Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Fruitful Summer

Are you having a fruitful summer? The relaxed schedules and longer days of summer usher in with them the tastes and smells of wonderful fruits like juicy watermelons, fresh cantaloupes, and (my personal favorite) lush red strawberries.  Our family snacks on fruit more during the summer months than any other time of the year.

But the summertime can be a dry, fruitless time for many women, especially those with elementary aged children at home. Quiet times are cut short or forfeited all together as we focus on scheduling family outings, planning vacations, or juggling childcare along with the usual work schedules. However, it is possible to remain connected with our Lord if we make it a priority.
Jesus said,
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. –John 15:4-5, 11

Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing of spiritual value. So, let me share a few tips I’ve discovered over the years as I’ve sought to remain connected to the life-sustaining Vine, Jesus Christ.

1.       Set an alarm during the summer, even if you don’t have a pressing commitment. By getting up early, you can take care of household needs early and have a few quiet moments to yourself. If you don’t  work, you can always crawl back into bed for an afternoon nap, later, but make yourself get up and stay in some sort of routine.

2.       Find a devotional to help jump-start your prayer time. Many women take a break from Bible study during the summer, but a good devotional can keep you in God’s Word and help provide topics to fuel richer, more focused pray times. Might I suggest, the Hugs BibleReflections for Women.  It is filled with inspiring true stories from women just like you and me. Each chapter also includes a few application questions to help you organize your thoughts and spend a little time in God’s Word.

3.       Play Contemporary Christian or Worship Music while cooking or cleaning. Turn off the television for a while and turn on some Christian music. The lyrics will help you feel more connected with the Lord and quieted in your soul.  It’s a great way to help you children remain connected to our Vine as well.

Summer doesn’t have to be a fruitless time in your spiritual walk.  Jesus said He wanted us to remain attached to Him "so our joy may be complete." Be intentional. Remain attached to the True Vine this summer. Your frustrations will be fewer, your joy greater, and your children will reap the benefits of having extra time with a mother who is overflowing with spiritual fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—as  they munch on the fresh melons and lush berries so prevalent during the long hot days of summer.