While I was reading this, I decided to fast for my family. I knew I needed God to give us a breakthrough in our home. But when I would go to pray, I would hear God say to me, "Go and be with your kids." But God, I prayed, How am I supposed to get a breakthrough in this fast if I'm not taking time to pray? Interestingly, the fast turned into a fast of my time more than anything. I turned off social media, took a break from work, and allowed my children to lead in whatever they wanted to do with me. It brought more healing than I ever could have imagined.
I realize we can't always do this. Work can't always be pushed aside for us to make a living playing with our kids. Ministry needs direction, and our attention as well, but through this experience I've started to question ministry culture. We ambitiously build for the kingdom, but are we building something because "ministry culture" has told us to? Is it really necessary? Do I really need to slave away my time, energy, and resources on these things, or is reevaluation needed? This is a personal question only we can answer for ourselves as every situation is different. We need to look at what we do from an outside perspective to see if our work is producing the fruit God desires and if it creates health for our families or if it doesn't.
Connection can be a reality in families, even in ministry, but it takes intentional decisions to make it so. We need to be sure we are truly connecting with our children and not just sending them off to activities such as soccer, piano, choir, or even church, thinking that keeping them busy is going to fill their need for connection. We also can't assume that family devotional time is the only point of connection needed. Our children need to engage with us in all aspects of life, not just spiritual.
I've spoken much of connection with our children, but this doesn't dismiss the great need of connection with spouses. We need to make sure we have time to connect with them and lean into one another during times of crisis and times of blessing. The time each season lasts will vary. We need to ask God for the wisdom to know our season and respond accordingly. We can build the most amazing ministries in the world and lose our spouses and families. In the end, would that be worth it?
I have found the answers in getting back to cultivating my relationship with God first and foremost. I didn't realize how independent I had become in my relationship with God and with my family. My spiritual health was also at stake, and I didn't realize it. It took a crisis in our home to stop me in my tracks and wake me up to reality. This year I have decided to scale back on things God has revealed he wants me to put aside for now to focus on connecting with my family and being able to do the things in ministry that will bring fruit that will last.