Four Ways to Thrive at Home During “The Crazy Years”
by Calvin Wisen – Lead Pastor
I have four children all between the ages of 3 and 7, and a conversation I seem to have all the time, especially when I meet new people, goes like this:
“How old are your kids?”
“Wow! You are definitely in the crazy years! Hang in there!”
Here’s the truth – it is a crazy season right now for our family. My twin girls (7 years old) seem to be changing (and getting more emotional) every single day and my boys (3 and 4) have more energy than a litter of puppies. It can be easy to get overwhelmed, exhausted, and even flat out discouraged at the prospect of raising young children. But discouragement is not what God has for us! In Romans 8:37, we are told that in Christ we are overcomers and conquerors - pretty awesome, right? This stage of life doesn’t have be about merely surviving. In Christ, we have the power to have joy and thrive.
Here are four steps to start you on that path:
1. Understand the purpose of this season.
Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a season for everything. Specifically, “there is a time to sow and a time to reap.” This season of parenting is all about sowing. You are shaping, influencing, and molding who your children will be as they grow up. This is the hard season of serving, loving, giving attention, disciplining, being patient, navigating sin bends, and communicating God’s awesome love for your kids. This season will not last forever, but the effects of this season will last a lifetime. These are the defining years that will shape how your children remember childhood. It has been such a good thing for me to remember that I have a job to do and that this season of life has a purpose. These are not wasted years! And by God’s grace, there will be a great reward for us as our children get older and mature if we are faithful today!
2. Accept the fact that you need help.
I don’t have it in me to be a good dad all the time–there, I said it! In fact, I so often find myself distracted, worn out, on edge, and moody. It is in these moments (which occur daily) that I need my Helper to give me the strength to love my children well. In John 14:16, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit (God Himself) has been given to us that He might help us when we are weak. I find that I am at my best as a father not when I am relying on my own strength, but when I am seeking the power of God in prayer and asking to be filled with His Spirit. His strength and power are better than anything I have in me. “God fill me with your Spirit and help me” is a prayer that needs to be a daily and hourly prayer for us during this season of life!
3. Cultivate a dynamic romance with your spouse.
Nothing is more infuriating to me than couples who punt on their marriage for the sake of their kids. Listen, your kids are watching you and they are paying attention. Dads, more than anyone else, you will shape what type of husbands your sons will become and what type of men your daughters choose to marry. Moms, your kids are learning from you on what being a spouse looks like and they will pick up on your attitudes, thoughts and actions towards your husband.
One of the absolute best things I can do for my kids is to communicate to them how much mommy and daddy love each other and that we put each other in love and service ahead of ourselves. Every single day I will tell my kids, “Do you know you have the most beautiful mom in the world?” Mary will often say, “Girls, when you grow up, you need to find a prince just like daddy!” We are also not shy about being appropriately affectionate with one another because I want my kids to see this is what a dynamic, fresh, healthy marriage looks like. I want my daughters to find a man who is wild about them and cherishes them, and I want my sons to be that man to some girl down the road. The healthier and more dynamic your marriage is, the better off your kids will be in the future!
4. Remember that God loves your kids more than you do.
This idea seems so simple but in reality, is so, so difficult to remember. The truth is that these children are not our own but they are the Lord’s. When we embrace this truth, the freedom and joy that comes with parenting is truly immeasurable. God is in control, He has a plan for your children that no enemy can thwart, your kids exist for His glory, and our job is to point their (crazy) hearts to the only One who will satisfy and sustain them. I give my absolute best to my kids because I love them and then I entrust them to the One who is holding the world together by the word of His power!
We hold on to His grace in our failures, His strength in our weakness, and His sovereignty in our fear! Life is crazy, but God is so good and He’s with you and He’s got this!