Fresh Starts for Families

Fresh Starts for Families


By Harida Hampton

The start of a new year is much like the start of a new school year. Both of them provide an opportunity to prioritize what is most valuable in our lives, especially how we are spending our time. For those of you who have children, you know that, at times, it feels like the hours and days are passing by at the speed of light!

I recently pulled out some papers that were tucked away in the back of a folder.  They reminded me of a new habit of rehearsing personal declarations that I had begun last fall with my daughter as we rode to school each morning. As you can probably guess, life had apparently pushed that habit aside as I began to allow her to practice driving!

Nonetheless, I was curious to see if this routine had made an impact on her life, so I prompted her with the first couple words from each paragraph. To my astonishment, she still knew every declaration from memory! My jaw dropped as she flew through those declarations. I am so grateful that I was able to make the most of the time I had with her on our drives to school because those days will soon be behind us.

Healthy families prioritize family time in the rhythm of life.

I was reading an e-book called “Healthy Rhythms” by Nina Schmidgall that rang true for this time of year. One of the quotes that stuck out to me is,

Families today face growing pressures and competing interests demanding their time. Parents share that they feel stressed, tired, rushed, and short on quality time with their children, friends, spouses, or hobbies. There are seasons in which a family might realize that there’s a discrepancy between what they say is important and what they’re living out. Perhaps they realize their schedule no longer reflects their priorities as a family.”

If this describes how you’re feeling, then I’d like to suggest taking a Family Rhythm CheckUp (available below), provided by the authors at Orange, the source of the curriculum we use for our children and teens ministry. The questions point out those things that are most important for families, and I’ve found that it brings the perspective needed to adjust the areas that have the potential to rob us of valuable family time together.

Following any checkup, setting new habits gives value to what’s most important.

Consistency with any habit can alter our present circumstances. The next day after finding my printout, I didn’t have to remind my daughter to pray or say her declarations. Speaking truth had its own power to ring in her heart and she initiated how she wanted to start her day with those declarations. Every parent yearns for those moments when the tools we hand our children spring up within them, empowering them to face life’s challenges!

Similarly, in children’s church, we aim to see the next generation make wise decisions and speak the truths of God in times of adversity. As parents, we must remind ourselves that it all comes down to being intentional with how we are spending our time and following up each day with consistent practices.

Now is the time to set priorities that will make a world of difference in the rhythm of your family. Attend weekly services and bring your kids and teens along. Set mandatory meetings to reflect on your kid’s devotions and your teenager’s notes. Begin everyday with praying and worshiping God together. Talk to a Cornerstone Kids’ leaders about how to maximize your child’s potential this year. In the end, your family will abound in God’s blessings because of your decision to prioritize time with Him and your time together.

If you’d like to begin using daily declarations with your kids, start by finding some of your favorite Bible verses and inserting your kids’ names into them.

Here are some examples to get you started:

Philippians 4:13 – Jacob can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.

1 Corinthians 2:16 – Ashley has the mind of Christ.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Christopher trusts in the Lord with all his heart, leaning not to his own understanding. He acknowledges God in all his ways and God directs his path.

You can also include decrees from church messages to reinforce what your family is hearing in service.

For example:

We are recovering our sight! Everything that was lost is being restored to us and we are going to recover it all. This is our year of new beginnings and our answers are coming!

Click here for the Family Rhythm Checkup: FamilyRhythmCheckUp

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