Family: Putting Family First

Family: Putting First Things First

You can interchange soul for family in this verse and ask yourself the question, “So what are we losing in order to gain?” This is my story!

I often find myself trying to juggle the many hats I wear. I’m blessed to be a husband to my dear wife, Jennifer, and father to my children Olivia, Wesley, Sophia and Baby H. I’m a locksmith by trade and a minister by obedience. Trying to balance these is not always easy, and often the evidence that things are out of order becomes clear and undeniable. Such a case occurred last year as I found my house out of order due to my absence from home.

While I was out trying to fulfill the call of minister, serving the hurting and afflicted, I was causing pain for my own wife and children. I was working two jobs and doing a lot of volunteer ministry work. It became abundantly clear that my children’s attitudes and behavior were affected and my wife was overwhelmed. My physical health was also suffering and starting to deteriorate. I had allowed myself to become 40 pounds overweight, which was taking a toll on my everyday life.

It was during my quiet time that God spoke to me and said something had to change. I was neglecting the first ministry he gave me, which is the one that resides within my home … my family. God further revealed that my wife and children needed me more than any other ministry. So I began to develop a plan to intentionally foster relational healing in my home. This was a spiritual exercise between my wife and myself, my children and myself, and my wife with the kids. Basically, all of us were to focus on having one-on-one time together and learning to appreciate one another again. I made a commitment to wake up earlier in the morning to enjoy more quiet time with God, to do marriage devotionals with my wife, and to do some physical exercise. Additionally, I made a promise to not be absent from home for any two consecutive nights and to help more with the care of the children. I also took on a new responsibility – helping my wife with food preparations so that we could focus on eating better.

To facilitate the changes, I called for a family meeting where we worked on an activity calendar. We marked off days where we had to be somewhere, free days, date nights, and days for one-on-one time with the kids. We called this our “Connections Calendar.” After a month, we could honestly see some positive changes in each member of our family. As the next few months rolled by, I lost the 40 pounds I had gained and returned to my proper weight.

I had reconnected with my wife and kids on a personal level that we had not had for many years. Thanks be to God that I realized how things were off in my home and regained a healthier marriage and life. The entire family experienced improvements in the areas of physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual health.