Be kind to yourself

Like many other people in the UK I found myself furloughed in April, and recently I’ve been reflecting on that time.

I had these grand schemes of how I was going to occupy that time – fun craft, Play-Doh sessions, painting, planting things in the garden and baking … the list goes on. And for each activity, I had great plans to introduce faith in small ways that my two year-old would grasp.

It soon became apparent that my little girl wasn’t necessarily interested in the way I’d planned to introduce faith to her that day, or even in the activity I had prepared. She was more interested in hiding crayons and finding a patch of wall to decorate, or jumping around to nursery rhymes.

In the background of each day loomed the global pandemic, which has changed everyday life so massively for all of us. Sometimes just getting through each day felt like a huge achievement. And I’m so grateful that my relationship with God was something I could cling to.

I quickly realised I needed to let go of some of my expectations. I stopped putting so much pressure on myself and started to do whatever worked best on that day.

We went for long walks to burn off some energy, sometimes we baked, and other days I gave in and turned on the TV. When the weather was lovely we played in the garden and just spent time together.

I would play worship music in the house whenever I could. Sometimes, when we painted I would pick up a brush and paint Noah’s ark or a rainbow. I would often talk about the stories in the Bible, not really knowing if she was listening or not.

My husband and I would pray with her at bedtime, showing her pictures of the family we couldn’t see and praying out loud. She is too young to join in and pray out loud herself, but it felt right to include her in these prayers.

It was a few small things that began to become part of our routine. Some days went better than others. One day she would sweetly sit whilst we prayed at bedtime and another day she would fidget and fuss. Sometimes a week could go by and I would feel like nothing had gone to plan! But sometimes we would grasp her attention for a moment.

Over time, I began to tell myself that there is no perfect way to raise my daughter to have faith. Each week, day or even hour, can be so different from the last. So, it makes sense to adapt what works best in that moment. The biggest thing I’ve learnt in this season is to ‘be kind to myself’ and as we continue in this time of ever changing uncertainty, my encouragement is for you to remember that too.

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