Thursday, September 1, 2011
Family and Ministry Balance
Home schooling. Teaching Sunday school. Raising 3 children. Doing laundry. Cooking. Grocery shopping. Organizing and managing my home.
Isn't that exactly what I would be doing if I lived in the states?
Here is the question:
How do I balance family ministry with external (leave the kids at home) ministry? I can't take all the kiddos with me when I take food out to poor families. It is a logistical nightmare. I can't take them with me when I do a women's health class because there is no one to watch them and they get into things. I can't take them to VBS because I just don't have the stamina to carry around a wriggly 20mo. old who is dying to get down and put every hazardous material in his mouth. And there is no one to keep my 3yr old daughter from walking out the front door.
So. If I take the time to do those things, and we will stick with the above list just to make it simpler, I must leave the kiddos with another caretaker. That can be Brandon, but he has a job. He can't just hang out and watch the kids for hours on end. So it can be Gladys. She is our housekeeper and she is awesome, but she is not their parent. She doesn't discipline or teach them.
This is why many missionary families in the past and even now, send their children to boarding schools. Or start the children in full time school when they are 4 or 5. You know, I don't see an issue sending kids to school so that the mom can do "other" things. I may do that someday.
Brandon and I feel that it is our job to disciple and educate our children, not that of the church or government. I fully realize that that is not an option (or a desire) for all families and I respect that. I am in no way critical of families and individuals that make a different choice than we have made. But for our part, that means that I am at home taking care of them. Teaching them. I eventually would like the kids to be a part of the ministry that goes on here, as BoyD already has, but for at least the next 3-4 years, I will have a very small one around to watch.
So, although I do some ministry where I leave the kids at home and either Brandon or Gladys watches them, I wonder if I am doing enough. Or if I am doing too much.
My first ministry is to my husband and children. There is no doubt.
Does that mean that it can be my only real ministry while my children are young?
I know that if I am truly forsaking that ministry to have a ministry outside of the home, then I am doing too much. (like if I sent them to boarding school so that I could be "free").
So what about the in between. I mean, I desire to teach a women's Bible study in Spanish. And for me, I would love to have one in English (with other missionary friends and such). I also would like to do some more Bible Study Methods training with women teaching them to teach the material. And I also want to continue a once a month feeding ministry. Man, wouldn't it be fantastic if we could get a ministry started that took hot meals to the people working and begging in the street? And build a relationship with them and share the gospel with them? There is also a feeding ministry to street kids that Brandon and I would LOVE to be a part of!
But alas, in order to do any of those things, that would require more time away from my family and my children. I don't want that.
Maybe I just need to be more creative. Maybe I need to change my expectations. Maybe I am in this season in my life and there will come a time when I will have all the time in the world.
(I must say that it is irritating to me to see people with so much free time do so little.)
So this is my dilemma. I am not freaking out about it, but I am not entirely comfortable with it all either.