I was in the early stages of speaking and writing and attended a women’s leadership conference. The keynote presenter was everything I hoped. She was engaging, funny and skilled. I hung on every word.
Then she said this: “Listen ladies, if you want to be a leader you can’t make every ballgame, or class party, or event for your child. It’s not fair but it’s life. Get over it. That’s what it takes to be a leader.”
I sat in my chair, surprised and a little bit confused.
Just like that, it felt like all my dreams slipped out of my reach. Maybe it wasn’t my time. Maybe this wasn’t for me.
Was it possible that I had to choose between following my dream and following my children to a ballgame, a class party, or a special event? Was it really either/or?
Do you ever wish you could go back to your younger self and pull her close and lether know it’s going to be okay? That’s what I wish I could do. If I could, I’d tell her this:
Leading others doesn’t mean that you lose you in the process
Your path doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.
Following where God leads is a unique and beautiful process of embracing the season right where you are and listening to His voice. This isn’t a criticism of the speaker. She was successful in her field and I really loved her work, but I don’t have to buy into a philosophy that says that ministry or leadership knocks me out of participating in my real life.
Or stop being the real me.
Way back then we prayed together as a family and made choices based on our season. We tried to give weight to each person as we planned our calendar.
That meant that sometimes I was in a learning stage rather than a “doing” stage in ministry.
That meant that my children were given the opportunity to cheer mom on as well.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV)
We cheered together at ball games but they also encouraged mom as she stood on a stage, knees trembling, to share the Word.
As you can see from this picture taken last weekend where I spoke at The Cove in beautiful North Carolina, I find joy in sharing God’s word.
I also find joy in being mom, mother-in-law, Gaga, wife to my guy, and the other roles I am privileged to carry out.
God is BIG enough to multiply what we do in His name, as long as He’s the core of our decisions.
Now here it is, 15 years later and they’re all grown up. I don’t have to worry about this anymore, right?
Richard and I are learning how hard it is when your parents are aging. Suddenly we are trying to learn what it looks like to love your dad when he’s doesn’t always remember who you are.
My grown children stand on their own beautifully, but their need for mom hasn’t disappeared.
There’s also five “littles” looking up at me (with one more on the way). They have no idea that Gaga is a writer and speaker. I’m the person that loves playing Sofia the First and princess and monster trucks. I’m the woman who always has fruit snacks in the pantry or who pulls them in a wagon around the walking trail.
Family is who I am. Ministry is what I get to do in His name.
Together they are a gift.
I don’t know where God is leading you, but I do understand the struggle when people tell you that “success” is all or nothing.
Success is simply being exactly who God asks you to be.
Resources for you
The Woman I Am Becoming: Embracing the Chase for Identity, Faith, and Destiny (Kindle version) might be a great resource. Every time you purchase a resource, it helps this ministry reach more women. Thank you!
Check out Prayer Starters daily prayer podcast with the KLRC podcast network. A scripture, a drop of encouragement, and a prayer starter to connect you with God, who loves you like crazy. Find it on your favorite podcast network or click here.
This is such an important message for women today who feel pushed and pressed in many different directions. We need to give ourselves grace when we cannot be at every game, every awards ceremony, every single event in our children’s lives. I love the part about not losing ourselves in the process. I can still be everything I want to be, it may not be there as often as i wish, but when I am there, I will be 100% devoted to being there! 🙂
Don’t you love the pictures of my grands? Jane was running 101. Audrey wouldn’t smile unless the camera wasn’t pointed her way. Elle ran off three times during the pic. Luke was too heavy to hold, but really wanted to be in someone’s arms, too. Josiah was his usually content self.
We were standing in front of the University of Arkansas. It was a wild day trying to capture a picture!
We bring ourselves to our leadership, all the nooks and crannies and craziness, the losses and wins and grief and laughter.
For from the dailyness of life God pours out wisdom. And it’s in the sharing of that wisdom, in the living it out, speaking it forth, writing it down, that we lead …
Cool post …
Thank you for always sharing from your heart. This is so freeing to me that I don’t have to choose between my family or my ministry of the times when my ministry is my family. I’m excited to speak at my first event this weekend, a mother-daughter event in which I was invited to bring my daughters along to. Thank you for the encouragement and I love the picture of you and your grands. My mom was close to my kids and they also called her Gaga and they were her “grands”.
“That meant that my children were given the opportunity to cheer mom on as well.” I ADORE THIS STATEMENT! Wow… I have seriously never even thought of it in this way…. a definite shift in perspective for me!
And then this:
“God is BIG enough to multiply what we do in His name, as long as He’s the core of our decisions.” YES! Oh my goodness, YES!
“Family is who I am. Ministry is what I get to do in His name. Together they are a gift.”
Suzie, this post is SPOT ON, my friend! You have wisdom beyond your years, young lady, and it is beautiful and refreshing. Thank you for all of these words today! I have held back for so many years (you know this), because I wanted to answer my FIRST calling, as a mom. I didn’t know whether or not it was “okay” to pursue certain things without seeming selfish. You have walked me through the knowledge that there is balance, and that balance may change with the seasons. You are incredible! Thank you!
What great encouragement! I so appreciate you handing others this wisdom. Mothering and being a wife are huge and valuable ministries. Thank you Suzie!
Beautiful words for the next generation of writers and speakers. Thankful to have you as a Godly mentor in my life. I simply adore how you said, “Family is who I am. Ministry is what I get to do in His name.” AMEN!
WOW, Suzie! Such a powerful message. This very thing held me back for so long. Because I am a mother of 5, I always felt like it would be too much to step out and do the things that God placed in my heart. I thought adding one more thing to my plate may tip me over and everyone in my family would suffer. Yet, the truth is when I recently began writing, which is my passion, I am a better mom, a better wife and a better friend. When I’m using the gifts God has given me, He is glorified and I am satisfied.
Suzie, this brought tears to my eyes. What wisdom. It’s a constant battle sometimes balancing our families and loved ones with our call, but I like what you say about making God the center. I think our ministry to family and loved ones is what gives us credibility to do what we can to serve “out in the world.” And yes, we can trust God to multiply what we’re able to do.
Wise words! Love both pictures! Your joy for Jesus spills over and out!
True. So very important to set those boundaries. Sorry to hear about the struggle with your dad. Have you read the Reverend G books? They have tips for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. https://amzn.to/1LiSmeA
Such wise words Suzie. I think the heart of every single woman in ministry feels the tug of “family first”. What a wonderful reminder that God can be trusted with it ALL. I needed to hear this. 🙂
Oh.my.word.Yes. This is a great deal what has been in my head recently. I have not yet achieved what I want to, and the enemy attacks me often through the comparison of what others have achieved. You have written perfectly to places I am so often attacked.
Yet, I know the choices I have made, putting off some goals I have, are for the benefit of my family. And the little girl who calls me “Mom,” and the man who calls me his wife? They will forever be more important that the accomplishment of any goal I may have.
Thank you for this beautiful, well timed post.
First I just want to thankyou for my box of inspiration, loved it all! I have dropped to part ti.e to spend more time with our granddaughter, it is a choice that I treasure. You are so right, and I love knowing our needs are always met when we put Christ first in our lives!
Awesome insight, currently I am leading a bible study for woman your book Mended Heart. 2nd time around still left some questions blank, but so did the other woman. Love the challenge. Yet we will not meet one Sunday night because I will have my granddaughter.
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