Q&A With Bobbie Houston #2 [PART 3]
This is possibly the third and last blog (for now) on the question of "balance". I asked a bunch of girls in our Hillsong world for ONE TIP. These women are all in ministry and as you can see are responding from a broad spectrum of life, journey and experience. I asked them to share their age, age of their children and their "current" role in ministry. They didn't have space for too much detail, but most of these girls juggle many roles and some have faced enormous challenges with grace and wisdom. I stand in awe of them all. I listed them in order of how I received them ... and there's still a handful that we can save for another day. Love always, Bobbie
"How do you balance family life and ministry life?" [PART 3]
1. Julia A'Bell, 38, (daughter 12, son 6)
Lead Pastors, Hillsong Sydney
TIP: Live in the moment. Don't be so focused on the past or the future, that you miss the beauty of the 'now' moment. Life travels so quickly and there is great richness in presencing yourself in what you're doing and experiencing NOW!
2. Margaret Stunt, 62, (daughter 42, four grandkids 20-13)
Trainer/Pastor/Speaker, Hillsong College
TIP: Make it an adventure, build good memories, share good stories, keep it real, PRAY!
3. Vera Kasevich, 40, (two adult kids, one grandson 1year)
Lead Pastors, Hillsong Kiev and Moscow
TIP: Family is your team! Always view it and present to everyone in your family as this is "our ministry" and we are all in this together. Everyone should play their role. Some carry big responsibility, some less, but everyone equally paying the price and equally sharing a pressure even if not everyone doing the same thing or involve as much as others. In this case you serve together and you play together sharing reward, gratitude and praise from those around you. Always saying to your kids and spouse, "I did it or achieve it because you are in my family, you are in my team”.... This builds incredible sense of ownership and significance. This is not "my" ministry rather "our" ministry mentality would be an essential key for me balancing life and ministry together.
4. Leanne Thomas, 45, (daughter 14, son 11)
Service pastors, City Campus
TIP: Be genuinely passionate about family; be genuinely passionate about The Kingdom. Our kids’ lives are richer because we have built our lives around the local church. Our local church is our family community so we get involved and we teach our kids to get involved (and drive Bella to every possible service!!!) Love that!
5. Lizzie Clout, 50, (three kids, 16-22)
Kids Leader, Hillsong Noosa Ext Service
TIP: In super busy seasons, I found that tension occurred when family members were unaware of meetings/commitments/responsibilities in each others week - so a visible family weekly planner used to be in our kitchen where everything was recorded including school trips/ assignments due/ visitors expected etc, etc - then where there were potential clashes they could be negotiated around (e.g. if a kid's assignment was due on a Thursday and they knew I had a Wednesday night meeting, then they would have to ensure they got my help prior to that night). Worked well when all were on board - but that doesn't always happen in real life. Smile.
6. Jo Garratt, 40, (three little girls 4-9)
Pastoral Care Pastor, Sydney Campus
TIP: Don't compare your world to your girlfriends or other mums around you. Find the lane God has for you and your family and run hard in your lane and know God will grace you and your family for every season ... and be organised. (A practical thing I try to do, is not go to bed until everything is organised for the next day. Kids Lunch boxes packed, clothes, shoes and socks laid out. Bags packed. Creates calm the following morning, when trying to get out the door. Nothing worse than trying to find one school shoe, as you are trying to get out the door).
7. Rachel Mawston, 41, (two daughters 6, 11)
Pastoral Care oversight, Sisterhood Pastor, Brisbane Campus.
TIP: A date night with Steve (about every 2 weeks)- get a baby sitter, go out together, chat, eat, do something fun, movie etc. Done this our whole married lives so far. And a Family day ... once a week we plan a great day (or majority of day) that everyone gets to contribute to what we do (e.g. theme parks/ beach/rock-climbing/movie/cook together at home/rent a DVD, popcorn/have a party for no reason with games, fun, food, cake/reading to kids at library/shopping/bowling/picnic at park/ BBQ/swimming/ ice cream parlours/cafes). Doesn't always have to involve spending a lot. We try to balance it out weekly and be creative.
The overall aim is that our kids grow up with the message that date nights, and quality family time together are as important to us as church appointments and work plans, that our lives - though full - are also full of fun, love, laughter and great memories along the journey. I think this has been the largest investment to our ministry life and calling. Happy at home, happy everywhere.
8. Christine Caine, 45, (two daughters 9, 5)
Global team, Hillsong Church
TIP: Make the daily mundane journey an adventure. Young kids take a lot of energy and are demanding in many ways. You can feel overwhelmed or DECIDE to make it fun. We turn a simple Dora the Explorer TV show into a "movie & popcorn" treat. Lights down, popcorn bursting and 30 minutes of distraction just became a treat... it's seriously the simple things made extraordinary that make the greatest difference
9. Lauren Douglass, 24, (20 month old daughter)
Oversee Hills Campus Creative Team alongside my husband JD
TIP: Keep everything in perspective! Through the big, the small, the lonely the chaotic, the extravagant, the mundane and so on, never loose sight of the bigger picture. Guiding and leading people to our beautiful Saviour is our greatest calling and purpose.
10. Joanna Haverkamp, 32, (three girls 1-7)
Lead pastors, Hillsong Germany
TIP: Life can be full and varied and it’s important that we include our children on the journey. I like them to know what’s coming so that they can help and get excited for all that is to come. Once a month we make a family calendar and draw little symbols that show our daughters when church is, when connect group is on etc. when Daddy or Mummy are travelling somewhere and also when our family nights and special dates are. Special dates are when Freimut or I take one of the girls out for a monthly date, Mummy and Daddy also book a date night in on this calendar ... then we hang the calendar in the kitchen at their eye level so they can see. We see our family as a team and just as God has anointed us to carry what we have been called to do, He has also anointed our children to be our children - we're in this together!
11. Annie Garratt, 32, (2 kids, 11mths, 2)
Vocals Pastor, Hillsong Creative Team
TIP: Be in the moment and say no to a "busy" mentality! Life is full and sometimes I feel a bit spread thin, but each area- family, friends, ministry deserves my FULL attention so whether it's play-dough or worship leading I'm learning to take it one thing at a time and embrace the moment.
12. Catrina Henderson, 39
Hillsong College Principal, City Campus
TIP: Learn to rest well! (Heb 4: 9-10). Many people struggle to really Rest well; even on holidays... it often takes so long to wind down that We can feel like we haven't had 'time to really rest'... but resting is more an internal state than a time issue, so I practice that. I have a 5 minute holiday every day... and practice rest, so then when I have 'time to rest' I can unwind easily and be well rested.
13. Joyce Dixon, 54, (Kids Age: 24-27)
Campus Pastors, Brisbane Campus
TIP: My kids now live away from home. Diaries are important! Right from when Steve & I were first married, at the start of each week we would go through our diaries to coordinate family, work ,school and ministry. This enabled each of us to know what was going on in each of our worlds and to balance all the activities pertaining to that week.
15. Tam Tickner, 35, (1 child who is 1 and SSSOOOO cute)
Campus pastors, SW Campus
TIP: Have a girls night once a month (even if it's just with one girl) - the laughing and relaxing will leave you refreshed to be a better wife, mother and more relaxed and motivated to do ministry.
16. Cathy Clarke, 49, (2 kids, 14 and 16)
Lead pastors, Hillsong London
TIP: I pinched this from you Bob but its the first thing that popped into my head and has become my mantra ... I say it often, "if its going to be hard for you, its going to be hard for the kids"
17. Sarah Khiroya, 30, (two boys 9mths & 3yrs)
Youth Pastor, Sydney Hillsong Youth
TIP: Play on the way! Having two young boys requires strategy in balancing Family & Ministry in our lives. So we decided that when ever we leave our home on the way to any church service or meeting that no matter what the lead up to leaving the house may have been, some days calm and organised others slightly frantic as we try to find matching socks ha BUT as soon as we turn the key on in the car we PLAY ON THE WAY! Some days its 'Eye Spy' others a 'Sing-a-long Dance Party'. My favourite Play on the way is when we are on our way to our Saturday night service in the city when we stop by the zoo for an hour or so to say a quick hello to the hippo one week and the seals the next. This is my tip because it ensures the whole family arrives at church in a positive frame of mind ready to love on God and love on people.
18. Lina Nielsen, 30, (two girls 3-5 years)
Lead Pastors, Hillsong Stockholm
TIP: 1. Be 100% where you are at the moment. 100% when at home with kids, 100% when in church or at work... 2. Keep on top of the housework. Clean a little bit of the house every day. If I do that, the house gets liveable and I don't have to spend my"day off" cleaning. And I can have time to rest or do whatever I like.... 3. Listen to teaching/prepare/pray/think things through while hanging out the washing, doing the dishes or driving in the car. As a mom with small children, those are my gold moments.
19. Tamlyn Russell, 32, (kids: 11months - 3 yrs)
Extension Service Pastors, Hillsong Noosa Ext. Service
TIP: GET EVERYTHING ready for church on Sunday, on Saturday night. We need to take this to the extreme in our family. I am not a morning person by nature, married to a man who is pedantic about time (its a strength xx), mum to a baby (enough said) and a daughter who has strong opinions on what she wears :)...it can take us a loooong time to agree on an outfit for the eyes of the public. So...we choose her 'church' outfit together on Saturday night, I pack a bag full of kids entertainment & snacks (which enables me to play my part in serving in church - even in the young kids season) and a baby bag that plans for all eventualities (food; extra nappies, clothes & pyjamas - to allow for spontaneity with friends; WET WIPES; pegs to hold the blanket over the pram during nap time; ear defenders & baby pouch - so I can lift my hands in worship) and we leave the house strong and on time on a Sunday morning :) Organised mum = Happy kids + Happy husband i.e. Happy family ready to enjoy the honour and incredible opportunity of serving in His House xx
20. Danielle Jeyaratnan, 29, (2 kids - 11 months & 2 1/2 yrs)
Campus pastors, City campus
TIP: At the end of a work day (even the long ones!) bring your best to your family, not the leftovers. Even if you're tired, come home with something to give. It’s important to avoid taking out any pressure you’re feeling on your loved ones. In our marriage - focus on our spouse - put down the phone & leave the emails for later! The cleaning can also wait! With our kids - give our FULL attention to what the moment requires - whether that's helping with homework, reading books or singing songs at bedtime. Do it lovingly and wholeheartedly!.... Proverbs 31:28-29 "Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Our children and spouse should rise and call us blessed because of the work of our hands, not curse us! Ha!