Tag Archives: kids

Crazy Love

Kid’s they spend your money, scream at you and lie to your face. You have to clean up their rooms and bodily secretions! You experience tiredness like you never knew, which doesnt help you not to slipp into shouting at them on a line from time to time to all of the time.

Yet, there is no question that you would give your last breath or go without that new item of clothing or shiny piece of technology because of how much you love with your children.

Isn’t it strange how just one kiss, one hug, one “thank you mummy or daddy” immediately transports you to a universe full of proud parent moments, which obscure and blots out the ruggedness or rudeness of day to day parenting?

God is clever with this parenting stuff, they look like us, so we see ourselves in them, and the author of love gives us this great bond of love that is both an embrace and protective shield.

However for some kids they don’t get that bond, that protection, they don’t feel it’s warmth or safety. Perhaps it’s not surprising that understanding God as love, or even as a parent, is near impossible for these little ones because for them that parental relationship has been so disfigured.

A parents love is the closest I have come to understanding Gods unconditional love. A love that takes our our arrogant presumptions that we know all that there is to know about God.

I used to see Gods unconditional love in the forgiveness I receive when I mess things up, but now to my surprise and delight I see it also in my interrelationship with my kids.

Is Messy Church Really For Kids?

Messy Church is just for children, right? So as churches we focus our crafts, food, worship at these cherished mini adults with varying degrees of success and perhaps that’s fine?

A bit of background first.  Over recent years as churches and denominations there has been an increasing focus and emphasis on what makes us church, both structurally and as believers.  Especially in terms of what we believe spiritually and theologically about God and as we come to terms with an increasingly diverse spiritual and religiously pluralistic context. On the most part we realise we have to refocus ourselves, and our ecclesiastical emphasis, on Jesus.

From this continuing period of reflection on who and what God wants us to be, religious movements have sprung up that have become church in their own right, just as the Methodist church did 300 years ago. Messy Church, its what is known for the uninitiated as a fresh expression of church. These and similar expressions of church, have flourished in recent years and found their identity having emerged across a 8 stage process, see below.  

FX journey

The FX of Church Journey

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Building Family Wealth

‘Why don’t we spend as much time together as a family anymore’? Their son asked staring up at his parents.

Mum had just taken some extra hours at work and dad had assumed increased work responsibilities, meaning that he was busier than ever. The family all loved where they lived and the increase in  income meant they could save a bit more, which was a real blessing. However, it wasn’t apparently what their children wanted. The question hung in the air and its truth and challenge caught the parents by surprise.

By the time the parents had formed an answer for their son, he was already onto the next thing, happily playing. Yet for mum and dad the challenge rested heavily on their hearts, and so internal intentions created to be more available, more present for both there son and daughter.

Its all very easy to make promises in the heat of the moment, as they had done not to the children but to themselves, to make things better. How actually could this work in practice in the cold light of day.

Looking at the schedule what realistically could be cut? Because work still demanded what it demands and then there is the child activities, cleaning the house, walking the dog, and hobbies, actually spending child free quality time together to keep the marriage strong, it all becomes too much, to huge and impossible.

For such a schedule to work there are perhaps some options that immediately come to mind that might help:

Firstly become very wealthy so you wouldn’t need to work, but the kicker is, that you would have to work even longer hours to get rich, which kind of defeats the object! Unless you win the lottery of course! Secondly one half of the couple stays at home, but then for us at least we couldn’t afford to well, live!

Thirdly do nothing, and let the distance grow between the family members. When the kids leave home, the fear might be though that for the children at least, they are actually just leaving a house where they lived once with some people they used to know.

Lastly live sacrificially. Put personal dreams to one side for now, store them away carefully and lovingly for tomorrow. There will be moments for those dreams when the kids are in bed, or the children are away or grown up. Then you can reward yourself and perhaps those dreams will blossom. For now its their time, these little ones we love and are loved by in return, that journey with us and for a short time who dwell with us.

Children will still demand the latest thing, or say to every advert on TV, “I want that.” But time is what they need, time to be loved and be known, time to flourish and be shaped by the wisdom of experience and a parents unconditional love. In that they become wealthy in what matters.

So as well as saving for christmas and birthdays, why not deposit time each day into the lives of your loved ones. The interest that will accrue will be far more than you could imagine, and you will become rich in away that truly matters.

A wise clergyman told me once, that despite a busy working week, he ring-fenced time with his children after school until after tea. I have committed to this and one week in, not every day but most days I have managed this. As the children were dropped off at school, my eldest asked, ‘daddy can we play lego after school’? ‘Of course’, I said. He looked at me again as if to make sure, ‘building stuff, together’? I smiled “yes we can”.

For him and our daughter they look forward with renewed enthusiasm for what we might be doing together after school as a family, indeed as we do. That is a measure of success long may it continue for this season and beyond as they grow and find their wings.

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