Jenifer's Perspective: When Summer Days Turn Bad

It happens every year. I plan the perfect summer day for my family and (as Murphy’s Law promises) nothing goes right.  I’m not sure when it will happen this summer, but I’m going to be on the lookout for it. 


It usually happens during a family vacation or when we have relatives in from out of town.  I’ll plan the perfect “Southern Living” backyard party or I’ll orchestrate the most amazing day trip for our company and it’s inevitable: all my best-laid plans will come unglued.  It typically starts going downhill just as the day begins: the kids will start whining, Barrett will sleep late, or the dog will make a huge mess that distracts me from the mission of the day.  Every component from there on out is a disappointment.     


But here’s the big question I’m learning to ask myself: What actually ruins the day?  The things that go wrong or my response to them?   More times than not, it’s my response.


Bryant mentioned a great verse in his sermon a few weeks ago.  Proverbs 14:1 says “the wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.”  This verse gives me two options.  I can use my attitude and emotion to either build up or tear down.  In every opportunity with my family, I’m doing one or the other.  There’s no neutral ground. 


Perhaps nothing reveals that we are building or tearing down like the nature of our words.  With kids home during the summer, our routines are completely out of whack.  That often means that whining and complaining are at an all time high.  How will you respond?  Will your words make it worse or will they build up your home? 

Paul instructs us in Ephesians 4:29 to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  When that perfect day is turning south, will we “give a gentle answer that turns away wrath” (Prov. 15:1) and overlook an offense or will we turn every molehill into a mountain? 

As we get into summer, let us cling to Christ’s promise in John 14:26.  He tells us that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” When that ugly day comes and I’m tempted to respond with a crummy attitude and destructive words, I’ll be listening closely for the voice of my Father. 


I’m sure He will lovingly tell me to make the most of every moment for Him, in spite of the imperfections that come my way.  And I can think of no better way to spend a summer day!


Figuring this out just like the rest of us,



Jenifer Johnson is the other, better half of Barrett Johnson, Minister to Young Marrieds and Families.