(I was originally inspired to write this for young families. But single or older people can still “exercise” the truths and “share” them with others!)
Winters in the Midwest United States bring a deluge of snow, cold temperatures, wind, and lots of overcast and cloudy days. Even knowing it is coming leaves people shocked, depressed, and with an ever-constant flow of negative speech. Even people who love winter complain if it is not the fluffy white snow perfect for outdoor activities. And then we have the concept of snow days (unless you live in urban Minnesota). This creates another whole category of complaining from people, especially young families who “want” snow days until they get them, because if there is more than one in a row it throws their entire routine off kilter! Then frustration sets in because they don’t know “what to do” with their kids. Basically we have become people who complain no matter what we get or don’t get! It seems we are never completely “happy” with what we are given! And amazingly in our high-tech world, we still hear the infamous words “I’m bored”! How these words ever come out of the mouths of American children is beyond me much less from Christian people! My kids learned very early on to not even hint at boredom because first I would find something very much “not fun” to fill their time, and second, it is quite an insult to the Giver of Life to proclaim “boredom” when in Jesus we have all things!
Wintertime gives the opportunity to “slow down” and center or re-center our lives around Jesus so that when Spring and Summer come and we are out and about more we are so filled with Jesus we still want to stay fixed on Him. Creating an atmosphere of godliness in our homes is not difficult even with young children who just want to run and scream when cooped up in the house for more than a day. We can prepare our homes to be places of refuge, peace, excitement, and joy all at the same time!
The questions come to me “What if we choose to stop complaining and start rejoicing?” “What if we filled our homes with thanksgiving and the joy of Jesus rather than promoting the dark, dreary days of winter?” “What if we entered into the energy and ordered chaos of our children, steering it rather than halting or wishing it was over?” “What if we created an atmosphere where Holy Spirit is welcome and free to move in our children, homes, and families bringing with Him the presence and power of God?” But I don’t ask “What if” questions anymore without looking for the answers and these are simple! If we “do” them we will be praising the Lord for winter AND snow days and find ourselves wanting MORE!
Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Rejoice in the fact we “get” to spend time with our kids knowing they grow up fast. As a grandmother now I can tell you the days I spent with my children are truly beyond priceless. I had the privilege of homeschooling for nearly fourteen years (not one snow day in that entire time) and most certainly there were hard days but I cannot remember details of any one of them. But oh, how I remember and treasure the “ordinary” days of ordered chaos! Friends, all we have is “Today”! Why not make the most of it? Tomorrow is too late to enjoy and rejoice in “Today”! Living in “Today” causes us to guard our speech, making sure we live free of complaining and regret. James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not be so.”
Perhaps we don’t associate complaining with cursing or don’t think our words truly reflect what is in our hearts. But we should! Of course, most people who complain about their kids driving them crazy are still passionately in love with them. But understanding our tongues literally create or pollute the atmosphere of our homes should help us wisely choose our words and speak only words of life from the Life Giver Himself! We ought to be people filled with the love and truth of God so that our mouths speak blessing out of the overflow of our hearts! Matthew 12:34-36 “…For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Maybe we don’t think our “innocent” complaining means anything! Be assured it does! And the great thing is we can change it today! Speaking of today! It is all we have so why not make the most of it?
Celebrate today! “Today’s” are very important in God’s economy. We really don’t have time to waste or risk one day we are gifted! Think about these “Today’s”:
- Jesus came “Today!” Luke 2:11 “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” Truly that is an important “Today!”
- “Today” is the day of Salvation! Luke 19:9 “Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.’” We would never want to miss “Today’s” salvation by wasting words would we?
- How about that thief on the cross? Good thing he didn’t miss his “Today”! Luke 23:43 “Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’” How do any of us know the effects our words have on others, the potential we have to speak truth so someone else can have a “Today” moment?
- Then we are warned about listening “Today”! Hebrews 3:7 “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert…” We have opportunity “Today” to hear His voice no matter what we are going through! Let’s not waste “Today”!
Today! Go ahead and bundle your children up and go outside! Snow days are fun days. When I was growing up, we played outside all day! If the wind was too strong, no problem, we just built our forts that much faster so we could get out of the wind. Of course this was before the days of video games, Wii, the overproduction of movies and television, phones, computers, etc. And before you think I am opposed to technology, I’m not. But just because we have the benefit of all these things doesn’t mean we can’t go back and occupy ourselves with the simpler things of life, especially since we still seem to be bored even though we have MANY more choices today! It would seem much more plausible for boredom to be an issue “back in the day” than now, but this only goes to prove no matter how much we have, we always want more. Instead of wanting more from this world, how about we foster a desire for more of God in the lives of our children?
How about getting that Bible out and reading with your kids? Don’t read it in a monotone boring voice – read it like you read the books “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” or “Where the Wild Things Are” to them! After all, the Bible IS the living Word and there is a while library of great stories and truths found within! How will our kids know the greatest role models are Jesus, Paul, Moses, Peter, Ruth, Sarah, and Keturah if we don’t talk about them on a regular basis? Our kids choose worldly role models because that is all we expose them to. Expose them to spiritual role models and watch them grow!
Winter is a perfect time to foster their creativity and imagination! Read about the feeding of the five thousand then have some fun “doing” it for lunch or supper! Read about the conversion of Paul and experience it yourselves! Read about the healing of the man by the pool of Bethesda, or the healing of the blind man with spit and dirt, or restoring Jairus’ daughter from death to life, or any other of the multitude of miracles recorded , and then lay hands on each other and experience God! Read the account of the Last Supper, not just the actual breaking of bread and drinking of wine, but all the details surrounding it and then commune with your children! Read an account of prayer and then pray with your children! I could go on but you hopefully get the point! Just pull out the Word of God and boredom will no longer be in your vocabulary! The more you get into it yourself, the more you will want it for your kids! Position yourself with Him, then position your kids, and watch out world!
Do your kids have a lot of energy? There is a way to steer that energy into something that will invigorate your entire home’s atmosphere and you get to partake as well! Praise the Lord! I don’t mean just say “Praise the Lord” like it is just another thing to do! But go ahead, get wild and praise the Lord! Why have your kids dancing to all secular artists, mimicking their moves and voices when they can dance like David! 2 Samuel 6:14,22 “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might…And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight…” When is the last time you got undignified for God?
Why should our kids just learn all the latest popular dance “moves” when the Bible is full of moves unto the Lord? Psalm 150:1-6 “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” Now THAT my friends is high energy!!!!
I have not always been the biggest fan of winter but I am a HUGE fan of God! Since He created winter I decided I would love His creation! I have decided to fan the flame of love between us and see it burst forth and blaze in our home! You can too! Trust me! If you do these things you’ll be praying for more snow days and more winter! It might be cold outside but your house will be on FIRE for God! So…let loose and let God have His way in your kids and in YOU!