Engaging on Campus Series
A year ago my husband had the idea for me to go to campus for one week and for him to stay home. He was to take on making meals (and washing dishes!), some tidying, and all the homeschooling so he might free me up to be full-time on campus. He lined up his staff meeting via googlechat for naptime on Monday as well as his one-to-ones throughout the week at our house, where guys would help him teach homeschool and interact with our kids. He scheduled work hours during naptimes and each evening, catching up on admin and writing a newsletter, and one night he hosted a group of students for dinner.
Meanwhile, I planned extended time with the Lord and meals at my favorite restaurants with potential EDGERs. I emailed our staff women and asked them how they would like me to come alongside them for an hour during the week: Prayer walk on campus, 1-2-1 time focused on a specific topic, share the Gospel together, observe a 1-2-1 of theirs with a student and give feedback, or sit in on their Bible study and give feedback. I also included attending our weekly large group meetings and a couple small group meetings with some key students.
So how did it go?
I started to recognize before the week began that I wanted Dave to get to the end of the week and really validate how hard my role can be. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I wanted him to flounder by the end of day one, wondering how in the world I juggle housework and meals and homeschool and four kids. But as we talked this through, Dave reminded me that validating my role wasn’t the point of the week and that my worth isn’t in how productive I am. Once we got my value off the table, I was able to receive the gift of a week on campus.
And let me tell you, I loved it! I loved the uninterrupted time with the Lord. I loved a week of full-time investing in women again. I loved getting to know our students. I loved time with our staff women. I loved reengaging with our vision and mission on campus. One of my favorite tasks was taking notes to discuss with Dave about the female-side of our ministry—what are our women facing, and how can we shepherd them better?
I also began to see clearly some of the blessings I have at home—like being able to take a nap in the afternoon if I’m feeling tired. And wearing comfy clothes all day. And never having to figure out a spot to park my car. I also experienced what it is like to come home having talked all day, feeling like I had used up all my words, ready to just veg. Normally if Dave comes home with no words left, I feel frustrated with him. But now I understood what that felt like and how he could get to that point. My respect for Dave grew as I began to see what a great job he does most days coming home after a full day of work and fully engaging with the kids and me. What could previously have been my expectation and perhaps my entitlement (that he would come home ready to serve and lead) I now saw as an act of sacrifice and love towards our family. It was a huge eye-opener.
We both felt like the week was an all-around win, and this one-week swap has become a mainstay in our semester planning.
Oh, and by the end of the week, Dave asked, “How in the world do you get anything done when the kids are awake??” 🙂
Linnette and her husband Dave began their marriage and Nav staff career ten years ago (EDGE and SIT at Colorado State) and they currently lead the collegiate Nav ministries in Nashville. They have four children: Kate (7), Kylie (5), McKenzie (3), and Daniel (2). Linnette and Dave are passionate about the shared mission of raising up disciple-makers and raising up their kids.
What encouraged you the most from Linnette’s post? Have you ever had a chance to swap places with your husband? Do you think this is something you would try?