Anchoring your Family through Change and Uncertainty
I grew up in three different countries, moving between them at 5, 8 and 15 years old. The sudden change to day-to-day life we have all been experiencing felt familiar in some ways.
Okay, so we may not have just packed up our whole lives, left everything we know behind, and moved continents. But truth be told - the upheaval our kids are experiencing right now is similar. They have been moving through natural feelings of grief, an off-kilter sense of balance and control, and a loss of identity. And it can be hard for them to articulate.
Separation, albeit temporary, from friends or family, changes to the security found in daily routines, or no longer being the “basketball kid” or “playground monitor” is felt by kids big and small. When we stop, listen and watch - we will see it. I asked my eldest to describe something she is finding hard right now, her answer: “being apart from friends and family you love is hard, it can really impact your mindset”. My youngest often tells us she wants to be a swimming teacher, and I know she’s missing that part of her life as I watch her recreate lessons with her dolls.
As a wife and mum to two girls (10yrs and 5yrs), I find myself reflecting in this season on what helped me as a kid. Practical things - that our family, and yours, can use to anchor our kids sense of self and identity at this time. As a parent, it is reassuring to know I can lead my family by being intentional about creating a familiar and calm atmosphere which brings stability to their worlds.
Hold fast to your identity, culture and values - the ties that bind.
Whether you have a plaque on the wall, or never spoken about it - every family at their core has values, norms, rules and traditions that woven together guide everyday decisions and routine. With all the external noise and advice right now from friends, family and social media - being clear about what the important threads are for your family can help reduce the overwhelm, navigate options, and make decisions that are right for you. In fact, it’s key.
Your family is unique and distinguished by your values in action. At Life Church, our church family is known by our L.I.F.E. distinctives - you will recognise us as people who Love, Inspire, have Fun, and Empower others. What defines your family? What’s important to you (or not)? What do you look forward to? When? What would you miss - smelling, hearing, seeing, singing or doing together?
Maybe you start every day with stacks-on snuggles, always eat evening meals together, say “I love you” often, use mottos like “we do hard things”, hold weekly family movie nights, enjoy a regular favourite Tuesday meal, play favourite songs on repeat, always tuck kids in goodnight, end the day with three things you’re thankful for, or pray together before bed. The everyday norms and routines, unique to you, are the key to your rhythm - and can remain constant in seasons of uncertainty.
Keep it simple. You already hold these in your hand, use them, repeat them, indulge in them, and fiercely protect them. Play your favourite songs over and over. Rediscover old ones. Watch that movie for the 17th time. Linger longer at dinner or bedtime. Read another story. Anchor in the familiar and fun.
If you do one new thing - sit down together, write a shared Family Vision Statement, and have fun discovering the values, sayings, and activities that make your family great! Stick it up somewhere you can all see - and celebrate who you are!
Anchor your identity in Jesus.
As a family, core to our identity is the decision to follow Jesus and a life committed to serving in God’s house. Living in alignment with our identity, while physically separated from our church family, has been so important.
The vision of our church is to reach and empower people, and we can still do that! We are blessed with lead and location Pastors at Life Church who value families, and have made so many resources and opportunities available so we can continue to connect, worship, serve, and encourage others through this season. You are invited to ###a href="connect" class="redactor-linkify-object">https://lifechurch.com.au/life... with others in a Life Group, join us Sunday as we worship together, and check out Kids Life at Home resources.
I love how God reminds us through His Word that, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain...” (Hebrews 6:19). Our hope in this and every season is in the real, risen Jesus.
I was reminded this week of a Bible story where Apostle Paul sailed a stormy and near disastrous voyage. On the fourteenth night, they finally saw land - so stopped, dropped not one, but four anchors - and slept. The next day, exhausted from their voyage, they first shared in communion and gave thanks to God, before finishing their journey together - strengthened and encouraged (Acts 27:27-35).
God is bigger than our now, He is steadfast with a birds-eye view of this season, and we can fully trust in Him. Our family and yours can rest and be refreshed in Him. He anchors our souls.
I would love to hear what family values or traditions have been important to you in this season - and the verses that anchor you!
Editor Note: A very happy mothers day to all the mums reading this post! This Sunday as part of our online services, we are doing mother's day shout outs! If you would like us to shout out your amazing mum, jump onto this quick form here to write a short message for us to read out. ###a href="https://lifechurchaus.typeform.com/to/dLVdP5" class="redactor-linkify-object">https://lifechurchaus.typeform...