My youngest child and only daughter recently celebrated her eighteenth birthday. My baby girl is now officially an adult and I am feeling quite sentimental and reflective.
Since I accepted Christ as Savior in 1991, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t serve the Lord both within my home church and at least one non-profit organization or ministry. I’ve enjoyed every moment of that service, but as I reflect back over the years, I must admit there have been times when I over committed to outside ministry. I neglected my priority ministry of working with my husband to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord”. (Ephesians 6:4)
I can’t imagine that anyone finds greater joy than I do in my service at church and at Fruitful Word Ministries. I look forward to each new day and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed a thrilling adventure with God in ministry. But there is no greater joy in my life than sharing God’s word with my children and watching them grow and develop in their personal relationships with Jesus.
The days are long, but the years are short
As my daughter walked out the door this morning, looking all grown up in a sweater and scarf, this mamma shed a few tears. My girl is eighteen years old. She will soon be heading off to college. I’m thrilled for her. I’m overjoyed at the personal nature of her relationship with her Lord. I know God has great plans for her and I trust she will walk in His ways. But how I wish I could turn back the clock and spend more time just being with both of my children.
I want to encourage those of you who still have children at home and are serving Christ in ministry to diligently guard your time with your children. Training your children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6) is your priority ministry. It comes first.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 tells us, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Setting good boundaries
Establish some boundaries and guard your time with your children. Below are a few suggestions to help you keep your ministry to your children a priority. (This soon-to-be empty nest-er wishes she had implemented them much earlier in her own journey.)
1. Pray about every opportunity you have in ministry before accepting it or moving forward.
2. Only accept responsibilities and roles for which you truly feel passionate, equipped, or gifted (or are sure God is instructing you to take. He does push us into some unforeseen and unusual positions from time to time).
3. Ask your husband (if you are married) for his thoughts and opinions before accepting ministry opportunities and make sure you talk through how the responsibility or service might impact your family.
Ask God to show you where to serve in your local church. Wholeheartedly serve God with a joyous heart. Reach out to a lost and hungry world in the name of Jesus. But, treasure and guard your time with your children. One day far sooner than you can ever imagine, you’ll be wiping a tear from your eyes as you celebrate your youngest child’s eighteenth birthday, wondering how she could possibly be all grown up. Time is short.
What boundaries do you have in place to make sure your priority ministry is your children?