Balance

I love reading this blog.  And, I gain a lot of wisdom, comfort, and simply smiles from her thoughts.  Thus, passing it along – well worth sharing.

Finding balance

Welcome P31 Encouragement for Today friends.  I am glad you popped over for a visit.  Please grab a cup of coffee and enjoy poking around for a bit.  My prayer is you’ll find my new site an easy to navigate resource for girlfriend to girlfriend inspiration, honest encouragement and real help for the issues you are facing.

This week we’ve been doing a little Q&A session.  One of the most asked questions was how do I balance life and ministry?

Before I give you some practical tips on how I balance life and ministry I want to give you some insight into why I balance life and ministry.  I wrote the following post last year but I think it’s worth revisiting…

A few weeks ago I stumbled into a conversation that shocked me.

A woman I greatly admire was out to eat with her grown kids. I walked over to their table and started catching up with who had graduated from where and who now had full time careers.

Smart doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of describing these now grown kids.

I complimented my friend about how great her kids have turned out and how I so admire her. “Can you believe how amazing your kids are?

Suddenly, her face dropped and her expression changed.

“Yes my kids turned out great. And yes I loved raising them. But, I lost myself in the process. Now that they’re all gone who am I?”

Her kids tried to comfort her by reminding her of the volunteer work she’s now able to do. But I could see behind her smiles and nods a hollowness that haunted her.

I walked away from this conversation stunned. Here was a woman I’d held myself up to many times and felt guilty I couldn’t measure up. Her whole world was her family.

My family is my priority but I also feel called to do ministry. The balancing act is tough and can leave a woman wondering if it’s okay that she have pursuits outside her home.  But that day in the restaurant my friend gave me permission to be both the mom God called me to be and the woman He’s called me to be.

Now, I almost hesitated to talk about this on the blog because this is a topic that can stir up fire within us women. Some of us want a one size fits all solution to a woman’s place in this world. Some wrongly take a “my way is the right way” approach and have no patience for women who make a different choice.

So, I don’t want to debate the age old issue between working moms and stay at home moms. On that issue I am slap dab in the middle. I am a working from home mom who sometimes balances everything great and who sometimes doesn’t.

I attempt the delicate balancing act between family and ministry because I’ve been called by God to do so and because my husband fully supports this calling.  As a matter of fact, he often says he and the kids are the direct beneficiaries of me being in ministry because I am held accountable to practice what I preach.

So, now to the “how do I do this” question.

First of all, I have help.  My older kids help with my younger kids.  All of our kids are responsible for certain household chores and doing their own laundry.  And I have people I pay to come in and do the deep cleaning of my home.  I also have a precious college student who helps me a couple of days a week by running errands and helping get the kids where they need to go.

Secondly, we are very intentional with our schedules.  This past spring I felt like my family was running in too many directions and family dinners got sacrificed.  So, for this summer I’ve scheduled family dinners and posted that schedule up on the fridge.  Art and I also have regularly scheduled dates with each other and dates with our kids.  Planning ahead is crucial.

Another important thing I did with Art years ago was to sit down and have him tell me his definition of a haven.  I always wanted our home to be the safe haven his heart would long to come home to each day.  The problem was I was completely overwhelmed by trying to do everything I thought a good wife and mom should do.  When I finally asked Art for his definition of a haven, my world became much simpler and more manageable.

For example, it speaks volumes of love to him if I have cut up fruit in the fridge each week.  But, having home made meals each night is not as big of a deal to him.  He’s fine with take out or simple sandwiches several nights a week.  Finding these kinds of things out really helped stream line life for me.

Okay, enough about how I balance things.  I want to hear from you!  What are some of your tricks of the trade?

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