Family is My First Ministry

It is very easy to convince ourselves that the reason we work so long and so hard is so we can provide more for our families, when what I’ve discovered is that what our families usually want (and need) is more of us. As a leader in my church and a committed believer, I have learned that no amount of success in ministry can make up for failure at home.

It is all too commonplace for those in ministry to be told by others and by ourselves that God needs us to do the work of the church at the expense of all else, and yet the inherent contradiction in that ethos is that we’re specifically commanded to love our families first. 

Over the years I have met so many people who have overextended themselves for years trying to succeed in ministry and it is often at the expense of their marriage or real relationship with their children. I am determined that will not be the case for me.

I am clear that my first responsibility is the care and support of my family. And even though that means I may not earn as much as I would like, the peace and joy of knowing that I am fully invested in my husband and our two kids mean more than money ever could.

I imagine my heart for family and community is greatly influenced by the fact that I am the product of adoption. As a newborn, my parents brought me into their lives and their home in the Palmer Woods neighborhood of Detroit. My father was a doctor, and my mother was a nurse. They raised me to understand that nothing was more important than family and that I should use all that I am blessed with to build family and community amongst those who lack familial connectivity.

As an adult with my own family, I have tried to live out those principles that my parents instilled in me. In all honesty and transparency, it is not always easy. Kema, my husband, is a great provider and is a partner in every way; but I know he would like me to work more consistently and to contribute more to our family’s bottom line. 

I am a woman, wife and mama doing urban missions right here in the “D.” I enjoy living out the beauty of the Gospel together with my family, neighbors and friends.

For the last year or so, I have been praying and planning to become a life coach for Christian women. I would like to be able to counsel and work with them through the ups and downs of relationship and family issues. And while I believe this could be a money-making venture, I know enough about who I am called to serve and many of the women who could benefit from my coaching probably can't afford to pay much. 

That is why my relationship with UpTogether is such a blessing. They have not only been an asset financially, but I have met amazing people who are traveling the same road as I am on. 

I first connected with UpTogether when my husband temporarily lost his vision and had to go on disability. With my investment from UpTogether, I was able to pay my kid’s tuition and keep our family together and in our home. I have been able to bond with so many of my UpTogether brothers and sisters and I’m honored to do life with them. 

There are so many people who unfortunately must choose between financial stability and a greater fidelity towards walking in their purpose. I refuse to accept that as my norm and am wholly committed to building family and community with those I am called and connected to. 

My advice to those looking for a better work/life balance and how to successfully lead their household, the best starting point is recognizing that your family is your first ministry.

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