This evening we had our weekly family night where we strategically manage to have all of our family still living at home, gathered together for the night. With all the comings and goings of a household our size we guard our family nights. Phones and social media are banned and we either play games, or watch a favourite movie together. We are making moments, and memories together.

Tonight it was my husband’s pick and “Father of the Bride” came out. The kids tease their Dad about this movie, and sneak looks at him as he gets emotional over daughters leaving home and getting married. He’s going to get plenty of practice with one already married,and three more daughters growing up fast.

Time goes so fast, too fast actually. One minute you have these little people following you around asking “why” all day, taking all your time and attention. Then all of a sudden they are finishing school, getting their own passport, travelling for the first time by themselves and becoming independent. There is usually tonnes of information, preparation, wise words, books and blogs about people becoming a parent, but I have discovered there is very few things said or written about how to transition through those same kids growing up and leaving home! It’s not just a Mum thing, Dad’s feel it too. Just ask our eldest daughter when she breaks the news she is not going to be home for her Dad’s birthday and Christmas again.

I’m so glad that I understood early the importance of making time together, because time is precious and we get these moments only once. We try and have family traditions; like family nights, family dinners with all nine of us, holidays, selfies together, gathering together to watch our favourite sitcoms, the annual Christmas tree photo, bbq’s, birthday parties every year, and family outing days. And what I love now is that our kids have started to make their own traditions together, like the yearly musical performance. They may squabble, it is definitely never quiet, and sometimes it’s a little crazy, but in amongst all the noise and hullabaloo we are making memories and moments. Plus one of the best things God has done, is that we get to share our hearts and home with others, who are family now too.

I think God smiles when we value relationships and seek to bless others by opening the door’s to our home and family. God loves family, and when we invite all those who need some love and support into our lives. It makes us bigger and better people, because let’s face it, left to our own devices we can all get a little set in our ways. When we are around people, whether it’s a blood relative or someone who you now call “family” we are going to be confronted with our own quirks, and perhaps some issues we might need to address. That’s often how God grows us. It’s easy to get along with people when it’s just you! The bible says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. (Proverbs 27:17) Those people who irk you, may actually be the making of you. 

Today take a look around you, and give thanks for the people in your world, whether it is your immediate family, or those who you have adopted as your family. God has brought them into your world to support and help you.

Here’s some ideas to value your time together:

  • Make a plan to regularly set aside time to spend together. If you don’t look for opportunities, the busyness of life will no doubt swallow the time up, so make the effort to make it happen.
  • Make traditions – they can be a good thing.
  • Value those in your world – time goes quickly and these moments are precious. If you haven’t taken the opportunity in the past, make a decision to start now.
  • Forgive – let grudges go, and look to the future. Ask God to help you know what and how to move past hurts, so that you can build something new.
  • Look at what you do have already, and not only at others faults.. People are flawed, and yes fickle at times. Choose to focus on the positives and what you can relate to. Sometimes what holds us together may be just a thread, but hold onto that thread. 
  • Don’t look back and think “I wish I had done that, or made more time”. Start today.

Prayer: Lord I thank you for the people who are in my world. Help me to value these relationships, and to make the most of every opportunity to enjoy the time we share together. Help me not to focus on the negatives, but to look for those things that bring us together. In Jesus Name Amen.