Jello.  Orange jello.  It’s amazing how little things in life can teach you such big lessons. Today, I’d like to tell you about one of those lessons…

I have four kids.  I have a husband.  I enjoy fulfilling my roles as a wife, mother, and homemaker.  As a global working teacher I also have ministries to fulfill in the area of education.  Fortunately, I am able to do these from our home, which allows me to stay with our 4-year-old son, Seth.  I enjoy my ministries and the challenges involved with them.  However, it’s easy for me to get absorbed in my “work” and let other things slide.  For example: watching Seth.

This is where the jello comes in.  Recently, Seth and I made a nice orange jello with bananas to complement our evening meal. Jello is a rare treat here, and we always look forward to it.  During a break from my morning’s “work”, I went to check on Seth.  As I glanced into the dining area I noticed my nice, big orange jello with bananas was missing one thing: bananas!  I guess Seth needed a snack and since “Mommy was too busy”, he helped himself.  Whoops.

Unfortunately, the jello episode hasn’t been the only thing that’s happened lately.  I have caught Seth more than once doing things he wouldn’t be (or at least shouldn’t be) if I had been keeping better track of him.

The question is: How can I do both things at once?  How can I continue to fulfill my ministry responsibilities and still take care of my son? I have been struggling with this issue for a while.  Every time I have to leave my family for a consultant visit, a meeting, or something else, I am torn.  I love the interaction of my “work” and the satisfaction it affords.  I also love my family.  It’s a tough thing and a constant balancing act.  Many times, I know the balance has been lopsided.

Besides these obvious reminders of my misplaced priorities, I’ve also had two verbal reminders. One came from Seth himself the other day. He looked at me and said, “You momma now.”  Whoops, again.

The other one came in a magazine article directed at global working women.  I didn’t want to forget it so I printed it out, added a picture of my family next to it, and put it up on my office wall.  It has helped me to keep things in the proper order.  It says: “Remember…my family members are the closest people to me because God wants them to have the most of me.  I am the only wife my husband has and the only mom my children have.  This is the job I get to do that no one else can.”  No matter what other things I accomplish here in Senegal, I need to remember that my family must come first.

On that note, I think I’ll go make some orange jello for supper.


©2004 Thrive


View the original print magazine where this article was first published.