It’s just a word: summer. You can’t hear my voice or the inflection in my tone when I say it as I write this. But I can.
I can hear that word in the voice of my mind in a tone that says: “Oh no! It’s around the corner and we still have so many lessons remaining! Ack!”
But I can also hear summer in my mind in a tone that says: “Oh, yes! It’s time for a break!”
And I can hear summer in my mind with a few truths:
- I have one more summer after this with my oldest. I have two with my middle, and, well, a few more with my youngest.
- I have had many years with all seasons at home with them. I’ve wasted some of those days and I’ve used many to the best of my ability.
So, what will I do now?
I mean, summer’s almost here and the reality is (if I’m completely honest with you) we still have a lot of lessons remaining. These last two years have been the most difficult of my life. Being even more honest, I’m in complete awe that my family has survived the storms God has allowed.
But we have, because — BUT GOD...
I will always love those two words in the Bible: but God.
I heard those words in the way I hear them now a few years ago from a woman who has become one of those few women whom I consider to be a mentor and a friend. She knows more about me than almost anyone. Okay, my husband knows more, but she is a close second.
God brought her into my life just in time for a storm that rocked my marriage seven years ago. I met her at our church while I was attending a seminar on how to be a better wife. That seminar led me to her home once a week for discipleship and that led me into her being the person I call when I need words of wisdom and I need to hear how God not only allows the storm, but also calms it.
And that brings me to my point about summer. God gave us winter, but God also gave us summer.
I know, I know—there’s fall and spring and those seasons are beautiful. I mean, spring—that’s when we celebrate the beauty of Christianity. That’s when we remember the death, but more importantly celebrate the resurrection, of our Savior.
But summer—well, it comes next. It’s that time of year when we have hopefully planted seeds in the ground and now we have to do two things: wait for God to water it and pick the weeds around it.
That doesn’t sound glorious—picking weeds. And really, it isn’t.
Our new (older) home is surrounded by English Ivy. It’s beautiful, but it’s killing our trees and destroying the ground.
I know, that’s ironic. It was planted as a ground cover. But it’s taking over and doing more damage than good. So, guess where you find me when I wander down the long driveway to the mail box? Usually with a big pile of ivy because one little sprig caught my attention and I had to see what it was. In order to see what it was, I had to pull the ivy around it. Well, that meant more ivy, more branches...and then, well...an hour later I find that sprig and barely made a dent in the ivy.
The ivy is kind of like our lessons. I spent the winter months planting the seeds (lessons) and now I’ll spend the summer months assessing what is taking root in my children’s hearts. Now that they are growing older and spend more and more time away from home, I’m not the only one planting seeds.
That means more seeds are being planted by others. Some of those are like the ivy. They look so pretty, but they begin to take root and damage the seeds that I’ve been planting over the years.
Summer exposes those roots.
The down time gives us an opportunity to relax and spend time at the lake, park, beach, relaxing at home or perhaps serving other people.
Summer is also a good time to remember: many of our children will leave home at the end of their eighteenth summer with us. That eighteenth summer is looming over me. To be honest, it scares me. It scares me because the world is changing so incredibly fast and the weeds seem to be winning some days. My children are growing their own hearts and minds and the reality that I can’t force them to follow a certain path becomes a reality I understand more and more every single day.
As I look back over the years, I’m glad I have taken the time to enjoy the summer days while remembering that I have a Lord and Savior who has given me these children for a very brief time. He has entrusted me with their care and education.
I have to trust HIM with their life.
He gave them to me on loan, but God has determined their days.
As I look back over the years, I’m glad I have taken the time to enjoy the summer days while remembering that I have a Lord and Savior who has given me these children for a very brief time. He has entrusted me with their care and education. I have to trust HIM with their life.
This summer, remember to take time and assess the seeds that have been planted. Find a Mom who has been down a similar path and ask her for advice and for prayer. Ask her just to be a friend because summer’s coming. One day, it will be that last summer and you’ll want to know you did all that you could possibly do and that you have friends waiting for you—welcoming you into the next phase of parenting. You aren’t just planting your children’s future garden, you’re planting your own.
That phase after summer.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).