Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Lighter Load~ from Guest Writer Holly Shivers

A Lighter Load

It’s so close I can almost taste it. No more homework, projects, schedules, practices, or rushing in and out of the car. We will kiss our alarm clocks good-bye and load up on sunscreen. Backpacks will be packed away and “Happy Hour” Sonic trips an almost- daily ritual because -Praise Jesus- SUMMER IS HERE! While all those things sound quite refreshing, we all know deep down the reality that as moms, we are on the job 24/7. The minute you held your first child in your arms, your days of never having a care in the world were over forever. And now you spend so much time striving to give your children everything they need, worrying that what you’re doing may not be enough, and wanting so badly to fulfill your purpose. And all the while, you are utterly exhausted. Even though your worry-free days may be over, God does not intend for you to carry this load alone. Today, I want to share with you two things that just may make your burden a bit lighter as you head into summer. Are you with me?

First, I want to share with you how Sky Ranch Camps can help carry that load. The blessings we have received from this ministry are too many to list. From giving our son his first overnight camp experience, to a week spent together in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, to one on one time with my girl at a mother-daughter retreat, to zip lines and horses and songs and skits. But what far outweighs all of those wonderful things, are the relationships we have developed there. My Dad always says, “Life is about relationships.” And what makes Sky Ranch so unique to us are the people there. To see these amazing, godly kids pour into our little ones is invaluable to us. Peek into our car as we pull out of family camp this summer and you will see what I mean. Every one of our children sobbing because they have to say good-bye to these counselors who spend endless hours with them, laugh and cry with them and teach them lessons we’ve been trying to teach them all year. (And not to mention, they are all about 2 inches shorter at the end of the week- due to carrying our children around on their shoulders for 7 days.) And that is just a perfect picture of helping carry our load. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer.” (NLT) Thank you, Sky Ranch, for having our backs!

The second thing I want to address with you is a perspective on your job as a mom and that daunting question of “Am I doing enough?” About a year or two ago, I had a revelation. I am not solely responsible for my child’s spiritual and emotional well-being. Brilliant, I know. But think about this: When you have a baby, it’s pretty doable to take care of that baby’s needs. Feed, bathe, rock, soothe, you get the picture. But then one day something happens. Your child comes to you with a problem and for the first time, you can’t fix it. And as they grow older, the less and less you are able to make right for them. Even worse, the less and less they need you to do that. So, while our children are young, I believe there is one thing we can give them that will not only enable them to succeed in life, but will last for-ev-er. And that one thing is God’s Word. For years I watched my kids memorize scripture at church or school from the sidelines. I cheered for them here or there but ashamedly, was just thankful it was one less thing I had to teach them. Since that time I have realized the vitality of helping my little ones hide God’s Word in their heart- mostly because- let’s be honest, people- it is their ONLY HOPE. I don’t have to tell you about the state of our culture and the current our kids will be striving against if they choose to follow Jesus. And although we as moms cannot be there every second to rescue them, if they have that super natural power of God’s Word inside of them- He will. He will be the one who is forever by their side, whispering in their ears and guiding their steps. 

Now, you must be thinking- how does this make my load lighter? Because, you see- it’s not all up to us! And thank the Lord for that! The Holy Spirit of God will take root in your child’s heart through His Word, and you will get to be a witness of the fruit that comes from it. The fact is, I never feel like I’m doing and being everything my kids need from me. But thanks to the grace of God, I am now (in a very hands-on way) giving them the one thing they need more than anything else. If I lose my temper, serve one too many fast food meals, get backed up on laundry, but I manage to salvage a few minutes at the end of that day to talk through a verse they are working on, I’m counting that day as a win. 

I have written a children’s book to be released this fall entitled, “I Can Learn the Bible” (52 verses every kid should know). Each verse has a family devotional that coincides, as well as tips to help your kids effectively seal God’s Word into their little hearts. The idea is to read the devotional together as a family at the first of the week, then spend that entire week committing that scripture to memory. I want to encourage you today to jump into this game with me and equip these kids with something that no one can ever take from them: God’s living, active Word hidden deep in their hearts.  Happy summer!


Holly Shivers