What I’ve learned about intentional living in the midst of chaos

It’s hard.

End of post.

Seriously, I could just leave it at that. But what would be the lessons learned if I didn’t fight through the hard parts and learn from our situation and our mistakes? Life is hard and sometimes we are in situations that are particularly stressful.

This is when learning to live intentionally, instead of just drifting through life, really becomes important.

Intentionally love

Emotions are high anytime you are in a stressful life season. Moving to another country, selling nearly everything you own, and, oh yes, being pregnant…need I say more? Loving my family during this season is more than simply repeating the words. I must live it. I am needing to remind myself daily and hourly that I need to intentionally love my family.

Everyone’s emotions are showing up in different ways. What makes me emotional is very different from the rest of my family. And while it may be easy for me to toss a beat up toy in the trash can, it brings a whole range of emotions from one of my children. Remembering to love them is of utmost importance. Our own agenda is not important, but lovingly walking through this time as a family is priority.

Intentionally be kind

Along with loving my family, I am having to intentionally remind myself to be kind to my family. It seems like basic kindness is often lost in the midst of chaos and stress. If the situation isn’t really that important, I can bend to the desires of my husband or children. And if it really can’t happen, then there is a kind way of coming to a solution.

Walking over my family and not treating them as people with feelings and emotions is easy to do in times of stress. But that is never right. No matter how stressful the season, we all need to show kindness to each other.

Intentionally have fun

As crazy as life is right now, we realized that we needed to purposefully and intentionally have fun. If we are going to get through this as a team, we need to learn to laugh through strange situations. We need to keep our sense of humor. And we also need to have lots of fun along the way.

So as busy as it is, we’ve been going to the pool, the splash park, or just some outside time. Living in a home with no furniture and nothing to cook with isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s hard on the kids and it’s hard on us. There is always one more thing that has to be done. Getting out for even just a little bit each day where we can forget about the to-do-list for a few brief moments and just have fun as family is extremely important.

Intentionally defer to one another

Oh wow. Do I ever need to remember this one right now. Along with loving, and being kind, and having fun, I need to start my day out remembering that I need to defer to my family’s desires whenever possible. It isn’t my way or the high way. Very few things are moral absolutes. Really.

There is no right or wrong about whether a matchbox car goes in the storage box or the suitcase for Scotland. And if it’s a big deal to my son, well, then so be it. It’s going in the suitcase.

The same goes for my husband’s and my wishes. There are things that we see differently on. But, really, they aren’t that important. Remembering to love each other and defer to each others desires, especially if they’re strong ones, goes a long way in keeping harmony, peace, and joy in a time of total chaos.

Intentionally forgive

There are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. We’re making them daily, sometimes hourly. But along with the mistakes comes plenty of opportunities to forgive and seek forgiveness. I’m still learning this.

The funny thing about forgiveness, is that when you do it, you are actually drawing closer together. When I look my kids in the eye and say, “I’m sorry. Mommy was angry, or impatient, or unkind, will you forgive me?” our level of trust actually deepens. This is why we tend to have deeper relationships with friends that we have had a rough patch with and have had to seek forgiveness. There is a level of trust that we have with people that we’ve had to seek and grant forgiveness with, and then the relationship is completely restored.

I view the same thing with my kids and my husband. When I look my kids in the eye and ask them to forgive me, their trust in me deepens. It’s like saying to them, I know I won’t always be right, but I will always seek to have a good relationship with you. And that is huge.

Living intentionally during these moments of chaos has nothing to do with what habits you have, how you eat your family dinner, or what hobbies you engage in.

This type of intentional living transcends cultures, economic status, and lifestyle choices. These are things that I should be doing intentionally every single day.

I have these crazy, stressful days to thank for bringing them to my attention multiple times a day.

Tomorrow I’ll wake up and I’ll remind myself again to love, to be kind, to have fun, to defer to others’ wishes, and to forgive.

And we’ll make it through this season. We really will.


  1. I needed to read this today! We’re in a similarly stressful season of upheaval and I have also noticed how easy it is for kindness and patience to go by the wayside. Thank you for the reminder to be intentional in the midst of it all.

  2. RaShell S says:

    So true! Thank you for the reminder. Hard for me to live but so important!!!

  3. Great reminders, friend. Praying for you guys as you’re facing yet another transition!

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  4. Wow, intentionally deferring to one another is HUGE! Thank you for that wake up call. We are also in a stressful season of life and my coping skills tend to go hand in hand with having some ounce in control which is idolatry and sinful! I cling to control of the details at times to help myself feel better, not really thinking it through. I needed this today, thank you!!

    • Johanna says:

      I think that’s the hardest one. I sometimes have the “I am kind and loving…as long as it’s done my way” idea. Yikes. And, I agree with what you said about feeling like you want control over atleast something so we tend to hold on to that with everything we have. :-/

  5. This is actually where intentional living rubber meets the road. Not if you cloth diaper, or eat local but how you treat your family in intense transition periods.

    • Johanna says:

      “Not if you cloth diaper, or eat local but how you treat your family in intense transition periods.” — Exactly! I love how succinctly you put that.

  6. Kristin O says:

    You’re pregnant!? :)

  7. Intentionally write brilliant blog entries.

  8. Okay, so I read this the day you posted it and thought “Wow! I needed that!” but didn’t have time to comment–for which I am now very grateful–because I came back to it today and realized I desperately needed these reminders AGAIN. This time of transition in our family isn’t so much about getting everything done smoothly and in order in the timing I would like as it is about loving each other and staying united as a family-team in a God glorifying way. And it requires each of those intentional choices you wrote about. Thanks for once again so clearly expressing lots of loose, ambiguous thoughts I have floating around in my head and giving me something to hang on to.


  1. […] in the midst of our attempts to intentionally live our lives in the midst of chaos I have experienced a deep affirmation of our faith that God is the essence of love and knows our […]

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