|The Milhollands on Easter 2012|
From l to r: Scott, Hannah (16), Hayleigh (13), Clara (6),
Carynne (5) and Shannon (Ageless...ha!)
Day one we carted kids to school, churned out homework and activities. We married into the crazy stage of multiple kids most couples take years to encounter. Crazy is our honeymoon phase. We wanted to honor our marriage first as our most important human relationship. We desired to have Christ at the center of our family with time for family worship in the home around the dinner table. Our home life needed a resurrection. Every day can be a new beginning with these strategies:
First Things First
In our home the master suite is on the first floor. With our children tucked upstairs, we have a living representation of our family priorities. We have to fight for couple time. We leave our little kids with their older sisters and go on a weekly date because we believe our need to connect as a couple supersedes their need to socialize with friends.
We scratch for time together. We go on walks after dinner, "nap" on Sunday afternoons, kiss in the kitchen and hold hands at church. We make our minutes count and we count our minutes. With the combination of intentional time together and intentional use of the time we get, we keep our marriage strong.
Who's on Second?
We have four daughters who range in age from preschool to high school. One is receiving letters from colleges while another learns her letters. Our teens are highly involved in our church. A minimum of three nights a week they attend youth activities. They each participate in one activity at school. They have friends, school assignments and interests.
We could easily be a family who dines nightly at three different fast food joints and scarfs our food on the run in three separate cars. We choose something else. We schedule nights for family dinner. Even if our "banquet" is as simple as waffles and eggs or chicken pot pie, we gather together around our kitchen table. We can't connect if we're not together.
I say no to nights out with the girls. Scott says no to purely social evening outings with the guys. We limit our kids to one activity apiece. We say no so we can say to each other.
Wherever You Are, Be All There
This is my favorite quote my martyr missionary Jim Elliot. It reminds me to fully engage with my family whether we're cooking dinner over homework or riding bikes around the block. It encourages me to finish my housework early so I have time for house play. It beckons my heart to God each morning so I have enough of Him to be enough for my family.
Balance is a fight. Priorities are a struggle. It is a war worth waging. Just as Christ fought and won the victory for us on Easter, let's be willing to fight and win a daily victory in our homes. Let's live the resurrection so that Easter isn't an event, it's a lifestyle.