The beginning of a new school year feels much like New Year’s to me. A build up of anticipation of the season ahead, excitement of a fresh start, the setting of new goals, and a bucket full of hope to do things better this year.
If you are anything like me, you have spent a good bit of time over the summer planning.
School supplies. Check.
Back to school shopping. Check.
Dental and doctor appointments. Check.
Signed kids up for fall activities. Check.
Lunch and meal planning. Check.
But what about planning intentional ways to encourage growth in your children’s relationship with God this season? For your own spiritual growth?
That’s where I found myself a week ago. Although excited about the start of a new school year, I was already tired and overwhelmed just thinking about everything there was to do. That’s when I remembered the CANNON ON THE HILL.
About a month prior to this moment I heard my pastor share an illustration in battle strategy from a general’s perspective at West Point. The general had learned in his years of training that even though you can go to great lengths to strategize and plan how to overtake an enemy, it was equally important to make sure the soldiers knew the main objective of the battle.
Like…take down the cannon on the hill.
Despite all of the soldiers’ training, the battle was unpredictable. It was chaotic, overwhelming. It very rarely goes the exact way you are hoping to be able to carry out the plan.
But if the soldiers understood the goal, the main objective, victory was possible. Take down the cannon on the hill.
Our pastor was encouraging us as believers to remember the main objective as a follower of Christ…TO LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS.
So while I was busily planning strategy for schedules, meals, and activities– I had forgotten about my cannon on the hill…to grow closer to Jesus and to encourage my family to do the same.
I’m betting that’s your cannon too.
While you are wrapping up summer and finalizing your planning for the fall, I want to encourage you with some simple, meaningful ways to make your days intentional. To help you keep first things FIRST.
Take care of YOUR heart.
Make time with Jesus a priority.
I love reading through the One-Year Chronological Bible. It is a powerful way to read the Bible as one story. On September 28, the readings begin in the New Testament.
There are some great online communities like Hello Mornings where you can get set up with community and accountability while you study a book in the Bible. The new First5 App is a great kick start to your day, gets you in the Word, and shares inspiration to study deeper.
We cannot pour into others lives unless we first are being filled up ourselves.
Fill your home with God’s Word.
Share the truth of God’s Word with your family daily.
With so many competing voices in our children’s day, it is imperative His is the loudest.
If you are not sure what to read or where to begin, here are our family’s favorites. Picking a book from the Bible and reading a little a day is a great way to start.
I believe the most important thing is to pick something and remain consistent.
Music can be a wonderful way to hide Scripture in their hearts too…especially if you spend a good bit of time in the carpool lane! Seeds Family Worship and classic hymns have filled my children’s hearts and mouths with praise.
The family that prays together stays together. (I bet you haven’t heard that one before).
Prayer is powerful! What a beautiful thing to go to the throne of grace on behalf of one another.
Pray with your hubby before he heads out the door to work, or for your kids in the car on the way to school. Find out the names of their classmates and friends and pray for them too. Leave little encouraging notes in their lunches letting them know you are praying for them.
Send them to sleep with the gift of a prayer.
We really are not in control but through prayer we can call on the One who is!
Share a common cause or serve together.
One of the biggest ways we as a family have grown closer to the Lord and seen His glory is through our Jesse Tree ministry.
My husband, my kids and I are learning the practice of putting others needs above our own, praying with faith for God to provide, and bearing witness to the Lord’s gracious provision.
Besides, it’s just fun!
Find a way to serve at church, in your neighborhood, or across the world.
These tips sound simple because it is just that. The objective is clear.
It is so tempting to fall back on strategy when the going gets tough, but above all God wants us to fall back on Him friends.
There is no telling what this next season will bring for any of us. But when we make Christ the focus, our perspective, our cannon on the hill…no matter the chaos, the circumstance, the size of the enemy, Christ will be our victory.