The Lord Sets the Pace

The Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit kicked off today in Nashville. It’s a fantastic event, championing the cause of the fatherless. Great speakers will take the stage and workshops will be presented by my friends. My Facebook feed is filling with updates from them. It’s a great event and I’m not there – but I’m pretty okay with that.

Today I’m going to watch Ladybug pole vault, take my younger kids shopping at Costco, do math with Sunshine, return some phone calls, and do the things that my keep my family moving along the track. Seeing my daughter fly up and over the bar will be exciting, and the rest of my day will be filled with routine tasks.

There is a pace the Lord wants me to take with ministry, and  today I feel a little bit sad that it doesn’t include the Summit. On other hand, travel and time away take a toll on me and my family, so sitting this one out is also just fine.

To all my friends who made it to the Summit,take good notes!  I want to hear all about it.

Question: Do you feel the pull to do ministry beyond your family? How do you balance it?


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Sonya Hillrich
    May 2, 2013

    It is rough to balance, for sure.
    I went last year & was completely smitten with the entire experience!
    I'm home today, homeschooling these two lovelies, & trying to live-stream some of the Summit sessions.
    It is sort of how my life has gone for the past year; serving my family & keeping up with the needs of my kids, while trying to keep an eye on the big picture of ministering to adoptive families, orphans & foster children.
    I have a team of ladies that work together at church towards this bigger goal, & we strive to keep our hearts open to the Holy Spirit, & we move when He says. Often we find ourselves being slowed in our efforts by some circumstances we face in our families. But looking back we can see that His timing is perfect, & there was a different direction or a different pace He was leading us toward. I'm thankful it is a mix of adoptive moms, & moms that serve orphans in other ways….seems to be necessary for good perspective.
    Love this community that you gather on your blog. I feel like I am not alone on this journey.
    Enjoy your pretty day.

  2. Kathy
    May 2, 2013

    I do. And I think most of adoptive/foster mommas would say the same. Our hearts are bent toward those that need us and there are so many that need the loving touch of a caring person. I am typing this from my bed, were I've been for 2 days now. I'm here for thinking I can do more than I really can. As I lay here, I have been evaluating what needs to change because my family is my first calling. It's a struggle. I've decided to keep our work with children with special needs, because one of my kids usually tags along and is blessed because of it. Even saying that can sound selfish, but I need to reason it out. I just sent an email backing out of being a school reading helper and know I've disappointed the teacher, but being in bed for days is helping no one. The Lord has also been showing me my covenant with my husband should be put before my children.

  3. Heidi
    May 2, 2013

    That is a great question. I want to be involved in ministry, but my children are almost six, four, two, and six months. Last summer I had to give up my volunteer position at church. It was not a big time commitment, I could do it at home, it was flexible, but I didn't have time and energy to give to it. Right now I seem to be in a season where outside ministry is one little thing at a time. Today I have time to write one note to a struggling mom. This week I can double a dinner and take some to a mom of four whose husband is out of town all week. While I hang up the laundry, I can pray for Lisa. This month we can invite one new family from church over for a meal. This is not the time of my life to take on big things. But then, maybe the little things are the big things?

    1. Jolene
      May 2, 2013

      I can't even tell you how encouraging this comment is to me. The Holy Spirit has spoken through your wise words. Jolene

  4. Marissa
    May 2, 2013

    Do I feel a pull? Yes. But I've come to the conclusion that for me it's a very selfish pull. It's not where I'm supposed to be right now. I feel surrounded by a world that's telling me to do more, a heart that wants to do more, but a family that needs me to be right here. I've come to find value in the tiny ways that I can minister and those are just as valuable and big campaigns and successful organizations.

  5. Emily
    May 2, 2013

    Ladybug rocks.

  6. Kelly
    May 4, 2013

    Ive been thinking a lot about this. I was approached recently to speak about our adoptive family at a local church.
    In the end, the Lord showed me what the cost would be to my family. It's too high.
    Right now, my heart and my "self" are at home. I'm supposed to be speaking into their hearts and training these babies of mine. I'm supposed to be serving my husband, and helping him with the ministry God gave HIM. I'm supposed to be creating a peaceful space for him to come home to. With five kids, and three kids from the hard place, that takes a attention to detail, and a careful hand.
    When they are all grown, then I will have lots of time for a new ministry. For now… I am content to serve here at home.
    All that said… It's hard to say no, and it can be isolating at home. But I don't think I'll end up regretting this decision.

  7. wendy
    May 13, 2013

    So often "church-culture" makes it so easy to feel like a sub-par disciple if we aren't out DOING more. 9 months ago my husband and I resigned from pastoring our small-town church, because we felt like it was sabotaging our family life. It is a very fine balance between ministering to our families and creating idols of our families. Yet we kept coming back to meeting the needs of our marriage and our kids…we were too stressed and activity-bound because of our position, and we didn't feel that it was godly nor biblical. Our church family did not take our resignation well, and it has taken us this long to slowly unwind our very tight springs. Now, I've started to feel discontent with my lack of formal, organized ministry, and I when I push aside the discontent long enough I can hear Jesus whisper to me to be Mary, not Martha…and when I am full the leading of the Holy Spirit will pour me out like a drink offering. But in this season of raising and schooling my 4 kiddos, and ministering to my still stressed husband, I am being poured out a little each day, and I need to be content with this as the ministry He has given me for this season. Not easy, for sure!


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