Summer love. That’s all my kids and I have talked about for the last, oh, I don’t know, 60 plus days!! It’s our favorite. But then last week it hit me. My kids are about to be home every second of every moment, to which I know I will hear, “I’m bored” or they will hear me say for the umpteenth time, “Off the video games/computer- do something different.”
Last week was such a busy week! My daughter was taking all her finals, I felt really tired & sluggish, we celebrated the life of my brother-in-law because it would have been his 35th birthday and stupid cancer took him way too early, I realized by Thursday night that I should really do end of the year teacher’s gifts because I know what they do is incredibly hard and wanted them to know we appreciated them, my sons shoes are falling apart, holes and the bottoms are falling off, Joel’s backpack is literally not holding things anymore because the zippers been broke, Joel’s glasses are officially broke- arm off, and they all 3 are past due for eye exams and their dentist check up. My mantra last week, “One more week,” and then the one I’ve been saying to my kids all year long, “We can do hard things.”
So as I fumbled through printing tags early Friday morning, running to Wal-Mart for cookie dough (hey, it’s as ‘home-made’ as we’re getting this year), and I baked (yes, it counts) and showered, and tagged and tied, and delivered, and ended up picking my kids up early (hey, it was a major rain storm). I sat for a moment on Friday after the boys had been home for a couple of hours and heard those famous words, “Mom, what should I do?” To which I quickly replied, “It’s not summer yet. I’m not starting it until Monday, You’ll have to get creative.”
I love most everything about summer. I love the smores, the games, the jammies, the laid back schedules, the friends over, the adventures, the smell of sunblock, the watermelon, the beach, the swimming, the BBQ’s.
But I like to be ready for summer, and as ‘ready’ as I am to not make lunches or wash uniforms, or wake up to take them to school and pick them up everyday, I’m technically not ‘ready’ yet.
I was talking to my friend Cindy yesterday and we both feel like we’re behind, as if everyone has already signed their kids up for camps and activities (or at least it feels like it). And I’m not sure about your town, but around here, stuff fills up so fast! I don’t want to overfill our schedule, because I know we are going to be CRAZY with 3 weeks of camps in July for Big Red Ministries, but I also know there are some things they’ve expressed interest in that I would love for them to do.
It’s my personality to like to have beach & pool food ready, have meals planned out, have summer snacks available, have them signed up for a few fun things, have a summer calendar so everyone in the house knows what we’re doing, start the summer with a clean house & laundry done, and to have days for just rest. For some reason in this season, I feel so unorganized! And I like to have a summer reading list and my workout routine, and goals for summer writing/podcasting/speaking. And I want to add into my schedule time to write a book I’m working on. I don’t want to get to the end of the summer and say, “wish I had…” I know, I know.. I have issues.
So, summer starts Monday!
As I was feeling a bit overwhelmed (okay, a lot) on Friday, mentioning to my daughter that I still have so much I want to do before I say it’s summer, she said, “Mom, you don’t have to have everything done and organized before summer can start.”
And she is so right. Just when I feel like I don’t have issues with control anymore (pride, party of one), the Lord uses my 15-year-old daughter to snap me back into reality. I have to be okay with the fact that all my laundry is not folded yet, and that my piles of mail still need to be filed, and that I haven’t scheduled their eye & dental appointments yet, and that I don’t know or have my meal & snack list yet.
For the love.
Learning to let go of ‘the way I think it should be’ is hard, but the more I stress myself out about it, the less fun I am to be around, and the more time I’ve wasted just trying to control everything. I know I can work on things as I go, and enlist my little summer helpers! And whatever doesn’t get done, well, there is grace for that!! The Lord is also dealing with my heart about lowering my expectations, because when you’re like me and you have so many expectations of doing everything, you end up not enjoying the stuff you are getting to do, because you’re so focused on that list!
Have a list but don’t let the list have you.
The most important thing I can do is this…
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. This summer I want more of Him. If we get to the end of the summer and I’m closer to my family and closer to Him- all is well. It will be a great way to start the next season.
So here’s to letting go and being okay with imperfect, sometimes unorganized, and still learning… me. The good news is this- when I put Him on the top of my summer list, He redeems the time, He helps me to be present each day, and He brings me joy regardless of my circumstances. He reminds me that the most important thing this summer will be people- Enjoying my family & friends, and making beautiful summer memories right in the middle of the messy.
Repeat these ‘I ams’ after me:
- I am NOT in control but I know Who is.
- I am a beautiful mess, but I’m His mess. And He loves me, so that’s enough for me.
- I am surrendering my summer list to Him. “Lord, your will be done.”
- I am okay with being a work-in-progress. At least there’s progress.
- I am going to be fully present this summer- by the grace of God.
- I am inviting the Holy Spirit to interrupt my schedule.
- I am all in…. let the games begin!!
What about you? Do you try to be super organized or do you like to just go with the flow or are you somewhere in the middle? What summer prep do you like to do? Are you planning some fun adventures with your kids?
Blessings on you and your family and… Happy Summer!