Do you have a summer tradition for refreshment?
Every summer, I love to re-read a classic devotional book called “Streams in the Desert” by L. B. Cowman. Written in 1925, it has a truly wise, old-school style and feel. The theme of the entire book echoes the ideas of refreshment and the living waters of Christ. For me, this is much needed encouragement after a hard year of homeschooling.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19, AMPC).
When I read that, it reminds me that God wants to do something new in our family, in our home school. However, if I keep pressing on with our own plans and busyness, I may never stop to see it. The summer season spent resting allows us the chance to see something fresh at work in our family. It allows us to stop, to see, to hear and receive His guidance for the new thing He wants to inspire in us in the season ahead.
During the school year, I long for summer. I long for unscheduled days—days free from zooming in the car from activity to activity. Instead, I treasure the idea of summer days filled with our favorite things like hikes in the park, stargazing, board games, and eating outside in the golden light. In my mind, the summer days take on the hue and tone of the song, “I’m Easy Like Sunday Morning.”
As much as I want that, I find it hard to embrace. Now it’s summer and I’m still finding myself ruminating like it’s Monday morning. I hate to admit it, but I like a schedule. There is something lovely about a well-structured day. The nothing-on-the-agenda, freestyle days make me edgy. I’m struggling to relax into the knowing that school will return soon enough. The more I think about it, rest is about trust. It’s trusting that it’s okay to put all of busyness aside and goof off for a while.
In my mind, goofing off is reserved for when everything is finished and all the work is done. But truly, there is always more to do. Andrew Kern from the Circe Institute once said, “goof off first.” When I hear that, voices in my head immediately start sputtering, “But, but if you goof off first, you might never accomplish anything but fun stuff.”
Am I goofing off at all this summer? Am I any fun to be around? I think about what life must be like from my child’s perspective and wonder if we are creating joy in our family. Am I fostering an environment where beauty, wonder, and fun can show up?
This summer my hope is to goof off. I want to set aside the constant doing. We have to wait and rest in Him. We have to pause and listen. We have to rest before journeying ahead. We have to be still enough to be ready for the new thing God is doing. We have to embrace the quiet, still space so we have fresh eyes to see the stream in the desert.
I think about what my child needs most this summer. I go to the closet and I get out our favorite board games—Settlers of Catan, Scrabble Apples, and Uno. I set up a puzzle we have been longing to do. I put out some books that we have been saving to read in a slower season that are purely fun. I’m practicing goofing off first by creating an ecosystem of goodness, ready for us to enjoy.
My hope is to rest in Him. To wait with a hopeful heart for the new thing God will do in our family this year. I set aside my ruminations in favor of noticing this gorgeous moment of summer. I can’t wait to see what streams in the desert our loving Father will create in our lives this year. I surrender my spirit so I will be ready for the fresh thing He is doing in our family. I will trust and rest in Him.