Fall Launch: An Honest Confession from a Mommy Missionary

Engaging on Campus Series

This year marks our 11th fall launch.  Even after 10 years of learning the seasons of this collegiate ministry life, August 1st comes, and I still feel taken off-guard.   Sometimes my heart isn’t ready for summer to end—for the “more than normal” to change to fall launch’s “less than normal” time with Dave, help with the kids, and down time.
I don’t know about you, but I can have some high highs and some low lows during this season.  My heart feels wonderfully full when our staff team comes together after being spread out for the summer.   I get almost giddy with excitement seeing the crowds of students coming to check out the first Nav Night.
At times I feel the weight of being on my own a lot with our kids, and I can feel afraid of burning out.
Sometimes I feel left out of the fun things like Krispy Kreme recruiting events and meeting all the new freshmen women.  I know that it doesn’t make sense for me to take the kids to campus at 10 pm, or to hire a babysitter so I can go get a donut, but I feel left out all the same.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the calendar.  I don’t blame Dave—and I know this season of busyness won’t last forever, but whew!  It is a sprint for both of us!
I’ve found that I often try to “deal” with my feelings in my own strength.  Sometimes I just ignore them and dig deep and keep going.  Or I turn to Dave expecting him to fix how I feel.  But none of these involve Jesus.  I am learning that when I have feelings (especially negative ones!) I can turn my thoughts to the Lord and ask Him for help.  I so desire that the strongest inclination of my heart and mind would be to turn to the Lord in dependence and even gratefulness.
I am learning I need to keep the big picture in mind.  Students’ lives will be transformed this year.  Right now, people are praying that someone will reach out to that freshman, and I get to have a part in that.  Granted, I physically won’t be on many dorm halls this year, but I am playing an indispensable role.  If I don’t do my part in caring for our kids and running our home, Dave won’t be able to do his part on campus.   He and I are in this “raising a family while leading a ministry” life together.  This is a shared mission.  I am mostly at home with a part of my heart on campus, and he is, for these next 6 weeks, mostly on campus with a part of his heart at home.  We both desire to make sacrifices in order to honor Jesus so that many would come to know Him – our kiddos first and foremost, and our students.  So when the hard moments of the day come, I want to remember that Jesus sees me and that He is worthy of me laying down my life.
I don’t know where you are entering fall launch, but I pray you will take heart and know you are not alone in this crazy, wonderful mommy missionary life we lead.
Practical Helps for Preparing for Fall Launch
Buy a stack of paper plates—it’s not green, but it gives me a break from dishes for the meals when I am home with kids!
Prep freezer meals one morning or plan a grocery stocking day before it all begins.  Last year, Dave helped me prep 20 meals in 3 hours one Saturday morning!
Encourage your husband to take at least 1 day off in the first two weeks.
Celebrate Fall Conference as a finish line for freshman recruiting—and take a few days off!  Last year we went camping, and it really helped Dave downshift in intensity.
Create an “ideal week” schedule with your husband for his work hours (this begins once the first couple weeks end).  We work on this together in early August, and it helps me know “normal” will come soon!

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 kind of feelings and thoughts run through your mind as you prepare for Fall Launch?  What are some things that you do to help prepare yourself for the craziness that Fall brings?  Share any tips that you’ve learned over the years!

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