The Remembrance Book... You Better Slow Down Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round or listened to the rain slapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? You better slow down Don’t dance so fast Time is short The music won’t last. Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask “How are you?” do you hear the reply? When the day is done do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? You’d better slow down Don’t dance so fast Time is short The music won’t last. Ever told your child, “We’ll do it tomorrow” And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die cause you never had time to call and say “Hi”? You’d better slow down Don’t dance so fast Time is short The music won’t last. When you run so fast to get somewhere you will miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day It is like an unopened gift…thrown away Life is not a race, Do take it slower. Hear the music… before the song is over. Many years ago, I asked each member of my family to write down memories that they had while growing up. I used these memories to create a remembrance book for each of them for Christmas. The above poem was on the first page. It is the perfect reminder for each of us to slow down and enjoy those around us...a reminder to find a balance between work and family life. Finding that balance...is sometimes tricky though. 1. When my children were small, many churches had what was called "Family Pastors". (There may still be in some churches) "Family Pastors" ministered to families. They provided support...resources, materials, counseling, etc. to families needing assistance. They had a heart and a passion for families and they ministered to the family. "Children's Pastors" ministered to children. They had a heart and a passion for children and they used all their passions to minister to the children. Two full-time Pastors...two full-time ministries. Somewhere along the line, (in many churches) these two full-time positions have become one...placing a heavier burden upon the Children's Pastor. I know there are lots of pros and cons that go along with any decision but one con...in my opinion...is that the additional workload makes it harder to strike a balance between ministry and family time. 2. As Children's Pastors...we have such passion for our kiddo's...We want to give them EVERYTHING! We want to do any activity that we see, we want to host every event that pops into our head, we want to do crafts and puppets and games and object lessons...and...and...and. We must realize that "more" does not always mean better. What are we giving up in order to do "more"? What stresses are we adding to our home lives? What health and financial burdens are we putting on ourselves? Prioritize! 3. As Children's Pastors, we feel that every child is our own. We often take on the role of the parent. However, the truth of the matter is...we are not their parents...we are their teachers. Our role is to teach God's Word...straight from the Bible. We should teach and train them long before an issue arises. If we want to take on a social issue...that's fine...but we need to use God's Word, select a lesson that speaks to the issue and teach it the way that God teaches it. If we are training parents to take the lead in their families...we can't "take back" responsibilities that belong to them. It's not our place to choose sides. It's our place to teach what God says. It's the parent's job to take it deeper. In order to create a balance in our own lives, we have to draw a line. What is my responsibility? What is not my responsibility? I am sure you have heard the expression "They can't see the forest for the trees"? It is an expression used for someone who is too involved in the details...to see the situation as a whole Don't get so wrapped up in your ministry that you miss what God has blessed you with... your own families! Life is not a race Do take it slower Hear the music Before the song is over! Take some time today to look at your ministry. What changes can you make to create more time with your family? What responsibilities can you pass on to someone else? What have you been putting off that you could turn into a reality? Who needs a visit from you? Make the effort. Who can you "write a letter to"... (Yes..."write" a letter...or a card) Serve your church, teach your children, take your responsibility seriously...but don't forget your family. Make them a priority...for we never know what tomorrow might bring! Thank you for the incredible job that you are doing. I know it is hard I know that few realize the incredible amount of time you put into your ministry. I know you are dedicated I know that your work is tiring I know that you sacrifice a lot I know that you have little time for yourself I know that you serve diligently I know that few people say "thank you" I know that you are sometimes lonely I know that it is trying at times I know that the work is endless I know that you want to "give up" at times I know that you feel left out sometimes I know that you sacrifice your own health to serve I know that you sacrifice your own resources for your ministry I know that you are not invited to a lot of socials I know you are seldom recognized I know that the sacrifice is big I know your reward will be HUGE! "THANK YOU" for ALL that you do! Praying for you today!