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Feb 10

Ministering to Your Family and Others

February..the love month. Hearts and chocolates, flowers and cards.

Maybe you have plans for a romantic dinner and evening with your loved one. Maybe this will be an off year, like it is for the Barefoot Hippies. Valentine’s Day is just not our thing. (Read more about that here)

Whatever it shakes down as, let me just say, that Valentine’s Day may be all about love. But love surely encompasses more than a Valentine holiday once a year.

Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unseemly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

I have been pondering how I can best love my husband and children (and even extended family) as I engage in ministry.

(I will just clarify that when I say ministry, I generally am referring to ministry outside the home. My family is my primary ministry, but that is not how I usually refer to them. And I consider my home my primary sphere of ministry, but not my only sphere. It is the hub, however, from which all my other ministries flow. You can read more about my ministry philosophy here)

1. Discretion: the act of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid revealing private information. In our FB, Twitter, Instagram society, we are all about letting it all hang out. The good, the bad, and the ugly. In the name of being real and vulnerable. But, there is the counter weight of discretion that must be added when ministering.

We need to be vulnerable without hurting or embarrassing our spouses and children. Though I totally treat my blogging as a ministry and work hard at sharing my heart, I don’t share everything. I don’t share if my husband and I had a fight the night before. I don’t share what we do in the bedroom. I don’t share embarrassing things that my kids do. I don’t mean-embarrassing to myperfect parent persona. Embarrassing to them. I don’t share it. I protect their privacy and the sanctity of our relationship above all else.

I have gone through some deep things this past year. But because they greatly affect many others in my life, I have not blogged about these things. It may have been more “real” to bare all. But it also would have betrayed trusts. It is not worth it. I love my family and friends by being very discrete in what and how I share.

2. Prioritize: our culture is very children-centered. We don’t want our kids to be hurt. We want them to be our priority. And they should be-one of our greatest priorities.

My first priority is God. Always. Glorifying, loving and serving Him. Our relationship.

My second priority is my husband. Loving and submitting to him. Our relationship.

My third priority is my children. Raising them. Caring for them.

My fourth priority is ministry.

That is my filter. If I am neglecting my kids all the time in order to minister to others, I am not loving them.

3. Sacrifice: I also think there is nothing wrong with my children having to sacrifice occasionally for me to serve. Giving up an evening a week, so I can lead a Bible study. Having an afternoon quiet time so I can write. Saturday mornings in the spring so I can study for conferences and VBSs. It is a sacrifice on their part. It teaches them that it is costly to serve God. In serving Him, you often have to give up something you would rather do.

It is costly, but it is rewarding. I show my kids love by giving them opportunities to occasionally sacrifice in service to God. Because I want them to grow up and want to serve God too.

4. Co-laboring. Mr. Hippie and I are partners in ministry. We sometimes share the same roles. Sometimes our roles are different. Sometimes it is my ministry that he is supporting me in. Sometimes I am supporting him in his ministry. Mr. Hippie facilitates two retreats a year. I help him by doing registration paperwork for both, and cooking for one. We travel together and lead vacation Bible schools and kids’ conferences. We both teach at these. I show love for my husband by working with him however the situation merits.

I also co-labor with my kids. They come with me for most of my ministry. Not all, but most. I take them to Bible clubs and Sunday school. I take them to the VBSs. I take them to Mr. Hippie’s retreat that I cook for. And I let them help. My kids have jobs. They help with snacks and arranging chair and passing out papers. And I teach them that they too are serving God. By helping me, they are serving God. That is love.

5. Protection. I show love to my husband by speaking positively of him and by being his biggest cheerleader. I protect his reputation.

I defend my kids so that their ministry sacrifice is not too great. This is the idea of not provoking your children to wrath from Ephesians 6:4. I have found that people tend to treat “teacher’s kids” a bit differently, and it isn’t always a good thing. They expect a higher standard of behavior from them, and they expect them to sacrifice more. Behave the best, but never get the quiet seat prize-that kind of thing.

I love my kids by teaching them that life isn’t always fair-even in serving God. But I also make sure they don’t always get the short end of the stick in terms of prizes and such.

How do you love your husband and children while you minister to others? 

bernadette

 

 

You can find Bernadette’s bio here

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21 comments

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  1. A Little R & R

    AWESOME post!!! It is soooooo important to protect our kids and husbands. You are so right – we cannot afford to “let it all hang out” – in our blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook….discussing things that are not appropriate or that are hurtful through these means is just as much gossip and slander as speaking them face to face with a friend. Thank you for sharing this reminder with us. It is so important to be reminded from time to time.
    A Little R & R recently posted..A Fervent, Holy ZealMy Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Oh yes, knowing how to balance being real in the blog world without giving up the intentionally personal parts of our lives is a difficult task. Something I strive to be very careful with for my kiddos and hubby’s sake. :)

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      I don’t not share everything because of my image. My life is not perfect. I’m not trying to pretend that it is, or that I am. But you never can take back what you have put out there. Even if you erase it, someone may have read it. We have to be carful.
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Bringing Up BebeMy Profile

  2. Carol

    Great post, Bernadette!
    I make sure not to “use myself up”, but save energy for my husband and daughter. More importantly, I start off the day in the Word, spending time in prayer and devotional and listening to Him time.
    Carol recently posted..Spiritual SundayMy Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Yes, saving energy and inspiration for our family is most important in my opinion! They are my #1 ministry! Thank you for stoppin by! Blessings!

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Carol, that is so necessary. I find that my whole outlook for the day is much improved when I soak myself in Scripture in the mornings.
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Bringing Up BebeMy Profile

  3. Johanna @ My Home Tableau

    I grew up in a ministry home and my parents always included us in their ministry. We were vitally part of it. There were definitely sacrifices, but we were with them in it so that was not the spirit that we focused on. I’m really grateful for how they just made it a family ministry.

    Our situation is different right now, but with my husband in seminary I partner with him by trying to keep the budget as low as possible, protecting his sleep/health, and always speaking well of him.
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau recently posted..On My Nightstand: January 2013My Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      It truly can be an amazing time as a family in ministry! Each of us have different situations where our ministries change! It’s just important to be ministering where God has us! Blessings as you minister with and for your hubby!

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Johanna, I think those are awesome ways to support your husband. You are such a great example!
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Bringing Up BebeMy Profile

  4. Trinity

    “I protect his reputation.” This is true for the husband and the wife. When it comes to reputation, we are to cover one another – never publicly make the other look bad.

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Yes, in public we must take extra pains to promote our spouse! Thank you for stoppin by! Blessings!

    2. Barefoot hippie Girl

      It is so important to protect our husband’s reputation. Not air out our dirty laundry and complaints. Build them up.

  5. Elizabeth @ DogFurandDandelions

    I love this list — good things for me to remember, even though we don’t have kids yet. I think the sacrifice one is sometimes the hardest to keep in mind… we forget that ministry worth doing will cost us. But the returns are so worth any price we might pay.

    1. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      I am remembering this even where I am at today, Elizabeth. Meres is teething and she wants to go home. She puts on her winter jacket and her shoes, and she is not sleeping the best. It is a sacrifice even for her little body. But, it is okay. We will all survive. Thanks for taking time to read and comment.=)

    2. simplyhelpinghim

      Yes, helping children to learn at a young age that not everything is about them, but about what Jesus has for us to do is vital! I love when they think of something themselves to do for someone else! Thanks for stoppin by! Blessings!

  6. Jenny Lynn

    I like to take my children to serve with me. Just this last week my daughter and I took a meal to a woman in my neighborhood who had surgery. With my children getting older I like to take them with me to serve, it gives us a chance to do something good for someone else. My husband and I decided years ago when we first started having children that there a few things we wanted our children to learn in life, that they are sons/ daughters of God, to be honest in their dealings, hard workers at whatever they do and to serve others whenever possible by setting aside our own personal desires. We believe that when we serve others we are serving God.
    Jenny Lynn recently posted..PondMy Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Amen! My kiddos love to help in whatever I am working on for others. Whether it be the food bank or making a meal for friends, they want to be a part of it and I love it! Thank you for stoppin by! Blessings!

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Those are great goals for parenting. I think we are blessed too as our children serve alongside us.
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Bringing Up BebeMy Profile

  7. Marty

    Oh, my goodness that first one is absolutely vital! Discretion is lacking in our society…viewing your husband and family as a treasure that must be safe guarded and kept should be a priority. As a pastor’s wife I try to encourage women to be very careful how they speak of their husbands. You have no idea what work God may call them to in the future and you do not want to be planting seeds in the minds of others that will reap immaturity, doubt and distrust when that time comes.
    Marty recently posted..It’s OfficialMy Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Oh yes, it is very lacking. I know that it is something that I struggle with personally. Remembering that God alone knows what He is doing in my hubby and I would hate to hurt that! Thanks for stoppin by! Blessings!

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Well put Marty.

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