Last week, I shared the story of our journey to Cheney 10 years ago. In some ways, it seems just like yesterday. In other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago. Time passes both like a flash of lightning and at a snail’s pace simultaneously.
There have been many ministry lessons that I have learned these past 10 years. Although what I’ve learned is in the context of serving at a church, I believe these lessons can be translated into other parts of life as well. In the next few blog posts, I will be sharing several lessons learned. I will start with the number one thing:
#1) How to Keep Family before Ministry
God’s ordained order of priority in life is #1 God, #2 family, #3 work. When you are “work”ing in ministry, sometimes the lines get blurred between God and work and then family is what suffers. My relationship with God is separate from working in the church. It is obeying Him, spending time with Him, honoring Him in my thoughts and actions.
As I keep God first, my next priority is to my family, the very people He placed in my home. I need to spend adequate time with them in order to build strong relationships with each of them – hubby and each child. I am foolish when I expect my schedule or others to make boundaries for me . . . that’s just not going to happen. If I am going to have proper boundaries, I am going to need to be the one to set them.
It can be difficult to have both mom and dad working in ministry. Yet, I am grateful that I have been able to set my schedule so that my family comes before work. This past year has been sobering for me as I realized I have 5 years left before my youngest graduates from high school and leaves home. Only 2 years for my daughter. I don’t want to have regrets that I didn’t spend as much time with them as I could because I was too busy “doing the Lord’s work”. For the past 16 years, the “Lord’s work” has been raising my kids as much as it’s been teaching His Word or discipling women or praying for others.
I have been so blessed that as I have set my boundaries for what is healthy for our family, our church leadership and congregation has gotten on board and not had unrealistic expectations of what I can do in the church. They have been a gift of God’s grace to me and I believe both our family and our church have been blessed because we are following God’s order of priorities.
How about you? Are you following God’s order? Is He first? Does He get your time? How much of your heart does he have right now? Is there anything you are placing as more important than Him?
Now what about your family? Do they have a higher priority of your time and attention than your work, or even your “ministry”? If someone asked them, would they say that you make them a priority? Do they feel loved and cared for?
Finally, your work. Whatever God has called you to do; He will give you the ability and strength to do. Rely upon Him and His strength. If you are in a busy season of life, use wisdom in how you spend your time. There is only so much you can get done in a day. There is always tomorrow. I promise you, if you keep God first and then your family next after that, God will help you with your work, whatever that may be! Take it one day at a time. Say “No” when you have to. Rely upon Him and His strength.
You can do it. I believe in you.
Your Friend in Ministry,