By Sabrina Schlesinger
I am a mom of four kids and I am a Pastor. I run my own business and I am a wife. I am a sister, a daughter, a graphic designer, and a mac-n-cheese lover. I am tired just thinking about all of the hats I have to wear every day! Can I take a nap now?
Having now been in full-time ministry for 23 years, there have been seasons where my pace slowed down and I took steps back, but never once did I feel the need to shelf the call of God upon my life…and neither should you!
Some of us have been led to believe we can’t do both well. But what do you do when you feel the call to ministry as much as you feel the call to motherhood?
Can we successfully balance it all and do them well? You bet! Here is how:
1. Make Sure Your Kids Know Your Priorities
No matter how passionate you are towards your ministry, your kids need to know they are MORE important. If you don’t get this right, then what’s the point? The family God entrusted to you is the nearest and dearest to His heart. He gave you these kids to show them His love and to grow them into Christ-followers.
In our family it looks like this; God first, spouse second, kids third, church fourth. We communicate this to our kids and prove it with our actions.
When we honor and prioritize our marriage and family above ministry, I believe we honor God. So go ahead and make your ministry important, just never more important than your family.
2. Include Your Family in Your Ministry
Pastoring our church isn’t dad and mom’s thing, it’s “our” thing. They serve along side of us and find joy and purpose in helping others. Don’t exclude them from ministry, thinking they will grow up and resent it, instead, include them and allow them to celebrate the wins with you.
When we get to do special things and go to special places, we let them know, “these are the perks of being Pastors’ kids!” We ask them questions about what they would like to see changed and what they love about our church. We listen, and many times we implement these changes because they have really great ideas!
Give them responsibility, celebrate the wins and make it a “we” thing so you have their buy-in.
3. Have a Sabbath Day and Make it Holy
Sometimes one of the hardest things we can do is pause and rest. But when we don’t rest with our family, we are communicating to them and to God that we can accomplish everything in our own strength. Pausing and taking a Sabbath is a faith statement that lets God know you trust Him with the fruit of your labor.
Every week you may have a different Sabbath day, but every week you need one. Create the culture of honoring the Sabbath in your family now and see the rewards of it with them for years to come. I believe honoring the Sabbath is the key to overcoming burnout in you and your children.
4. Create Margin and Boundaries
In ministry, it’s not a clock in, clock out kind of job. It’s all of the time! But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have down time. I have had to learn that I can’t throw every baby shower or attend every kid’s birthday party. If I did, I would never have a Saturday to myself, let alone enough money to put food on the table!
Create boundaries within your schedule that are off limits to others. The exception may happen every now and then when there is an emergency, but it should be that…the exception and not the norm.
Family dinners, date nights, and Sabbath days should be away from your emails and phones. If you and your family want to survive “ministry” you are going to have to say no to lesser things during these times. People and problems will still be there tomorrow, but you have this one life with these little souls God has entrusted to you. Don’t sacrifice them on the altar of ministry because you don’t know how to say “no” to others. If at the end of the day you said yes to everyone else and look around and your kids are not loving the Lord and don’t want to be around you, did you really win…and did they?
Mothering and ministry CAN both be done well. But we must make deliberate and intentional choices for the sake of our family.
Sabrina is a mother to three girls and one boy. She is also a pastors wife, freelance graphic designer and mom coach! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!