Dear Salvation Army Soldier, Don’t Forget Your Children!!

I write this pondering today because it is personal.
This is something that often weighs on me.
I have four beautiful children.
I don’t just say that, but if you were to ask me about them, I might just gush about the things they do that make me laugh, and how talented they are and how proud I am of them.  In case you couldn’t tell, I love my kids.  For those of you out there reading this who have children too, I am sure that you love your children as well!

My kids:
My kids:
my kids2
My older boys – Isaiah (15), Zechariah (14)

Ministry and Kids:
Growing up in the Army had its ups and downs, it’s joys and its not-joys…but my parents were very keen on the need to instruct and love their children in the midst of the busyness of officership.
They carved out time.

They made sure we were not left behind.
We did ministry together at times.
We helped during hectic Christmas seasons (though honestly we hated it sometimes).
We led songs. Sang solos.  Played in the band.  Helped out with youth programs…and yes we were “the example” to other kids (although we often chaffed at that).  In and through it all we were not left behind.

drownThe Dangers of Ministry:
We can get lost in the deep waters of savings souls.
We can thrive upon our “success rate”.
We can puff ourselves up with importance in the roles and positions we are appointed to.
The waters of ministry are as vast as they are deep.

I have heard of officers who put in 50-60 hours a week in the office while their families never see them.
I have seen these over-worked soldiers of our army face to face.  They are good people.  At times I have caught myself in this trap as well.  I am certainly not saying “don’t work”…but I am saying be careful not to get lost in “the work”.  Be aware of the burnout cycle of soldiers, and signs that accompany it.  Take time away.  Take your days off.  Spend quality time with your families.  Do what is necessary.  Help the hurting first…let the paperwork and reports wait til last if you have to.

Secondly, don’t get buried by the crashing wave of performance and approval.  This danger caters to our need to make others happy.  We can easily become people-pleasers all of the time.   We might waste valuable quality time with our families because we are so concerned about making sure leaders, soldiers and others all happy with us and our work.  Beware of this danger.

“I saved souls but I lost my children!”  Taking the strain
I would forever live a life of regret if this became my response to the Lord when I see Him face to face.
Can feel the anguish and pain in attempting to say this?
Sure some will argue that it’s not a parent’s duty to save their children, no, but it is a parent’s duty to “train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it“. (Proverbs 22:6)  Just because we put on our uniforms and walk out into the “mission field” doesn’t mean that we no longer have this first mission field to care for.
Our first mission field IS OUR CHILDREN!
I really don’t care what others say about this.
If your opinion differs from mine then so be it.
If we have the capacity to procreate in this world, then it is our responsibility are parents to train our children and to teach them.

Will there be others there to help teach them?  Of course.
Will we need help?  Absolutely!
Will there be difficult days?  Naturally.
BUT…We bring our children along with us in this ministry!
Don’t leave them behind.
Don’t neglect them.

Things to consider (and please don’t get discouraged):
There are some officer’s kids and soldier’s kids who are growing up hating the Army because they never see their parents.
There are some officer’s kids and soldier’s kids who, once grown, will never darken the doors of a corps building ever again.
We only get so many years with our children and then they grow up and leave our homes, make those years count!
Sometimes it is necessary to be parents first and soldiers/officers second.
Sometimes that priority list has to take a back seat to the home life.

Questions: 
How can I be a better parent?  (There is always room for improvement, but don’t beat yourself up!)
How can we incorporate our families into our ministry more efficiently?
When my soldier/officer priorities need to take a backseat to my family will I show up and be present to them?
What are the needs of my family right now?
Am I fervently praying for my children, my spouse, my family?
Do I show my love to my family enough or do I need to be more intentional in this display?

Something more for our Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

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