The word renewal means to make new again. In nature, the earth makes itself new again after a winter sleep, by plants beginning to bud, birds traveling back to their summer nesting grounds and critters beginning to have eyes for each other. In the retail world renewal takes on the form of seasonal displays ranging from Easter pastels, to end caps filled with seeds, potting soil and gardening tools. But how, exactly can we do renewal within our families? And is it even necessary?
As a mother of adult daughters, I often find myself wishing I could have a do-over as a parent. I was an impatient mom and often disciplined out of anger. But I cannot turn the clock back and I wouldn't trade the things I now know and understand. I believe I am a better parent now, having gone through difficulties as a young mom. So how do I experience renewal as a mother; as a wife and as a grandmother. How can I bring new life to my relationships?
For me, I must go back to my faith. According to the verse above, if I am in Christ, I am a new creature. If I am a new creature, then the old things have passed away and new things have come. That would seem to translate that all those bad habits, sins and poor choices of my past have passed away. While I know that I am forgiven, I also am realistic enough to know I haven't arrived yet. I still mess up. But I am also thoroughly convince that Christ is all about new beginnings.
In my relationship with my family, I have found renewal looks much different than what I thought. For my oldest daughter, this blog and our working together to make it happen has been a way to bring new life to our adult relationship. For my other daughter, it has been a learning curve. She got pregnant at 18 and that was not what my husband and I thought her future would look like. I feel only recently, renewal starting to happen in our relationship as I learn to accept her where she is at, and as she and I enjoy her son, my wonderful Grandson! With my husband, I find that renewal happens as we accept our differences, agree to disagree and find things we both enjoy. Sometimes, just doing a simple thing like finding a different restaurant to go to for dinner, or going to a park for a walk instead of around the same block again, can breathe new life into our relationship.
Intentionality is very important in the renewal process. Do some planning! I am always planning with my oldest daughter Rebecca. We plan work dates, early morning walks and texting sessions, partly to work on the blog, but partly to just spend time together and keep our relationship fresh. With my other girl Rachel, my planning is more flexible. She is often more tuned into a quick, unplanned run to a store we both like, or meeting for lunch while Quintin is in school or with his dad. My husband and I have a regular date night, but I find it more fun when he plans something I know nothing about. Don't just have good intentions. Follow through on them.
It is so easy to get into a habit and then the habit becomes a rut! Break out of that rut and refresh the relationships in your family. Start a game night with your kids. Make one supper a week a make your own pizza party. Plan a date with your hubby, but don't tell him where you are going or what you are doing. Let it be a surprise.
Perhaps, even more important is to renew yourself. You are an actual woman. You are busy, active, pulled in many directions. Do you need a manicure or a pedicure? How about a massage? If money is tight, take yourself for a walk, or ask a friend to watch your kids so you can go to a bookstore and read. Do little things for yourself that will make you feel renewed. You will be much better equipped to bring renewal into your family if you feel refreshed and in tune.