I truly believe for a healthy and thriving family we must ALWAYS place God at the center of everything! Colossians 1:15-20 repeatedly tells us that Jesus is first, before, and over everything; He is the beginning. He is most important. But don't just focus on keeping Him first, because then you might neglect Him, but keep Him IN everything you do! The center of your marriage, your family, your ministry, your job, your friendships, etc.
God is of the utmost importance. And then come our Spouse & Kids... only after that, comes everything else.
It's not about rules. It's just a formula for prioritizing that will reap blessings beyond all you can imagine.
Number one, if we are going to stay true to God, our families, and ourselves we have to get our priorities straight. If our home is out of order or out of whack what good will we be at leading others? What sort of examples will we be?
Something that I feel God has been teaching Jeremy and me is that being an effective christian leader is by leading others on how to do life. Not because our way is perfect. Not because we are flawless, because sometimes I want to wring Jeremy's neck just like any other wife. Sometimes I fly off the handle at my kids too. But Jeremy knows I love him and my kids know their importance and how much we love and adore them. 1 Timothy 4:11-16 in the MSG translation says it like this : Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don't be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.
What I mainly mean is just because we pastor that doesn't mean our family gets pushed off to the side while the flock gets tended to. Or that we don't live or practice what we preach. Actions speak louder than words. People watch better than they listen. This goes for ANY job, any ministry, any situation. Nothing else comes before our precious little family.
No one else is judged for how our children are parented, but we are. So we must stay true to ourselves & our families before any other outside source. We have our children for such a short time before they are adults.
Jeremy & I are not willing to give in to the pressures of the church, the world, fame, money, etc. by sacrificing each other or our children on the altar of ministry or of the world. If God is truly in all we do and at the center, then placing such importance on our families is imperative.
I think Jeremy is much better at everything else & a greater influence when he can be a positive example of a great husband & father. As I am a much better woman in general when I am a positive example of a good wife and mother.
If I can lead myself by seeking God first and above all else and placing Him at the center of all I do, then I can give myself to Jeremy in a way that is God pleasing, and I can be the wife & mother God has called me to be which only THEN allows me to lead others and help others to lead their families... and so on and so forth.
To stay true to God, Family, & Ourselves we have to be willing to block the outside voices and their vain attempts at getting us to compromise our families. Where do you think the devil likes to prowl in a Christian's life? Where does he want to divide? Look at the divorce rate out there. Look at the prodigal children who leave their faith & turn away from God when they are 18.
We MUST place a greater importance on Family! Once a mom, always a mom, but as far as in our homes, day in and day out, needed constantly by our children... It's a very, ridiculously short time. We have the rest of our lives for everything else. We can still even do the other things now. We just have to put God first, then our spouse & kids. We will be able to give ourselves to the world better when we have those priorities straight.
Don't allow the world, money, fame, riches, ministry, feeding the poor to take you away from your children. Humbly serve the poor WITH your kids... Seek & Save the lost WITH your kids... Don't leave your family on the wayside while you run around playing Robin Hood to the rest of the world.
You can better give to others when you prioritize and stay true to God, your family & yourself.
Don't love money so much you sacrifice your dignity & family.
Don't desire a big name for yourself so much you sacrifice what's important to get it.
Life is often lived on an egotistical basis rather than an integrity based priority list.
Things come up. There are busy seasons and different stages & situations. I get that. We all gotta do what we gotta do. Just don't sacrifice your precious family, yet claim you put God first in your life and remember Him in all you do.
What have you allowed to take you from your spouse or your kids?
Is God at the center of all you do?
The things we allow to take us from our families aren't necessarily bad things, they can be extremely noble and much needed things. But in the wrong order, out of context, at the wrong time, something good can become something not so good when it robs us of what's most important.
For more reading on prioritizing here are some additional articles...