We all say it. "Kids are more important than ministry." I grew up hearing the phrase and in our home, it was nice to know that it was true. But I have seen so many ministry families who find it difficult to balance both family and ministry. Not that Hetee and I don't find it challenging at times. But we really enjoy each other and our kids and we like spending time together whenever we can.
Last night Hetee and I planned a surprise for our kids and we had quite a hard time keeping it to ourselves. It was late when we got home from ministering at a women's meeting. We made supper and ate quickly. Then, as usual, we brushed the kids' teeth and tucked them into bed. After about 30 minutes (and a few empty threats to "go to sleep, now, or else!") we got them back up and told them to put their clothes on.
It took them a few seconds to get moving; as if they didn't believe what they had heard. Then they began chattering excitedly and wondering what could possibly worth mommy and daddy dragging them out of bed in the middle of the night.
We all dressed warmly, even Evelyn, and headed out to the car where blankets were waiting in the trunk. We drove to the outskirts of Darkhan, up a hill that overlooks the city and parked and spread out our blankets. We were running low on cash and all I had on hand was one apple and one chocolate moon pie and a couple of candies. We took those and enjoyed them on our "midnight picnic". Our kids shared graciously and we could barely find anyone to take the last bite of the apple or the moon pie.
We stretched out on our blankets and gazed at the night sky. Together, we witnessed a shooting star, asked each other questions and listened, unhurried, to the answers. We cuddled, Eva nursed, we laughed and goofed. We told scary stories. Well, not really. We told regular stories with scary voices and that was scary enough for my crew.
When it was time to go, we were all satisfied. Our hearts were full and Hetee and I, although tired, felt ready to meet the next thing Shepherding had to throw at us. Our kids' world was safe and secure. They went back to their beds and fell asleep peacefully, feeling more important than mommy and daddy's work.
I know that these opportunities to spend time together won't last forever. One day all my children will have grown up and left home to live their own lives. I don't want to look back and think about all the things I should have done with them or all the things we missed during their childhood. I am very fortunate to have a husband who has the same family goals and values that I do (despite vast differences growing up). We want to live with no regrets and if our kids develop fond memories in the meantime, we all win.