it’s the fuel for your calling.

REMEMBER THE WHY

I don’t know what your family story is, the why behind the make-up of your family, the heart or circumstances behind your decision to care for children who’ve had a difficult start in life, but I know these things are there. I can remember where I was and how I felt when God first spoke to me about what my family could look like, and then key moments on the journey since then, some big and many small (but significant).

There have been some glorious, joy filled, precious memories in the last 15 years, but there have been some hugely challenging ones too. There have been moments when I wasn’t sure if I could keep going, times when I have seriously doubted if I have what it takes (or if I even want what it takes).

Over and over again, I return to my why. I return to those moments of calling. I return to things that God spoke to me, the passages in the bible that have consistently been an anchor to my soul, and I remember. Throughout the Old Testament in particular, God tells his people to build altars or erect something to remember what He has done and who He is. Why does He do that? Because we’re so good at forgetting!

When we remember the why, we remember the who it is that calls us. We remember who He is, we remember what He has done, and we remember that we get to live our lives as a living sacrifice in thanks and recognition of that. Perhaps then we’ll also remember His promise that He equips those He calls (Hebrews 13: 20-21) and remember again to turn to Him whatever it is we’re facing, whether it’s day one and we’ve got colour coded planning charts and all the enthusiasm for what’s ahead, or day 43 and it’s raining (again)!

Author:
Claire at Home for Good


Date published:
July 2021


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