July 28, 2011

Parenting While Planting

Last week, our church, with the help of teenagers from our former church in Texas, held a Sports Camp for  kids. My oldest two attended and my youngest followed me around playing games on Kyle's iPhone while I registered kids, dealt with discipline issues, and handed out volunteer assignments.

Those moments are so difficult for me, when I am a church planting wife and a mom at the same time.

When camp culminated with a carnival celebration, at which parents and siblings watched campers perform and receive awards, I watched my son receive his award in between retrieving a t-shirt for a camper, gathering kids without parents, and comforting a distraught child. I felt a twinge of sadness when I was asked to retrieve extra cups while standing in the snowcone line with my middle son and then again when I asked him to wait on going to the bouncehouse while I talked to a camp parent. 

Those moments echo what often happens on Sunday morning. Ideally, I am just like every other mom and wife attending the service, wrangling small kids, and communing with others. Or as my husband once said, "As my wife, your only responsibility is to be a Christian." Yes, ideally that is true. And I so appreciate that he does not pressure me to be or do things outside of my priorities and my calling. 

In reality, however, I struggle every single Sunday (and every single church related event) to juggle the questions, expectations, and needs of others while also personally worshipping, being available to my husband, and parenting our children alone. There are times I leave church overwhelmed, frazzled, and feeling like an utter failure. I simply cannot do it all.

And now that my children are getting older, I feel a pressing urgency to protect them from feeling that they are of lesser importance than the Sunday morning visitors or the camper without a parent. For them to know God (and not just church), I must sacrifice my own desires and commitments for the sake of teaching, training, and being with them.

After camp--after those cringe inducing moments--I resolved to passionately cling to the priorities that come before the church: my relationship with the Lord, with my husband, and with my children. After all, if I don't maintain those, it inevitably will not have mattered what I have done in ministry.

As a mom, how do you practically maintain boundaries between ministry and family?