Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

Balancing Ministry and Motherhood

Update: Hey girls, I’m reposting this from the archives, because I get this question quite a bit. :) Happy Planning!

 

I received this question yesterday on balancing ministry and children from a lovely reader and thought I would post on this topic.

Q: 1. How can a mom with young children find a balance between serving outside the home and serving her family? I have so many desires to serve, give, volunteer, etc. but right now my young children need so much guidance, teaching, love, training, etc… that I often feel so worn out…

First of all, every Christian mother of young children can relate to this question. Honestly, balance is tricky because it implies that you are trying to hold on to many important and good things and not drop any of them.

Ice Skating with my sweet Hope Elizabeth.

So here are my thoughts on balancing ministry and motherhood:

1. Your husband, kids  and home are your main ministry. When your home is well cared for, and your children are obedient and happy, and your husband is well loved, the gospel looks attractive to the watching world. For women, this is a hard pill to swallow. Why? Because this culture does not value homemaking. If you raise someone else’s kids, then that is all fine and good, but if you stay home and JUST raise your own, that is thought of as meaningless or a waste of  your life. So sometimes we fall into the trap of filling our lives with the “valuable” jobs/ministries to the detriment of our own family. I am not saying that you should not serve in the church in some capacity. I do think you should use your God given gifts. But God is not going to call you to use your “gifts” to the detriment of your own family. No, God has commanded that the older women teach the younger women how to care well for our families.

2. Levels of commitment to outside ministry change as your family grows. When Peter and I were first married, I was very much involved in helping him with the Youth Programs at our church and with running other activities. But as I had babies, my priorities had to change. While my children were young it was more important to lay the foundations for our  home life and establish “cultural norms” for the Beals home.{We don’t whine when we want something. We don’t bite each other. We don’t yell. You may not disobey mommy and daddy.} My main goals were things like establishing routines, child training, cooking good meals, teaching simple doctrine and character lessons.

When my children were babies, I rarely attended our evening service at church. Why? Because we were in a season of establishing sleeping patterns that are crucial to the newborn. There were times when most of my “outside ministry” came in the form of cooking meals for a sick person while I cooked my own for my family, or having a friend into our home for a Bible study. Hospitality is a wonderful way to minister to others while you have little ones in the home.

I am a big believer in rhythms of life. I use the word rhythms in place of the word routines because it seems more palatable and less “business like”.  But in any case, routines, especially in the young years, bring a sense of stability and comfort to children. They know what to expect. Life is not helter skelter: We rise and get ready for the day. We make our beds. We sit down and eat breakfast together. We read our Bibles together at the table. We read books on the couch or start school. We take a walk or run an errand after lunch.

3. This season of life is not forever. Your home will be quiet and empty some day. Just let that sink in for a moment. Don’t look on these times as useless or less productive for Christ. They are EXTREMELY important times. You are influencing generations right here, right now by what you are doing in your home today.

I would encourage you to pray and evaluate your own situation.(You may be able to handle more ministries outside the home  than I was able to.) Of course, I don’t have all the answers and I have struggled to maintain balance as well.

Some indicators that I used for our family: (again, just my opinion, not biblical mandates)

*If your family is too busy to have family meals together because of ministry, you are too busy. So much is learned at mealtimes.

*If you are struggling with discipline/bad attitudes/serious character flaws with one  child, I would suggest pulling away from extras/ministry for a while to minister to your struggling child. I want to help my own child first, then someone else’s child second.

*Establish GO days and STAY days if you can. Kids like time to be home and in their element. It is easy to run aimlessly in our run here, run there society. Sometime quiet times of rest and a slow pace produces more than hustling and bustling about.

Here is a post about how I prioritize our lives: here

Here’s what works for me! Seeing my priorities written out each week helps me live the life I know I want to live. If I don’t plan, of course, I fail at my ideal priorities.

I wrote my priorities in order on the left, with lines so that I can fill in what specifically want to plan that week. It helps me visualize what I am doing with my time. As I pencil in my week, I can see where we are out of balance or lacking. I have given this to countless women who asked for help keeping life in balance! ——–> PRINTABLE —>Weekly Priorities

Hope this helps!

Need some help with time management? Consider this 30 page ebook, Tell Your Time that gets rave reviews, and is written by one of my FAVORITE bloggers, Amy.