Tag Archives: priorities

Lessons Learned the Past 10 Years, Part 1

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,

1Signature

 

 

Keeping Family First

Those who serve in ministry have the challenge to keep their priorities in order.  God first, family second, ministry third.  Sometimes, the lines get a little blurred and because we are serving God in ministry, it can seem like the stuff of ministry is more important than the stuff of caring for your family.

My lines got a little blurred this week.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are on the home stretch of a large building project at our church.  We have been a mobile church for over a year but, Lord willing, we will have our first Sunday in the new building in two weeks, June 15th.  The past month has been one of survival mode for our family.  My husband and I are pulled in many different directions and wake up trusting God that He will give us the strength we need to do what needs to be done that day.  This past Tuesday what I needed to get done was prepare my teachings for the Women’s Ministry Leader Day that we were having on Saturday.  However, Tuesday was also my husband’s and my 19th anniversary.  We had decided to have a quiet dinner at home while the kids were at Grandma’s.

I worked feverishly on preparing my teachings all day long and by the time 4:00 rolled around; I was not ready to celebrate with my husband.  I was still in my jammies, no make-up on, hair a mess, not sure what we were going to have for dinner besides steak, and no anniversary card.  Plus, I needed to pick up my kids at 5:00 to get them where they needed to be and meet my husband back home for dinner by 6:00.

I don’t know what you do when there’s a lot to be done in a little amount of time, but I start looking for short-cuts.  I did a quick survey of the fridge and found what else we could have for dinner, I got dressed and made myself presentable, but I still didn’t have an anniversary card.  As I was getting ready, I stumbled upon the anniversary card I had given my husband the year before . . . Hmmm . . .  Maybe, just maybe, I could pawn it off as the anniversary card for this year again?  Surely he wouldn’t notice, right?  I opened the card and was disappointed to see that it said something about “18 years”, so, I carefully made the 8 into a 9.

19 years

Then I re-sealed it with some wax, hoping to disguise the fact that this card had already been opened.

sealed card

At first, I felt pretty impressed with my ingenuity.  As they say, “Desperate times call for desperate measures”.  However, as the minutes went by, I came to my senses and realized that my husband deserved better than last year’s recycled card.  I scrounged up some cash and went to the store on my way to go pick up the kids.  Unfortunately, the store on the corner didn’t have the best selection of cards, but I found a cute card that I thought my husband would appreciate.

I got the kids where they needed to be and was on my way home, when I realized I still needed to sign the card.  I pulled over on the side of the road and started pouring my heart out to my wonderful husband.  As I was finishing up, my phone rang.  I answered it and it was my husband, he had just passed me and was wondering what I was doing pulled over on the side of the road!!  I told him I had something to do really quick and I would be home soon.  After dinner, we exchanged cards, and he asked me, “Is this what you were doing on the side of the road?”

It can be a challenge to keep your priorities in order, can’t it?  In ministry, there will always be urgent things to get done.  However, keeping family first before ministry is worth the effort you make.  Our families are a gift of God’s grace to us.  Let’s be sure we are keeping our relationships with them in first place, second only to our relationship with God Himself.

Your Friend in Ministry,

Signature