So, yes. It has been awhile. I took about two months off from blogging, unannounced and unplanned. Sometimes its good for me to take a break from it and re-enter fresh. Sort of like a furlough or sabbatical. There are many types of bloggers out there, and I’ll tell you now I am not a blogger who just posts things even when I have nothing to say. If I have nothing to say, you’ll know it because I won’t be saying anything. Time is too precious.
The past 2 months have been crazy with traveling and preparing for a baby and my role at South Bay Church has developed quite a bit. That is all part of it, but often in order for me to keep up with life and do a good job as a wife and mother, the honest truth is I just can’t do it all. And some things have to take priority over others. Welcome to life, right?
Well last night I was moved to the point of tears by a few jars of jelly beans. And now I’ve got something to say.
It was the kick off of the South Bay Church family ministry staff retreat. My husband David is the Family Pastor and this is the one weekend a year he gets all his key leadership together to realign around the mission, vision and values of our family ministry team. Maybe I’ll share some of that content with you as well soon because its GOLD. Any parent who heard what I heard last night would want their kids and entire family involved at South Bay Church.
So about the jars . . . back in Aprii David attended Orange, a dynamite family ministry conference held in Atlanta every year. Ever since then he’s been talking about this idea that came from Reggie Joyner, the founder of Orange, who brought out some jars of marbles onto the stage. The idea is to illustrate how many weeks you have left with your child in your home by having each week represented by one marble in the jar from today until your child graduates high school. I get it, I understand the concept and think its a pretty cool visual illustration. Well I hadn’t actually seen it with my own eyes until last night.
When all the leaders had arrived David opened with this illustration before dinner, as an introduction to why they were having the retreat and why do family ministry in the first place. I walked into the room and was totally blown away by the decor, obviously orange was the theme because Orange is the philosophy we use at South Bay to create a comprehensive birth-12th grade strategy of partnering with the home to reach the next generation for Christ. There were orange centerpieces made of candy and twine, orange cake pops, orange sixlets (remember those?) orange cupcakes and even orange silverware! It was awesome!
So I sat down in my spot and was listening to David welcoming everyone. He opened with these statements. What we do matters. Time is ticking away. He was speaking to his family ministry leadership team who will be partnering with parents to reach kids and students for Jesus. But I was hearing with the ears and seeing with the eyes of a parent with a 17 month old.
He got out a mason jar of orange jelly beans and started talking about the fact that from the time a baby comes home from the hospital we have 936 weeks with that child before they graduate. He held it for a moment and put it on the table. I thought to myself “surely that is not the jar with 936 jelly beans in it.” I had imagined it being much much larger! That jar was so small. I’m telling you it is a 32 oz mason jar. The reality started sinking in and was like a weight on top of me as he went on and brought out the jar with 754 jelly beans, starting from when a child enters preschool, and 650 from the time they enter kindergarden, and so on. At the time they enter their freshman year we have 182 weeks left. And then when they are a senior we have 52 jelly beans. Thats it. I was concentrating so hard on keeping my composure and not weeping! I am just the spouse here to support her husband!
So if you are a parent just imagine that you’ve got a jar for every child you have. And every week you have to take out a jelly bean out of that jar. And you never get it back. What did you do with that week? What did I do with my week? I don’t want to look back on this time and say where did all my weeks go? I had so many! Now I only have a few left!
I am tempted to push it out of my mind and not think about it because quite frankly its a bit depressing! But we can’t close our eyes, and we can’t ignore it. We must call something else up out of ourselves. As parents we have to make the time matter. We have to be intentional with the moments and days we have because we are the number one shaping influence on our children. They are becoming someone. Who are they becoming? Will we confidently hold them with open hands, knowing that we invested every ounce we had in them from when they were small children. I sure hope so.
I am still learning what all this means, and how to be intentional with the time I have. I don’t have all the answers. But what I do know is that it matters. What we do matters. What we do in the home and what we do as a church. Time is ticking and we don’t get it back. Are you as overwhelmed as I am? Well lets start with today. How are you using your time, your words, your influence in your child’s heart? If you are truly needing concrete material for next steps, here is a great link to the orange parents blog where you’ll find some material to help you as a parent.