Sunshine has a way of lifting our spirits like no cup of cocoa by the fire can do! Has it been a long winter for your family? Perhaps you feel a winter chill in your home and in the hearts of your children. You sense their spirits (or yours) distant from God, and a deserted space widening between you and your kids.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)
As I read the words of Isaiah 43:19, I was struck by how God promises to do a “new thing” in the midst of a dry, dead desert. God even tells Isaiah to “Look!” because clearly in the midst of the doldrums, Isaiah wasn’t watching what God was doing.
Sometimes, I’m like this with my boys. I focus on their shortcomings and mistakes, and I wonder how I’ll ever raise them into thriving, godly men. But God says to me, Look! It’s happening right now! Don’t you see it? He reminds me I cannot create a new thing out of dust—only He can do the miraculous work of creating a new heart in my boys. But He asks me to look for His work, to be present as He works in their lives.
The world refreshes itself with new buds and blossoms, as we renew our relationships with our boys.
Summer is a wonderful opportunity to re-commit to being present with our boys. Spending time outdoors is my favorite way to be present with my boys. Here’s why!
A way in the wilderness – When we’re stuck in our house, it’s easy to get distracted by housework, the ding of the computer, or a favorite book or show. Getting outside offers a way to remove distractions, and allows us to focus on what’s happening with our boys. The stimulation of the outdoors pulls boys away from ever-encroaching screens that too-easily hold their attention. The “way” to being present sometimes lies through the wilderness, and where better to find a wilderness than your backyard, a park, or campsite!
Discover a new thing – Not a whole lot of “new” happens inside the four walls of our home. We have the same books, same toys, and same devices. With nothing new to discuss, communication dies down. But, go outside, and even the dirt seems to breath with life. The boys and I always find something new to exclaim over. Within a few moments of outdoor play, they are running up to me, eager to share discoveries. This newly opened door of communication is, indeed, my way in the wilderness and back into their hearts.
Look for shared experiences – In the colder months, I cocoon myself with homeschooling, books, coffee. Although our family enjoys cozy times indoors, being inside so much creates a sense of isolation from each other as we pursue our own hobbies. But, on a nature walk or play at a park, there’s a sense of togetherness. We may spread apart on the trail or playground, but we share the experience together. Our eyes are alert, looking for a salamander or climbing the jungle gym. We notice details and pay close attention to each other’s proximity and movements.
Maybe it’s time to allow God to start a new thing with your boys. Maybe that new thing is simply being present with your boys. I encourage you to get outdoors this summer as a way to remove distractions, discover new things, and share experiences.
Allow the outdoors—God’s creation—to make a way into the wilderness of your boys’ hearts.
- 7 Things that are More Fun Outdoors (HappyStrongHome.com)
- 20+ Outdoor Activity Ideas for Preschoolers (HappyStrongHome.com)
- Mashed Potatoes and Paintballs – Indoor/Outdoor Devotionals (Amazon Affiliate Link)
We don’t really want a mocha frappe or a day at the spa when we’re weary. What we really want is rest for our weary souls. Hope in the mess.
In this free 5-day devotional series, the authors of Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess, Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker, walk you through five truths that can set a weary mom free. Like letters straight from their heart to yours, Dear Weary Mom will help reconnect your heart with the hope you really need.