No Substitute

I recently enjoyed speaking to a friend on her podcast about pastoring your soul.  We spoke about the busyness, the noise, the tiredness, and the chaos that can drown out our own heart's signals that it's time for a pause.  A pause to be still, be quiet, and be refreshed.  It was a great conversation, and if that stirs something down deep, you can listen to it here.

But, as I was processing the things we talked about, I realized there is a pattern I've begun to follow in life that not only pastors my own heart, but my marriage and my family.  And it all involves TIME. 

I wrote about it here a few years ago in regards to fostering a healthy relationship with my husband, so I've known it existed, but I've come to see that the same pattern that nurtures my marriage also nurtures the deep parts of me, and is even the same pattern that causes my kids to thrive.

And that's my greatest desire for each of them, that they would thrive at being exactly who God created them to be, that they would be so confident in the truth of the nest they were raised in that when it comes time to fly, they would soar.

The reality is that there's simply no way that happens without an investment being made into them, an investment of time.  Because it takes time for that truth to sink in and be rooted.  It takes time to listen and learn where their hearts are unsure.  It takes time to discover the gifts buried deep and to call them out.  It takes time for mistakes to be made, discovered, and corrected. 

It just all takes time.  And there's no substitute for it.

For all those reasons, having an intentional pattern of time spent with my children has become a blessing.  There's the daily meal at the table, the weekly family night, the monthly fun day, and the annual vacation.  And not every one of those is filled with deep conversations or even half-way deep conversations, but because there are enough of them, the deep conversations have a vehicle in which to overtake the daily routine.  They have a pause where they know they will be heard.

We haven't always done it well.  We've had the seasons where we let the pauses get filled with too much noise, too much everything.  But, we've learned that our children are remarkably forgiving when we simply say, "I'm sorry we've let things get too crazy.  Let's bring it back."  

And when we lead them to the pause, they follow.