Monday, October 17, 2016

5 Ways to Connect to God {for Busy Families}

I remember years ago, as a newlywed and not yet a mother, I sat in an adult Sunday School class at our church and one of the other ladies spoke about being so busy and so exhausted at the end of each day. She said, "I'm so whipped at the end of the day that all I can do is say, 'Thank you, Jesus' before I fall asleep." At the time she was a working mom of two teenage children. "Thank you, Jesus" is wonderful. And I'm sure Jesus was delighted. However, this worn out mom was desperate for a way to connect to God throughout the chaos of the day. She needed Him for strength, for direction, and for that calming connection in the midst of a regular day. Since becoming a mom myself, I have thought about this mom's comment so many years ago. I can SO relate now. Though I am still a work in progress, here are some ways our family has made connecting with God part of our busy days.

1. Sing - Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart!
I started this routine several years ago. On Mondays I pick up the neighbor girls to bring them to school too and my mom van is filled with children! We began singing this every Monday on the short drive to school. We even worked out special solo and duet parts that we consistently stick to and we end the song in grand fashion, belting out the last few words as I put the van in park. Even on the hardest Monday mornings, singing this lightens the mood and lifts the spirit!

Need a refresher of this song? Check out THIS VIDEO!

Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

2. Pray together before leaving for school/work in the mornings
Every morning before my husband leaves for work he calls us all together in the living room. We all hold hands, bow our heads and daddy prays for each one of us individually before we part ways to begin our day. I love this routine and love my husband even more for making it happen!

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
Matthew 18:19-20

3. "Thank you, God for________________"
I am a firm believer that finding a $5.00 bill in my pocket (that I didn't know was there) is totally a "God thing." I thank Him for little things. And my kids hear it - "Thank you, God, that we got home safely." "Thank you, God, that our homework is done." "Thank you, God, that we have a refrigerator full of food." The kids can also be heard randomly thanking God for the little things as well as the big.

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
Pslam 7:17

4. Stop & smell the roses.
Throughout the day, just stop. Stop and watch a nest of robins hatch, notice the wind in the trees, the colors of the sunset. Point out these things to your kids. Marvel at nature together.

Listen to a piece of music with your eyes closed. Notice the different instruments, the dynamics changing,  consider the singer/composer's talent. Listen to music with your children and talk about what you hear.

Stop and look at your children. Really look at them. They are a gift from God. They are fearfully and wonderfully made. He chose the shape of their hands, the color of their eyes, their sweet smile. Tell your kids you are proud of them. Tell them they are the best gift God ever gave you. Remind them they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

It's so easy (and so typical) for moms to just be on "auto pilot" doing what must be done. But if we take a minute and slow down and appreciate the simple beauty gifted to us by our Creator, it will reduce stress, put things into perspective and demonstrate gratitude to our children.

How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number -
living things both large and small.    Psalm 104-105                            

5. Have "messages" all over the house.

I have a chalkboard hanging in our dining room. I write Bible verses or uplifting messages on it and change them every now and then. In addition to the chalkboard, wall hangings, knick-knacks, magnets, and wooden signs can be found in our home reminding us of Bible verses or words of wisdom. Two of my three kids are readers and the youngest is almost there! Whether they are reading or not though, these special words become part of our environment and therefore, part of our life. We may read them together and talk about what they mean. I have picked up my son and pointed out the "Fruits of the Spirit" wall hanging I have to remind him God calls us to be gentle and use self-control!

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-3:17

See HERE for the tutorial how I transformed this garage sale find into a family chalkboard.
This chalkboard was purchased at a farmer's market booth a few summers ago.
It is in our dining room.
I got this FAITH sign from Family Christian Store.  It is hanging in our living room.
This is business card size and I have it near my kitchen sink.
God is with me in all that I do - even dishes!
My daughter Claire picked out this cross at Hobby Lobby a few years ago. I ordered the "Family Routine" sign online many years ago but unfortunately, I can't tell you where.
With intention, we can add small "God Moments" to our day and make it a habit. In doing so, hopefully our children will see that saying a prayer before bed or a meal is not the only time God wants to hear from us but rather, He wants to be involved in all parts of our life throughout the day...even ordinary, crazy, hectic days!

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