A Beautiful Metamorphosis
5 Specific Ways You Can experience a fruitful and refreshing summer.
What is your first response to change? Even if it’s an exciting and positive change, transitions can be stressful because the adjustments require more focus, energy and reliance on God.
As seasons change, we must weave our way through and adapt. Fall brings with it an often welcomed cooling off of temperatures and, in some areas, a feast for the eyes in changing colors of leaves. Spring brings lovely flower buds and the warmth we long for as we head out of the chill of winter.
What do you look forward to when summer is around the corner? As children, we yearned for summer vacation from school. Families often look forward to a fun get-away, whether it’s a journey far away from home or a camping trip in the cool of the mountains a couple hours away.
Changing seasons drive up to 500,000 Monarch butterflies to travel approximately 3,000 miles from North America to the California west coast or central Mexico mountain forests in the fall. They hibernate there until about mid-March when they fly back north for the summer, fighting against strong winds, dodging obstacles and fleeing predators. They know, by their God-given internal compass, when it’s time fly. You can see thousands flying together.
In the spring, the adult Monarchs mate and feed on nectar and water. They lay their eggs on milkweed leaves, which is the only plant the newly hatched larva will eat. Larva is what scientists usually call this stage, known by most as a caterpillar — the eating and growing stage. Nine to fourteen days later, the larva hang upside down in a chrysalis for about a week. It then emerges and shows off its metamorphosis as a beautiful orange and black adult butterfly. This cycle repeats until the last generation of the summer migrates south in the fall.
Although this is an extreme example of what may accompany seasonal change, summer brings with it big adjustments for most families. You may or may not be traveling much or a very long distance, but the effects of this new season can definitely be felt by each member of your family.
The routine of the fall with its time-directed events like work, school, homework, sports, the arts, holidays (and all that goes with them) gives way to the lazy, or at least more flexible, days of summer.
How do you manage this transition?
After a bit of a breather from the school year activities, things can seem unsettled without some sort of routine. Fortunately, with God as your guide, like the Monarch, you too can be led by God to maneuver against the odds to a fruitful and refreshing summer. Just as He provides for these fragile insects to make their way forward thousands of miles, He will give you what you need to bring new discoveries and refreshment to your family.
God has promised when you trust Him and not yourself, He will make your paths straight. If you seek God and act on His wisdom, you will be refreshed (Proverbs 3:5-8). Don’t you just love the sound of the word refreshed? It summons images of a peaceful, bubbling stream, or a cool beach wave caressing your toes as you relax on the warm sand.
Other than making a beeline for the mountains or the beach, how do you get this summer refreshment on a regular basis?
Invite God to help you:
- Plan some quiet time, at least an hour would be helpful.
- Grab your Bible, your calendar, a pen and a notebook.
- Pray and ask God to lead you.
- Take some time to read your Bible.
- Ask God what His plans are for your family.
- Ask Him to show you areas to strengthen your family.
This might include silencing and putting away all cell phones and committing to visiting over frequent family meals. It may mean turning off the television while you eat and chatting with your family instead. Maybe your family needs to laugh more together, so some creative ways to incorporate humor into your time together may come to you.
5 Specific Things to do –
- Pray specifically for each of your family members. It might be time to consider doing that “thing” that one of you has been talking about for quite a while. It may stretch you a bit, but pray about giving it a try, whether it’s camping, attending a car show, doing a craft together, seeing a play or learning a new game.
- Listen to what God impresses on your heart about each member of your family and write these impressions down.
- Look into what might be available and within your budget to enhance each child’s inclinations and gifts or needs, checking against your family calendar. Maybe swim lessons are necessary or put a mission trip in in the plans.
- Choose areas you’d like to help them improve upon, like reading plans or math games.
- Jot ideas down as you think of them.
Lean into God so you don’t become overwhelmed with all the ideas and areas to explore. Choose ways to help each family member grow in these important areas:
Spiritual – commit to reading a devotion together each day and pray for one another. Or challenge older children to read from their Bibles and journal what stood out to them and have them share it with you.
Intellectual – read a book aloud together. Some of the nuances will become a part of your family’s communication and light-hearted interaction. You may decide to watch a thought-provoking movie together once a week over popcorn and pizza.
Physical – take frequent walks to the park, catch a frisbee or hike to explore nearby paths, play Marco Polo or volleyball in a pool.
You can feel confident as you seek God’s direction and move forward with your plan for a summer of refreshment and growth, in these three individual areas and as your whole family unit.
If something isn’t working, don’t hesitate to scrap it, but keep trying. What’s the next, maybe more simplified, idea?
If you’re in a season when schedules don’t allow for as much interaction as you’d prefer with a family member and you’re like ships passing in the night, try keeping a spiral notebook of messages to each other. This can help you stay connected until you can be together, and it can become a memento of this season.
Support One Another by Doing Life Together
Summer can be a time of rest and renewal from a strenuous and event-filled school year. As Isaiah the Prophet put it:
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:29-31 ESV).
God gives exceptional strength, endurance and beauty to the Monarch butterfly. There are specific routines that must be followed for this creature to survive and flourish. He gives internal direction for what is required for multiplication and growth. Then thousands of them hang together until it’s time to fly together.
God gives you much more. He provides “wings like eagles” as you wait for and trust in Him. He strengthens you to care for your loved ones. You may feel weak right now. You may be exhausted at times. Seek Him and His answers for your family so you can also stick together and be a support to one another through your summer journey, with all its ups, downs, twists and turns.
May this season bring you great hope, having at your disposal the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-20). Think about the greatness of that power! Tap into the nectar of God’s resources as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The colors of your love and the beauty of your family will be even more awe inspiring than thousands of Monarch butterflies. You will have the strength and wisdom to be on your way to creating an exciting journey together.