Originally published Tuesday, 29 May 2012.
There is a saying that has been coined and used often in my church. It was started (as best I know) by one of our original members, who happens to also be our pastor's father-in-law. Years ago, when my husband and I were in our second or third year of marriage, things were getting pretty stale. We decided it would be beneficial to our marriage to take a "refresher" course on marriage at our local church. Wayne Austin taught that class. We went into the class kind of half-convinced that it would help us, but were willing to give it a try. Never has a class so profoundly affected my view on marriage as this "Life for Marriage" program.
One of the first things Bro. Wayne said was, "Your family is your ministry." He went on to say that if you see your husband (or wife) as the very image of Christ, it is far easier to serve her. When you see her as an opportunity to further serve and honor the Lord, it is much harder to argue about who is going to wash the dishes, bathe the kids, or vacuum the floor. It did not sink in, at first, but over the next several weeks, the message came through loud and clear.
My husband, children, and family have all been given to me by God. They are His children. He loves them just as much as he loves me; therefore, he expects me to treat them as He would treat him.
I cannot say I have fully arrived in regards to this truth, but I am constantly pursuing it. I want my family to know they mean something to me, they mean everything to me, aside from the Creator who gave them to me. I want them to know that ministry, church work, serving opportunities, and every other thing is secondary to our time together.
Stay-at-home moms, you may feel you have little significance in the Kingdom right now, because you are at home with children. Know it is the greatest challenge and gift your Father could have given you. How you rear them is of great worth.
Single moms, maybe you feel that you are too busy balancing life to make much impact for Jesus. Know that your children are your ministry. They are your impact on this world.
Pastors and dads, recognize that your work never comes before your family. There is your relationship with the Lord, your family, and then your job.
Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on single parents' and women's issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker, as well as founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She has been featured on countless radio and television programs. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.