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Chaotic Families - Live life with your kids - Issue 101
May 15, 2009
Hi there! ....

My week:
This week was the beginning of a local festival – The Ord Valley Muster – a two week long party celebrating our town and area. The town population swells with tourists and yet the locals enjoy the many events and activities as well. As a family we try and do a little over the two weeks but we don’t do everything, not by a long shot! This week the girls had a singing lesson, given by one of the visiting performers and we went to the inaugural Kimberley Gospel Music Festival and that was us for week one. It was a fantastic night: music out under the stars with many Christians from the town catching up with each other around the park. It was a great night and I am excited to think this will be a regular part of the festival in years to come.

Live life with your kids!

Chaotic Families

Have you ever felt that things in your home were disorganised, muddled, messy, hectic, unruly, frenzied and disorderly? These words describe the chaotic family and most of us have been there at some stage. Sometimes it seems like that is our life (fullstop), other times it is just a moment in our day or a short season. In trying to fix these things in our family life we can go one of two directions – we can look at the physical clutter in our home and set to with a deep spring clean or we can look at the relationship issues in our home and start working on our hearts.

I want to dig deeper into the relational side of our life.

Tyranny of Time
Time was created by God for our good, it was created to bring order and rest into our lives. How far we, in the 21st Century, have gone from God’s intention! Time has become our number one enemy – we don’t have enough time, if only we had more time….. We need to get back to God’s intention – that we work and rest using the time he has given us for the purposes He has given us.

When things go chaotic in our home, we need to seriously consider how we are spending our time. Is there a balance between work and rest? Are we doing the things that are consistent with our goals, our priorities? What is wasting our time? When am I not making wise decisions? Do we have time with the people that are the most important to us? Do we have time with our spouse? Do we have time as a family?

One of the things that are so ingrained into our society is that we have to be doing stuff all the time - Do we have time just to be?

If I am a stay at home mum
Why am I always in the car?
~ quote unknown

This is a tricky one – we get convinced that we need to use our time wisely so we set out and write up our family schedule, we confer with our diaries and we work out how everyone can get everything done, and then we squeeze in some fun time on Friday night. Then we learn that a schedule isn’t the way to do it but a routine is a better way – where we have patterns in our life, patterns of regularity that bring security and peace into our homes.

If our routine fills every crevice of time in our day – is it any better than a schedule?

When are we going to respond to our children’s requests if every hour already has a purpose? When am I going to respond to a need God puts on my heart if every hour has been allocated to something else (even if it is a good something else?) I do need to have routines in my day where the important things happen but I need to have space in my day where I can live my life as it happens (with God and family)

Training our children
There is nothing like chaos that makes us realise some issues in our children’s lives, or in our parenting. We need to listen to these times – not to be condemned but to be challenged to do better, with God’s help. Times of stress often show areas of weakness and we can be thankful for that – only if we do something about it. If we leave it as it is, the weakness intensifies and a crisis will result.

Are you training in areas of obedience, self control and respect (these are foundational issues to start off with) and then for the older children are you working on areas of initiative, responsibility, and being other focused? Training never stops. I am still working on areas in my life – sanctification (becoming more and more like Jesus, is never done!) As a parent it is our responsibility to train and guide our children towards Jesus.

  • Do you see training (being by their side) as a priority?
  • Do you give your family enough time for training?
  • Do you give yourself enough emotional energy to deal positivity with your child’s immaturity?
  • Reading the Word
    Our relationship with God is our number one relationship – it is the foundation of our life. If that is drying up then chaos will result in our day. Why? Because it is God that gives me purpose, it is God that gives me wisdom, it is God that gives me strength. Without those things from Him, I am left floundering in my own abilities and chaos results.

    I have listed “reading the Word” as forth on this list, not because it is a lower priority because it is really the first step, but because as we reflect on those other aspects we realise how important it is to sit still and reflect on the Word of God, how important it is to spend time in prayer.

  • We need to make time for God
  • We need to meet with God routinely
  • It needs to be a self discipline (and a time slot that our children respect)
  • Do you have time for God?

    Physical Clutter
    It is true, the clutter, the over-abundance of stuff may well be affecting our relationships. Though we think we are being resourceful by keeping all this stuff in reality it is a drain on our emotions and affects the people we love and live with.

    Have a moment of Quiet
    I find the best thing to do when chaos gets on top of me is to have some quiet time. Quiet time is actually hard to find amongst chaos but it is the key. We can try and put out spot fires, or we can take a step back, look for the cause and plan a strategy to beat the whole blaze.

    Often I gather the whole family and we have some quiet time together in the lounge room. This immediately quietens the house and settles the busyness. If there has been a break in relationships – anger, yelling, frustrations etc, then we spend a moment in prayer and repentance. A hug is a good thing!

    There are times though when no relationship has been broken – we are just heading that way – and fast! Now is the time to pause and reflect and change direction. In this attitude of quiet, I can consider the one thing that will make the biggest improvement in the family atmosphere at this moment in time. This may involve a family activity, or it maybe that I need to clear some commitments from our diary, it may mean we simply need to spend some time together, uninterrupted fun!

    Chaos attacks our relationships and we need to be diligent to protect (or restore) our relationships before we go on with the tasks of our days. I encourage you to sit and take stock of the chaos-meter in your home.

    • what is causing the chaos
    • what can you do about it
    I am reminded of that old hymn “What a friend we have in Jesus” and in particular the last few lines – what peace we often forfeit, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Our chaos is something that Jesus cares about. Actually I’ll paste the whole hymn here for you to consider. Read through it carefully, let the words speak to your heart. You can listen to the music as you read.

    What a Friend we have in Jesus
    What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

    Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

    Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer. Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

    Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer. Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

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    Until next week

    Belinda Letchford
    Living life with her kids in Australia!

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