About a year ago I read Ann Voskamp's blog for the first time. I fell in love with her writing style and her heart that shines through her words. After consuming every part of her blog in just a couple of days, I happened upon her Parenting Manifesto of Joy. I read it several times and then printed it. I posted a copy in my office near my computer so I could read it every morning before I wake my children. Recently, I put a copy on our daily clipboard so I could flip to it at any moment of the day and remind myself of my ultimate goals with my family.
I thought we could take some time over the next ten days and share our thoughts about the 10 points of the manifesto and how we can bring joy to our parenting.
"1. Today I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God."
Don't we need this? Isn't this absolutely essential for us and for our children?
In order to make our home a house of prayer, we must pray. Our prayer life cannot be suffering and dried up. I think of prayer somewhat like a phone conversation. If you are calling someone that you rarely speak to, there is a lot of time in the beginning of the call in just introducing yourself, catching up and sometimes making apology for how long it has been since your last call. It is not this way with people you call frequently. When I call my best friend, I never have to say who I am, she knows. I don't have to ask how she is doing, I know. I can tell by the tone of her voice how her day is and if she needs me and she can do the same. There is no awkwardness. Sometimes we don't even have to say hello. Our lives feel like one seamless conversation. I can pick up thoughts we had a few days back and the conversation keeps on going without reminder or review. This is how it can be when we are constantly in communication with our Father. He invites us to this relationship and our children see it and feel it.
Even when the conversation between us and our Father flows throughout the day, we still need special times to meet with him; planned times where distractions should be minimal. Though my husband and I talk our way through the day, we see each other each evening and we discuss all of the issues around the house as the needs arise, we still need time away together where we can really focus on our conversation. For us to have this time, we must plan it and be intentional about it. We know that every night when the children go to bed, we will purposefully take some time to recap the day, talk about tomorrow and just be with each other. We need this so much more with our Heavenly Father.
When we are purposefully and actively in conversation and communion with the Lord, the space around us changes. When we invite our children to follow in that example, our home beats with new life; fresh air that is life to us all. Our spouses and children can feel the difference in our homes. People who visit can feel the difference in a house that lives with God.
May the air that our children breath be saturated with God and may the fresh breath of air that greets our visitors be the gentle wind of the Holy Spirit.