The day finally arrived for my children – their last day of testing and the beginning of summer vacation. After filling in the last of many bubbles, the boys closed their test booklets. They bolted from the dining room table and scrambled out the back door with play guns attached to their hips, rubber boots covering their feet, and toothless smiles big enough to brighten the overcast day. They joined their little brother, already outside, on an adventure involving frogs. Summer had begun.
Summer. It is bittersweet to my heart. That one word represents excitement, fun, and memories waiting to be made – popsicles, picnics, swimming, barbecues, lemonade stands, camping, and fireflies. It’s a fun, new season. But, in order for a new season to begin, another season must come to an end.
With summer days ahead, we are all celebrating our children’s accomplishments. They have grown this past year, and not just physically. Some of us have seen our children potty-trained, lose teeth, learn to read, pass math, finally get an “A” on a spelling test (or rejoiced over a “C” – can I get an Amen?), debut on a school stage, endure broken bones or illness, become drivers, earn a diploma, say “yes” or “I do!”
I recently reflected over our family’s achievements, struggles, heartaches, and joys from the past year. I praised God and thanked Him for another school year accomplished. Now, we are facing a new year. How am I now the mother of a rising middle-schooler? After all, the “Thomas” trains covering my floor were his to begin with. His days of trains seem like last year and not a decade ago. Yet, here we are – the end of a school year and the beginning of a bright, beautiful summer. And, I am more determined than ever.
I am determined to embrace every minute of this great journey of motherhood.
Merriam-Webster defines “determined” as “having a strong feeling that you are going to do something, and you will not allow anyone or anything to stop you.” Being a mom takes determination, doesn’t it? We face many distractions – things battling for our attention. Many are good and worthwhile, necessary even, yet we know there are plenty that need to be squashed, much like an annoying mosquito.
Recently, I took the kids to the park for a picnic. I kept hearing the voice of a little boy calling his mommy. “Mommy, look at me! Watch!” Only, I watched his Mom. She didn’t look at her little boy. Her attention was not to another child or another mom. She was captivated by her phone. Her persistent little boy again hollered, “Watch Mommy!” This time, he conquered the monkey bars all by himself and was thrilled! But, she missed it. Thirty minutes went by and nothing changed. He wasn’t alone. There were other children on the playground who were competing for attention. Sadly, they didn’t win either.
I have been that Mom too. A different setting, but nonetheless, I have been her.
It has become a giant, annoying, infectious mosquito! And it isn’t just biting our children is it? It’s biting Moms. It’s biting Dads. And since that’s true, I would also suggest, its biting marriages.
My husband and I discussed this distraction in our home recently. We recognize technology has not only become an addiction for our children, and sometimes ourselves, but it is the largest source of sibling rivalry we experience. So, we created a battle plan.
We have unplugged for the summer.
No more “Subway Surfer,” “Words with Friends,” or “Mine Craft.” No more iPod. Facebook has been deleted, and Pinterest will have to wait. Why?
Because we know the days with our children are few and the distractions are numerous.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be alert…your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Moms, we are commanded to be alert! We have been warned of danger. This summer, while many of us find ourselves with easier schedules and longer days, we need to be vigilant, fully aware, attentive, and watchful. Let’s determine to be the mom who doesn’t miss the “monkey bar moments.” Let’s determine not to be “that family” at the restaurant who manages to make it through an entire meal together without looking at one another because of gadgets in our hands. Let’s determine our phones will not be the last image our husbands see before they fall asleep at night. There are “mosquitoes” swarming in our homes, and they need to be squashed. Make no mistake, they have been sent by the enemy.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…”
Moms, it’s a new season! Let’s spend these amazing days of summer choosing to continue to build. Our family has decided to tear down a few things so we can build something different. There’s an enemy out there. He is on the prowl. How about we build something he can’t tear down? I am determined we are going to do it, and we will not let anyone or anything stop us!
*How is your family “squashing the mosquitoes” that so often distract us? Were you encouraged by Michele’s goals for her family this summer? Leave us a comment below, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter @missionalmother. You can also follow us on Instagram @missionalmotherhood!