The following advice reflects how I partnered with Jim while we were on campus. Our boys say that when someone gives advice, it tends to be an autobiography. I must say I agree! What worked for us might not work for you. My desire is to share some helpful things we did while partnering at home and on campus with children under our roof.
Offer grace for changing schedules
Campus ministry is wrought with schedules that change regularly. It was helpful for us to develop a routine that prioritized work and family time. We planned intentionally for Jim so that he got regular times with the boys. We planned for date night, time to go to campus, family gatherings, ministry commitments etc. We tried to work within our plan but often things changed. While it is not acceptable to have changes all the time, offer grace when needed.
I value communication and wanted to be up to date on things that pertained to me, as well as what was happening on campus. Because we didn’t have cell phones when we were on campus, communicating was not as easy as it is now. We tried to set aside “couch time” where we communicated with one another as the boys played. They knew mommy and daddy needed to catch up with one another. We got interrupted a lot (often because someone was bleeding J) but it was a good way to set us up for communication. I asked Jim to take notes on things throughout the day I wanted to keep track of and what to remember to tell me. That helped me to feel involved!
Get on campus
If you love students and want to spend time with them, figure out how you can do that. Is having them in your home a joy for you? Do you want to observe your staff or a student Bible study, do evangelism, have one on one’s, or go to Nav Night on occasion? If so, perhaps your husband can come home to allow you to go to campus. Or, maybe a student, family or friend can watch your children to release you to minister outside of your home.
Going to campus and observing for yourself can encourage and remind you of the current realities found there. If you can provide evaluated experiences for your staff or student leader women it will be very developmental for them and encouraging to you.
Contribute on campus
You know what you enjoy. How might you contribute in a way that fits your gifting, capacity and season? Decide with your husband how you might participate and bless the work. Strategically plan something that is a “cup-filler” for you. There were seasons when I loved having people in the home and others that I did not! Times when I couldn’t wait to get out of the door and others when I didn’t care to see anyone, especially students!
Be his biggest fan
Someone will be your husband’s biggest fan. Will it be you? As he goes to campus, others will respect him as they watch him lead. Remind him you are his biggest fan in good and hard times. Understand the pressures he faces and seek to see the best in him.
Save some energy for your husband
Being at home with ‘littles’ all day, every day requires a lot of energy. When you save some energy for your husband it will deepen your relationship and he will feel respected that you saved some strength to be his lover.
Be careful what you say
Children may not seem to listen to you all of the time but they do hear most of what you say. As children get older, be careful what you share in front of them about students, staff or even The Navigators. They often repeat what they have heard and when they do, you don’t want to have them say something you regret.
I have shared several ways that have been helpful for Jim and me in partnering together in life and ministry. If they were to read this post my boys would laugh and say, “This is your autobiography, mom!” I hope you will comment and share what has worked for you as you partner in ministry with your husband!