As many of you know we had an incredibly busy summer. Only being home for less than two weeks all summer was an adventure, but it was also kind of hard on our kids.
As much as they got incredible experiences of being at different camps and doing things like sailing and rock climbing that others may never be able to do, they were worn out and tired by the end.
Melissa and I understood, we were missing home too. We needed to think of a way to bring our children into the experience of serving and ministering to others, rather than having them measure one camp against another and risk their becoming entitled or spoiled.
In the middle of our summer we went to a Toby Mac concert and as much as we have heard Toby “Speak Life” song many times over, it’s somehow different to hear a musician explain and describe the intention behind a song. It spoke to me and I mentioned to Melissa the potential impact and value of using a song that they love to refocus as a family.
Toby Mac describes what brought the song to life as being the realization that EVERY interaction with another person involves a passing on of “life.” We either bring life and vibrancy to another person or take life from them by draining them. This reality brought him to a place of deciding to be intentional in EVERY interaction, trying to “Speak Life” to others and bring encouragement to those he interacts with. He got it from this quote:
“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.” – Brennan Manning
I grabbed onto this reality and as we thought and prayed through it, Melissa and I decided to make it a family motto. For me, I chose to walk into every camp and be a blessing to those leading the camp, I wanted to make the program director’s week less stressful, I didn’t want to expect or demand things or even come looking or asking for input or affirmation, I wanted to bring encouragement and affirmation to them and let God be my foundation and source of encouragement. Filling myself up so that I have more to offer those around me.
The same goes for our kids. As we drive and prepare for a speaking engagement we pray and talk about how they could be encouraging to those in their age group, or maybe their cabin leaders – rather than looking to gain, we look to give. (1 Thess. 5:11)
Speaking life, giving life and leaving others lifted up and spurred on to keep “running the race” God has called them to is our family motto (Heb. 12:1).
Here is the Music Video for a little added context:
Our prayer is that you would be encouraged when you meet us, that we wouldn’t leave anyone feeling drained or burdened but released and invigorated.
We keep talking with our kids about this, so that they can look outside of themselves and allow God to show them opportunities to encounter Him in their every day lives.
We started this in our family at the end of August, and have been implanting it into our busy fall schedule too.
Our challenge for you as a family is to find a way to connect and have purpose in the events and activities you do together. God can and will use ALL of you as a family for His glory.
May you and your families find a shared and unified attitude towards serving and being who God has called you to be.