J and I have learned, even more so over the past month, that we must guard our family time. In the busyness of life it can so easily slip away. We want to pour ourselves out for others, have hearts eager to serve, and be flexible and willing always; but, we have discovered that if we don't have time just the three of us/two of us together our little family unit begins to suffer.
Over the past month, as we have sought and prayed, the Lord has helped us come to a deeper realization and understanding of how the priority that is raising, teaching, and training our Little must look in our lives and her life, for our family. Every set of parents is different. Every single child is different. Every single parent has to learn and grow in wisdom about how to teach and train their child/children well. Kids respond differently, they learn differently, they are encouraged differently, they love different activities. As parents, the heart must be that we act off of the same set of grounding principles and truths that the Lord has given us in His Word, but fleshing that out, practically, into our children's lives will look different. As we are faithful to seek the Lord for His wisdom and guidance, He will help us come to those conclusions and decisions for our individual families.
A beautiful thing in all of this, though, is that we can learn from one another. We can ask our trusted friends, our parents, our kindred-spirit mothers, about these areas and gain greater help from them. There have been countless times in talking with other parents that J and I have had major "aha!" moments and walked away with some extremely helpful advice. Please don't take what I'm saying as advice to put a bubble around your family and ignore the wisdom, the years of parenting, the learning that other parents have walked through. I want always to have a humble, learners heart and observing the lives and hearing the words of those around me is a way to gain precious nuggets of wisdom, encouragement, or just to be reminded I/we are not the only one(s) in this boat. Thank you, Lord, for that!
Something we quickly learned about our Little is that she is just like us, perhaps even more so, in loving her comfort zone, in being refreshed with quiet at home, and in not being a huge fan of big groups or constant high-energy situations. Being two people who tend toward those very same things, we truly understand where she is coming from in that. However, just as with ourselves, we don't want to let her sit in it where it is sinfully selfish or fearful; we want to gently teach her truth and help her learn how to handle uncomfortable or nerve-wracking situations. We want to take every opportunity to teach her little heart and mind and to help her grow in this way. On the same hand, we don't want to push her in an unhelpful or selfish way on our part. Sometimes we are going to need to say "no" to great opportunities because, truly, it would be setting AK and/or ourselves up for unhelpful, unnecessary battles or discouragement or exhaustion. And the Lord is good to give us all wisdom on our limitations and our kids.
In all of this, too, seasons change. Life situations change, # of kids change, moves happen, church or school may change, new jobs come, new opportunities arise, family situations come up, the list goes on. Some seasons are just going to be busy, some are going to be more calm. With the changing seasons, though, the Lord's counsel and wisdom remains steadfast, and we have a direct line to that if we are faithful to seek Him. He will give us grace and understanding for how the balance of life should look for our days, for our marriages, for our families. It's sweet to learn from Him. I have treasured learning how to rest in His wisdom for our family, our 3 musketeers little Coobs family. I've learned, and am learning still, to fight that awful temptation to compare, to learn greater trust in Him, and to let go of what others think of me/us and be truly confident in the Lord. There is such a profound peace that comes with that.
So, as I said, some thoughts for you. Not seamlessly connected or perfectly formed, but more like an insight into my thought journal on learning balance. I don't ever expect to reach a point of a perfectly constructed, beautifully organized, art form of a balanced life; but I am sure of one thing: the Lord will never cease to give clarity, wisdom, and grace for the process.