Family Spotlight — The Millers

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Meet The Millers: Nick, Jill, Caitlin & Colin

Who Are You?
We are the Millers – Nick (37) and Jill (36). We’ve been married 11 1/2 years. We moved to Cedar Rapids from Omaha in 2002. Our daughter Caitlin is 6 and in kindergarten at Prairie. Our son Colin was born in April, just before Easter. We also have 2 dogs (our pre-children “kids”), a German Wire Hair and a Bichon.

What challenges do you face as a family?
Nick says our biggest challenge as a family is being on time… I wish that was funny, but anyone who knows us would agree it’s true! In all seriousness, time in general is a challenge. We both work, Caitlin is in school, both kids go to daycare… and it’s hard to get done all the things you would like to. After work we get kids picked up, try to get dinner together, sometimes there is homework/projects, or it’s bath night…. and suddenly bedtime has already arrived. It’s hard to balance things and spend meaningful time together. Adding a baby to the schedule and it’s hard to get to all do things together with all of us.
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How have you seen God working in your life in regard to these challenges?
God is definitely working on us in this challenge on an on-going basis. It’s something we talk about often, and continue to struggle with. We try to give each other a break when we can, because some days you’re just wiped after work. We keep talking it through, which is really important – when we don’t keep the communication going, frustrations seem to get more elevated.
One key thing we have done is cutting back on extra commitments. Right now we want to have time with our kids, so this season of life is very focused on them. We don’t do a lot of activities so that we have family time, and try to limit our weekday commitments. Both of us have taken a step back on “extracurricular” things to prioritize our family time… but it’s still a struggle. Sometimes even when we have the extra energy left, one of the kids is tired, sick, or even just cranky. We take it day by day sometimes… we are definitely a work in progress!

What have you implemented with your family to draw them closer to God?
We try to do family dinners regularly without the TV or other distractions. This gives us a chance to talk about things, and we also try to get Caitlin to do the dinner prayer sometimes. Pastor Jason gifted us a family-oriented Bible lesson book that Nick sometimes does with Caitlin while she finishes dinner (she’s kind of a pokey eater – so we try to utilize that time). It was easier to do more frequently before our little guy was born, and some nights after school and other things it’s hard to keep her attention, but we try. We do books before bedtime with Caitlin, sometimes we do Bible stories, but not all the time. We do prayers nightly though and make a point to pray not just for ourselves, but also others, and to have our daughter thank God for something from her day on a nightly basis.

What advice would you give others who are facing similar struggles? 

Advice for others struggling with this? Determine your priorities and see if your life reflects it. That’s the thing we try to always go back to, and if/when it doesn’t match up, we try to figure out what we can change. It often doesn’t “match up” and so it’s on-going! It’s never perfect… ever. Pray often. Try to pray together as a couple and as a family. Sometimes we feel like we’re setting a terrible example and then our daughter will share something amazing with her 6-year-old’s faith and we are reminded God works through us in spite of our flaws as parents.

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