Saturday, May 2, 2015

The desires of their hearts...

We had a major, unplanned disruption to our lives earlier this spring. And there seems to be another gigantic, life-changing one lingering on the horizon. In all the changes, I have had peace and {most the time} am patiently waiting on the LORD. But I am pretty type-A, so lingering makes my head spin and distracts me from the day-to-day, even when I really try hard to focus.

Lately, my heart has been burdened for how things changed in our schedule back in March. The change was abrupt and unexpected, yet we weren't totally shocked. I've referred to that time as an amputation, because it really was an upheaval of all we had done for the past 14 months, no time for goodbyes or graceful exits. One day we were there and the next day we weren't. We went from a full and predictable schedule to a completely wide open and blank one. And as certain dates have come and gone, or I flip through photos on my phone, or kids start the "remember when" conversations, my heart is squeezed just a little more. Regret, guilt, sadness, and confusion all swirl around in my heart. Clinging to the fact that God is sovereign and is doing something good in the midst is the one thing that brings me comfort.

While we were in the swing of things we were pretty busy. And since our "step back,"  I have been wrestling with what it looks like to have six kids and allow them to be individuals. I've gone back and forth about whether it is right and good to force conformity and allow only one family activity (even if it is only enjoyed by a handful of the kids) for the sake of ease and simplicity, or if we are to somehow figure out to juggle each child's desired activity and learn flexibility and put a few extra miles on the car to accommodate a busier schedule.

I'm convinced there is no pat answer to this one. I watch friends whose families all do the same thing and some kids who are thriving, and others (not as interested in the chosen activity) who are discontent and disconnected. I have watched other families torn apart by competing schedules and no guarded time to be together. We've experienced a little of each in our own family as we have tried different things, which raises all kinds of questions in my own heart about being fair and trying to figure out how to allow these kids the experiences they will need to become the people God designed them to be.

So, while we sit with this wide open schedule, we talk about "what we want to do when we grow up". The kids all laugh at the absurd idea that their mom needs to grow up, then they throw ideas around. We've asked the kids to pray, not only for the lingering issue, but also the "once we are done lingering" decisions to make. Summer is around the corner, camps can be a great opportunity to try out new things before settling on an activity in the fall.

I am thankful that I can trust that God already knows my heart, that He knows that the desire of my heart is to pursue those things which He will use to mold these children He has entrusted to us to be the kind of people whose heart's desire is to serve and love the Lord and His people.

How do you do it? How do you balance family time and individual activities? I'd love to hear it.