This month I flew on a moment’s notice to California to be with my parents. My dad was hospitalized with complications because of post-transplant lymphoma. (You can read about my parents’ journey on their blog.)
Our schedule has been somewhat unpredictable. The children are finishing up school here. We’ve gotten some good visiting in with grandparents (a high priority for this visit). It’s not been a normal vacation, but in some ways it’s been feeling like one.
Because our routine is a little topsy turvy, one of my concerns is that our Bible time suffers. My parents are godly people who have their own spiritual routines, but they’re different from ours. It feels awkward to impose our way of doing things in a new place, so we improvise. Coming from Japan is also challenging because it seems to take at least a week to really recover from the jet lag. When my mornings are fuzzy and groggy, it takes awhile to get them back in their morning routine.
And when do I encourage them spiritually? Normally I can find quiet times during the day, but in someone else’s home, those opportunities are rare. If cousins are around, the kids are usually off on their own long before I wake up!
Of course, family dynamic and personality all necessitate flexibility and creativity on how we seek God when our normal routine has been upended.
Since I’ve been thinking about the process deliberately, I’m writing down some of my thoughts here.
- I do think attending services together or alone is important. Vacation doesn’t mean a vacation from God. I’m thankful that our families attend good churches, although we have visited other friends’ churches from time to time. I’m also thankful that we don’t have conflict over scheduling family events during services.
- As for personal Bible reading, I need to be doing what I want my children to do. Reading the Bible when you’re at someone else’s house takes planning and a plan. You can’t always rely on your normal routine cues. I sometimes have to leave a lively conversation that arises while I’m trying to read. At home, mornings are my best time to read the Bible, but here afternoons are sometimes better.
- Car time can be invaluable for Bible conversations. I’ve discovered that even a trip to the grocery store with one or all my children can be helping for giving instruction or feedback that isn’t always appropriate or well received when others are around. This last week, as we took an hour long drive, I just had the kids take turns reading the Bible, and we talked about what we were reading.
(I won’t talk too much about how a different routine interrupts blogging! I’m sorry I’ve been absent! Hopefully I’ll have a few months of normalcy before our lives are upended again with our move back to the states.)