Holy Parenting: Making the Common Sacred

Having a child has had a devastating impact on my spiritual life! Before kids, I had a thriving spiritual life that had all the space in the world for study, prayer, rest, and reflection. There were plenty of hours in my day, and finding one to intentionally connect with God was not hard to find. And, even if there happened to be a hectic week, there was always the weekend!

I remember the beauty of a lazy Saturday morning. I would sleep until my body informed me that it was fully rested. I would put on sweats and a hat, take my wife by the hand as we walked with our dog to our local Starbucks. We would sit for over an hour in sporadic conversation as we read our books, bibles, devotionals and jotted our thoughts and prayers in our journals.

Those were good days!

When we found out were were pregnant with our first child, we were so excited to add this new life into our perfect little family. Our Saturday rhythms continued as our walks transformed into a waddle. And in no time at all, we simply added a stroller with our brand new son into this rhythm.

I didn’t notice it right away, but by the time our second kid entered the scene, I realized that something was off. With one little baby it was mostly doable to maintain most of our old rhythms. I could still get up early and spend time with God and those times were made precious with my little boy on my lap. But now my little boy was three and he wasn’t as pleased to stay quiet and still while I had his sister on my lap for my morning devotion time.

Over three years, my thriving devotional life had atrophied. I could not maintain the spiritual practices I had kept most of my adult life. It was impossible to get a head of my kids sleep patterns, and waking up at 5:00 am just to get some actual quiet time seemed like a punishment rather than something that would be fulfilling.

Something Needs to Change:

My regular diet of morning quiet times of consisting of bible study, prayer and journaling had become non existent. As my diet became a fast, I noticed the lack of spiritual development and the waning effects of the fruit of the spirit in my life.

Thankfully it was just around this time that I had been seeing a spiritual director who is incredibly gracious and wise and walked with me through this season. She recommended that maybe I simply needed to expand my spiritual diet. Spurred on my her challenge, God was able to regain access to my life and to my heart by trying out some different ways to connect with God and ways to give him access to my heart.

The key for me was the spiritual art of practicing the presence of God. By changing the way I view my devotional life as fueling up for the entire day with morning devos, I am invited to commune with God throughout my entire day, in all the common things that happen, I can see the ways God is active and involved.

Raising Toddlers is a Spiritual Discipline:

Once I was able to expand my spiritual diet, I was able to reconnect with God in all the fun and chaos that life brings with a house full of toddlers. Instead of dying to sleep, God might actually be inviting you, along with me, to see every part of our day as sacred. From breakfast, to driving in the car, to play dates, to midnight mayhem, God is actively involved and desires to reveal the deeper spiritual realities of those common tasks.

Holy Parenting, is a book that walks alongside the reader sharing this journey of spiritual desert to spiritual dessert. It is a book that wrestles with the grief that happens when you realize your old life is gone forever and helps the readers come up with a strategy to accept this new reality. The rest of the book looks at this spiritual discipline of presence through the lens of little children to find the ways that we can not only survive spiritually, but thrive.

I hope you are encouraged by this book and inspired to try out some new rhythms for spiritual growth. Because, if you want your kids to love God someday, the number one way to make that happen is for you to still be in love with him. Don’t be content with dry spirituality, and make parenting part of your spiritual diet!

 

Blessings!

Is it even ok to be average?

why is it that average is a bad word? i know we all want to be exceptional, the best. since elementary school we have been competing to be the best. the best at anything, sports, music, academics, art. and even though our parents tell us we are the smartest, most beautiful people in the room, we live with this sinking feeling inside that it just isn’t true.  if we are honest, we know who the smartest and most beautiful people in the room are, and it isn’t us. we are average. average: av·er·age, adj. typical; common; ordinary.

but why does this have to be a bad thing? i actually hope it isn’t, because it is the truth. i am average, typical, common, ordinary in just about every way. what kind of freedom could be experienced if the anxiety of striving to be the best and continually coming up short was replaced with the peace of truly living out who we were made to be.

jesus is the head! he is the one who is the best. we are common and ordinary parts of the body. and why should we even be ranking the parts of the body anyway, i am pretty sure that is exactly what we are not supposed to do. any sort of greatness we should be striving for is pointed to him, and the pleasure of being a small part of what he is doing in the world.

average youth workers are amazing! the more and more youth workers i meet and spend time with the more i realize that the average youth worker is amazing. the average youth worker is “all in.” they love their students and their entire lives are wrapped up with the emotional and spiritual weight of walking through adolescents with them. the average youth worker does hit the speaking circuit or spend their days playing call of duty. the average youth worker tirelessly loves kids, runs youth groups, meets with parents, and strives to do better so more and more students will come to love jesus.

settle in! most likely you are an average, common, and typical youth worker. but because we are connected to christ and he loves to use our common and often feeble efforts, let us relax. today we can enjoy the god who loves us and who calls us and uses us, warts and all. we can strive to be excellent tomorrow :)