Summer Vacation and the Gospel

How did this arrive so quickly? I wonder to myself. Actually, I do know how it happened; this day was scheduled in advanced by the county I live in, and as always I’m not paying attention to the calendar like I should. Summer Vacation has arrived and I am seriously panicking.

As I type, I peer over at my daughter-who has already had too much screen-time despite it being 9am-and question my abilities to keep her occupied during the summer. One would think I would have summer vacation down to a science after seven summers with a child at home, but alas I do not. Woe is me. Without much thought, I go to the one place where I can quickly get inspiration and fast ideas for our nine-week-24-7-adventure together: Pinterest.

After scrolling, then scrolling some more, I not only begin to question my creativity, I begin to question how the Ten Ways Not to Have a Bad Summer Vacation leaves room for Christ to work in my life, or the lives of many of the mothers looking for the same answers I look for. Sure, the summer vacation and motherhood blog posts are helpful to many, but what I am seeing alarms me: How to Be a Great Mom or How Not to Lose Your Patience, and so on. If you are on Pinterest like I am, you know what I am talking about.

I shudder at the thought of some well-meaning mom holding fast to any list like those mentioned above, only to find she is having the worst summer vacation despite following a blogger’s suggestions to a “T.” Before I came to Christ, I was that mom. I would follow a wonderful list of suggestions, only to arrive at the end of the day in frustrated tears. My little girl would be same. The reason we can never have a perfect day, a great day, a day with no child meltdowns, is because we are broken sinners and sadly, our children are as well. If we strive to have a perfect day we totally miss Jesus blanketing us with His perfect grace and fail to see our forgiven status when we lose our cool.

While reading my Bible earlier this morning I came across this passage: “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” (Mark 7:8-9, English Standard Version).

Jesus is reprimanding the Pharisees, and not very gently. He points out their hypocrisy when they become indignant over the disciples not hand washing before eating. Instead of listening to the commandments given to them by God, the Pharisees choose to follow traditions. The Pharisees taught what the world was teaching them, not the Word of God.

Reading this passage from Mark gave me hope because I realized something major about my summer vacation planning: I was substituting what Jesus says for what the world tells me a “good” mom should do. Jesus tells me I am saved, loved, forgiven, and to raise my daughter to love Him while the world tells me I should be a better mom and all the ways to do it. It dawns on me that I am more apt to look to the world’s advice on motherhood than I am to look to the Word of God.

For anyone out there looking for a Gospel approach to Summer Vacation here it is: Jesus’ death on the cross saves us from perfectionist views to which the world holds us mothers. While we may plan wonderful family outings to the pool, and things head south before 7am, let us rejoice in the fact that His mercies are new each day. If we screw up the day before, and we will, our days are made new because of Him. His grace is sufficient, I promise.

By Stefanie Kamerman

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