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Balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry is no small task. All three of these roles are incredibly important, and the challenge to keep them in balance can sometimes feel impossible. If you are a wife and mom in ministry (paid or volunteer), and you sometimes feel pulled in many directions, then this post is for you.
Side note: I absolutely believe that raising children can be a ministry in and of itself. So even if you don’t have a defined ministry role outside of your home, the information I share here will probably still benefit you!
It is one of those words that often evokes strong reactions from people. There’s a wide array of perspectives on balance, ranging from “there’s no such thing as balance” to “balance is entirely possible if you do x, y, and z.”
For more thoughts on whether balance is possible, listen to this episode of the Christian Woman Leadership Podcast.
For moms in ministry, though, balance is even trickier. I have talked to several pastor’s wives and moms working or volunteering in ministry roles, and they have ALL shared that balance is one of their biggest challenges.
In this post, I’m sharing insights from several other women in the the trenches of balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry.
WHAT EXACTLY IS BALANCE?
What balance is not: balance is not “having it all together.”
Balance does not mean that all areas of your life are exactly aligned to your satisfaction 100% of the time. Balance doesn’t mean that you never feel stressed or have days that are chaotic.
For me, balance means an overall sense of wellness in your life in all areas. It means that you are spending your time, and your life, in the areas that matter most to you. It means that you are, most of the time, operating out of a place of contentment instead of chaos.Balance means that you are spending your time in the areas that matter most to you. Click To Tweet
So how on earth does one keep marriage, motherhood, and ministry in balance?
First, I believe it starts with knowing what your core values are. In order to keep things in balance, you need to know what your end goal is. If you are not clear on what things are most important to you, and how you want your life to look, then you will probably always feel out of balance.
This was the case for me for many years. I was doing a lot of activities, and enjoying a lot of it, but when motherhood came into the picture, things became really unclear.
I was not keeping things in balance, but instead I was doing a bunch of random things with my time.
I understand now that part of this was due to the fact that my husband and I were not clear on our core values. We hadn’t spent time discussing what we wanted our new life as parents to look like. And therefore, we were often living a life of chaos.
Finally we recognized the importance of living life according to our values. We spent time doing the Core Values Workshop. This was very helpful to our marriage, because it allowed us to see what is most important to each of us, and then agree on what our family’s core values would be.
This concept has also helped me personally, as it has allowed me to make sure my life is aligning with my core values.
Secondly, I feel that balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry involves taking care of yourself as a mother. If you want to pour out into your marriage, your kids, and your ministry, you must first be filled up yourself.Balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry involves taking care of yourself as a mother. Click To Tweet
We need to take care of ourselves and value our own wellness.
When we do this, we are much more equipped and ready to invest in the people around us.
Again, I learned the hard way on this one. As a young mom and pastor’s wife, I was working part-time, running a business part-time, supporting my husband in his work, and trying to be a mother.
But what I was not doing was investing much time into my own spiritual development. I wasn’t prioritizing time for exercise or taking care of my physical health. I wasn’t spending time doing things I really enjoyed, like writing, listening to music I loved, or spending time outdoors. On top of all of that, my marriage was struggling significantly.
Once I started to take care of myself and see the value in investing in self-care, I started to see improvements in other areas of my life.
So for me, the 2 primary ingredients to keep my life in balance are this: knowing my core values and caring for my own wellness.
But what about other moms in ministry? What are their thoughts on this challenge of balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry?
WHAT OTHER MOMS IN MINISTRY HAVE TO SAY:
I’m blessed to have received input from several other moms who have walked this road. They are great examples of keeping marriage, motherhood, and ministry in balance. I asked them all the following question:
What is your best tip or piece of advice to moms who are trying to balance marriage, motherhood, and ministry?
Seasons change, and so does motherhood, marriage and ministry. Every season looks different for every single woman.
In my life, I wasn’t able to do as much ministry when my kids were little. In that season of my life raising humans required most of my attention.
Now that my children are a tad bit older, my capacity for ministry has changed. It’s not better now, or worse then, it’s just different.
I want women to know that just because your ministry doesn’t look like someone else’s ministry it isn’t less than, it’s just different, and this world needs them all.Seasons change, and so does motherhood, marriage and ministry. @jamieivey Click To Tweet
Stop trying to balance everything, instead recognize the season of life that you are in and celebrate that. Remember that God comes first and then your marriage.
When your relationship with God is strong and you are continuously working on your marriage then you are equipped for the challenges of motherhood and ministry.
When your marriage is strong, your husband becomes your partner in the parenting world. When your relationship with God is strong then you can lean in for the strength and wisdom that you need for all 3 of these roles.
Sharon Hodde Miller
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! The women who look like they’re doing it all have lots and LOTS of help. I think that’s so important to remember when it seems like other women have it all together. In reality, they probably just have a great support system.
The good news is, that’s exactly how God set it up. He gave us the church because none of us were meant to do this life alone.
“First things, first…” Do the necessary before the urgent. By that, I mean spend meaningful, intentional (give your best and first) time with the Lord, then your spouse and children.
He will make clear what you need to do to care for you, and He will enable you to have the time and equipping you need to know, and fulfill, His calling for you after that.
Online ministry gets your leftovers. Walk with God. Love your family. Serve your church. Then give to the other ministry to which God has called you.
Some weeks you have 10 hours left over. Some you have none. Trust that God will use whatever you can give. It’s all for His glory.
When you do have leftovers, be laser-focused. Know your why. Find your niche. Work in your strengths.
Stick to what God’s called you to be and keep your eyes on Him instead of what everyone else is doing. When you get those moments to work, work vigorously and prayerfully.
Marriage and motherhood must be priority, especially while your children are young. You’ll have seasons where they require most of your energy, and that’s okay. You’ll feel out of balance. You’ll get tired.
Give yourself grace! If you wear yourself out, you won’t be able to pour into ANYONE.
Your family needs you first and foremost. They are your most important ministry!
On the Marked Podcast, Angie talked about the issue of balance. She shared that, for her, it’s about doing what is right in the current season and frequently re-evaluating the things she IS doing:
I would be praying about “Where am I supposed to be traveling? What is God asking me to do in this season?” A lot of the times, I was listening and I was obedient.
But there were times where I was doing things, and there was just this sense of the Holy Spirit nudging me, and I just knew that I had either bitten off more than I could chew, or I had gotten my priorities out of whack – even in my marriage.
And so, it takes a lot of re-evaluating. And also, I’m really open with my kids when I think that has happened. I’ve gone to my kids often and said, “I’m really sorry, I feel like I messed up here.”
There are times that other people may not understand your decision, as a wife and mom, to be involved in ministry.
It is those times that you must know in your heart what God has called you to do. And like Jamie said above, everyone’s ministry is going to look different.
Angie also shared on this podcast episode about when she traveled to India for 10 days on a missions trip and received an email from someone being critical of her being away from her kids.
God spoke to me and said: “Listen to me when I ask you to do something, and believe that your kids will learn more about you, more about me, more about Jesus, in your obedient absence than they will in your disobedient presence.”
THE REWARDS OF BALANCING MARRIAGE, MOTHERHOOD, AND MINISTRY
There are a lot of challenges as a mom in ministry, but there are also many rewards.
For me, one of the rewards is knowing that my daughter is seeing me live out my calling and passions. I love that she is able to see me do things like travel to Guatemala on missions trips, lead Bible studies, and encourage marriages.
I asked these moms about the rewards of ministry as well:
What is the most rewarding part about being involved in ministry as a wife and/or mother?
I love for my kids to see that there are more things that matter to their mom than just motherhood.
Don’t get me wrong, parenting is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given me, but I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that my life revolves around their life.
My life goal is not to raise good kids, but yet to raise kids that love God, love people, and give their lives away for the kingdom.
Hopefully my husband, Aaron, and I are showing this to them through our lives.
Witnessing transformation. Daily I get to see folks have breakthrough in their marriages. As a wife and mother I also get to see breakthroughs in my own home.
Not a single one of us was designed to live an OK life, we were designed for the extraordinary.
Sometimes we just need a little help getting there. I love being a part of God’s plan like that.We were not designed to live an OK life, we were designed for the extraordinary. @alisadilorenzo Click To Tweet
When I use my gifts of teaching and writing, it breathes life into my soul like nothing else. It makes me feel whole and satisfied, which then makes me a better wife and mom.
In turn, marriage and motherhood have been such a source of inspiration. I am a better writer because I’m a wife and mom, and I’m a better wife and mom because I’m a writer.
The ways God mutually blesses us and those we serve!!! My children and I grow from the giving and the receiving.
No formula, but principles.
There is no magic formula for balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry. Each one of us will have a different experience, and we will all go through different seasons.There is no magic formula for balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry. Click To Tweet
Here are 10 principles I gleaned from the amazing women who contributed to this blog post.
If you keep these principles in mind, I think they will help you be more effective at keeping things in balance, and you’ll be less likely to feel overwhelmed:
Balancing marriage, motherhood, and ministry can make you feel completely crazy sometimes. But it can also be extremely fulfilling, fun, and beautiful.
Usually, though, it will probably be a little bit of both. Embrace the joy and the ups and downs of this beautiful life!
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