Family as a Verb
by Ashley Randleman
“I think we should buy a camper,” my husband Jeremiah told me after we spent a weekend with my parents. We were in the second week of a 5-week family series at River Church and creating intentional family time was very much on our radar.
Church planters know that God has ultimate control, but they also know God has given them the task of stewarding a congregation. The survival of the church community they have begun weighs heavily on them. This pressure often makes time management a struggle. In this mix, the family can quickly feel the strain.
I am so grateful for the words my husband spoke. “I think we should buy a camper,” was a statement that became an act of prioritizing the family.
This summer, Jeremiah rearranged his office hours so he was essentially working Saturday through Wednesday — having Thursday and Friday off. He worked hard to have his sermon ready to preach and his notes handed in by 11:35am on Wednesday morning — allowing us to “check out” as a family on Wednesday afternoon for a couple of days.
I worked hard to have the camper stocked, packed, and ready to go by the time he returned home from the office. It was no small task, but as the summer wore on, we settled into a nice rhythm of putting our house in order and locking it up tight so we could all squeeze in tight and do this thing I’d like to call “familying”.
I believe that the word family should be revised in the dictionary to be a verb. When done well, it becomes so much more than “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.”
When done right, Jesus is at the center and His love never fails. Familying is taking ownership of the family that the Lord entrusted you with and stewarding it well for His Kingdom and Glory. It’s being a family — on purpose, and for a purpose.
This past June thru October has been the most adventurous, intentional, and relaxing summers of my life in my marriage and mothering. We skipped naps so we could skip rocks. We climbed trees and then jumped out of them. We ate one too many s’mores and still had some more. Our children giggled around the fire as we told them our own childhood stories. We got sand in all of the wrong places and got dirt under our fingernails. My husband took up fishing. I began running again.
My oldest caught the biggest bullfrog we had ever seen. Our second caught his first fish. My daughter earned her nickname of “Barefoot Wonder” as I decided to raise the white flag in any attempt of keeping her feet sandaled. The baby became a toddler and I smiled when he signed and said, “Outside,” for the first time. The summer of 2017 will be one for the books as my children grew wings and flew.
We recently winterized the camper and towed it away to store in preparations for Iowa’s soon-approaching winter months. It was bittersweet as we closed the door (literally) on something that has brought our family together in ways I didn’t anticipate or expect. Although the camper will be unoccupied for the next six months, spring will be arriving soon. Until then, we will be busy familying.
Family on, my friends.
Ashley Randleman is a pastor’s wife of ten years and a mother of four (Nathan, Josiah, Lydia, and Titus). She and her husband, Jeremiah, planted River Church in February 2014. Ashley has a heart for the mothers and women in her life and church. She pours into them on a weekly basis from the comfort of her living room carpet over strong coffee and meaningful conversation.