By Sherry Graf
One early morning not long ago, Jeff and I sat snuggled in the chair in our bedroom. We talked and dreamed together about a new small role we had been praying about. The thought of doing something local after 5 years of only national focus was attractive. Doing ministry together again excited us even more. As we talked I asked, “What would it look like for us to do this in our home in a way that would be a good blend for our whole family?”
Not too many weeks prior to this conversation I had been praying about the word “balance” along with my next contribution. I’ve always been a bit frustrated by this elusive word. As I prayed, I sensed God give me the word “blend” instead. I stopped asking, What is the right balance of ministry in and out of the home for me, and instead starting asking, What is the right blend for this age and stage of my family?
Just the word change alone brought an inner release. I felt less stress trying to “balance” it all. Jeff says “balance” sets us up for failure, like we are walking a tightrope and eventually we will fall off. But “blend” is a much better description of what I’m aiming for. Running a ministry in and through our homes with kids and campus coming together is a blend metaphorically and in reality.
We want our boys (who are homeschooled and ages 9-14) to feel a part of what we are doing. We are excited for them to see more hands-on ministry. And, we want to do it in a way that blends well with our season of life and blesses everyone. This will probably take more planning and prep – like a meal we can share together with all ages after diving into Bible study. And during our homeschool we might study the same book we will be studying with our Nav friends so our sons can contribute and feel a part of the group. Or if the boys choose to go read/ play elsewhere during our meeting that is fine too.
I’ve learned recently that taking ALL my personal time to do Nav stuff is not the right blend for me. Duh!!! But as a result of some great coaching from the wonderful Deb Entsminger, I’m learning to take some of my personal time to focus on caring for myself so I can give my best to others in and out of my home. For example; instead of splitting all my time between homeschool, running a home and Nav responsibilities, I’m making sure there is time each day to be refreshed. I’m zeroing in on my life purpose and filtering decisions through this new grid to find the right blend. This means saying “no” to a lot of things to say “yes” to my kids and homeschool for this season. As a result, my hours for Navs are more limited at times, but I love that I can always be involved even if in a small way. And in 10 short years (sniff) when they are all grown I can give many more hours to outside ministry.
There is some fear in choosing the right contributions and commitments, but I’m trusting the Lord to use the things He has taught me to lead us to the right blend. I’m looking forward to seeing what works for us all with this new contribution. And then my kids’ needs will change and we will have to start a new blend all over again…ahh, the life of a mommy missionary!
Blessings on you all as you blend your lives with students and toddlers and all the stages in between. May God give you daily wisdom and guidance and may you rest in His gentle leading. (Isaiah 40:11)
Sherry joined staff in 1997. She robbed the cradle and married a handsome student (gasp!) named Jeff in 2000. Since then they have served in WI, SD and now in CO. They have 3 boys ages 9-14 and there is never a dull moment in their house. 4 years ago Sherry finally got her girl, a black and white lab mix who is her constant shadow. Jeff and Sherry enjoy serving together locally and nationally with Collegiate in various roles to advance the Gospel.