What's Your Normal?

normal1 We're on our third day off from school this week because of snow and extreme cold. I have to tell you, I'm ready for things to return to normal.

But as a I think about normal, I'm reminded that our family's normal is not the same as another family's. We've been having this conversation with our kids a lot lately.

My older daughter often looks at her friends who tell her they're too busy to do something and compares her schedule to theirs. I often have to remind her that the choices that our family makes about our activities and schedules don't work for everyone else.

We're a busy family. We have some kind of practice four nights a week. Add in church and school activities, and we're often busy most nights and weekends. That's our normal. Most of our family time revolves around a child's sporting event, band concert or youth group activity.

Your normal might be different. You might be a family that likes to stay home in the evenings. You might be a family that spends time together by watching movies, playing games or going hiking every weekend. Your kids might be involved in theater or dance rather than sports.

The whole idea that there is a "normal" family in this world is a farce. Our family doesn't have to look like our next-door neighbor's family. It doesn't have to look like another family at our church. Our family just has to look like what God made it to be.

There's not a lot of instruction in the Bible about creating a "normal" family. We're told to raise our kids in the training and instruction of the Lord and not to exasperate our kids (Ephesians 6:4). We're told to bring up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6).  But we're never told that every family needs to look the same. We're never told we have to be "normal."

So, if you're frustrated that your family isn't "normal," that your family doesn't look like that family down the block, remember this: God designed your family to be special. He designed your family to reach a piece of the world for Him. He designed your family to be a part of His plan. That means you don't have to look like any other family. It means that what's normal for your family doesn't have to be normal for another one. As long as God is at the center of the things your family is doing, as long as you're making time to be a family, as long as you're nurturing the young hearts in your midst, your family is normal. Your family is exactly what God designed your family to be.

My challenge to you today is to accept your family's normal. Stop striving to be the family down the street. Embrace the unique qualities of your own family -- because God has.