Lingering Brings Connection and Redemption

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lights outIt’s hard to believe summer is half over. The longer days have brought endless activities that satisfy my kid’s cravings for fun. There is always something to do or somewhere to go. Sounds great, right? The only problem is evenings have become unpredictable. Our bedtimes are blurred, pushed back in the chase of a summer high.

Swim meets run late.

Visits to grandmas and grandpas are extended to enjoy every last minute of their company.

Family movie nights occur more frequently.

Carvings for ice cream are met as the sun goes down.

Heat in our stuffy kitchen prompts us to treat ourselves and eat out.

Our family is having a blast. It’s these spontaneous moments that anchor our memories of the season.

However, it has caused our bedtime routine to go on hiatus. At the end of long days I am way too tired to read to my children. The kids are exhausted too and at times cranky. So I rush them to bed, hoping that the next night will be different. It’s usually not.

I started to feel guilty because I was not giving them the one-on-one time I know they crave.  I also realized I was missing out on that connection, that tucking my children into bed provides.

In my attempt to make up for it I have been lingering in their rooms after the lights are turned out.

I give them extra kisses and snuggles, and remind them how much fun they had during the day. I tell them how much I love them.

To my surprise, the kids spotted an opportunity, to stay up even later, I think… In my delay to leave their rooms, they asked me questions. I listened, I answered, and they asked more - really good questions.

We are redeeming the time through these wonderful conversations.

This business of the summer hasn’t just taken its toll on our evening schedule; it’s disturbed my mornings as well. Time spent with God has been reduced to an item on my to-do list, which gets checked off when complete.  I rush through the formula I created to “make my time count” so I can move onto the next thing.

Lost in the shuffle of summer is once again the connection. I am frayed and flustered throughout the day. I am not grounded, rooted in Him. I am gaining knowledge in my study time but my relationship with God is not deepening.

Connection doesn’t happen unless we slow down.

Taking a cue from late night conversations with my kids, I have begun to linger in prayer. I force myself to be still, to quiet the voices in my head and just worship, sometimes with a song (or two or three). Usually I follow a program, a study, or devotional but now I am giving myself freedom to occasionally journal what I am feeling instead. I ask questions, listen for truth and let him lead my study.

The redemption it brings is sweet.