Dream Job: Caroline Barnett Balances Work, Family and a High-Profile Ministry

by | Mar 14, 2013 | Women

I groan as the alarm sounds at 5:00 a.m. Thank goodness, I don’t have to get up. The annoying bleep is rousing my husband, Matthew, so he can catch a flight to some city to speak and raise money for the Dream Center.

I try to go back to sleep, but he’s making too much noise showering and packing for his trip. On his way out the bedroom door, Matthew kisses me on the forehead, and I groggily tell him, “Go get ’em, tiger.”

I toss and turn for a while and suddenly hear my wake-up call at 6:15. “Too soon,” I mutter.

I shuffle down the hallway to wake up my daughter, Mia, repeating my attempts three to five times within 15 minutes. I head to the kitchen to get the morning ritual started—make breakfast and pack her a lunch. I notice the time (yikes!) and try to hurry things along.

By 7 a.m., Mia is sitting at the kitchen table gobbling her breakfast, and I’m double-checking that her homework is still in her backpack from last night’s study session.

I can finally pour my first cup of coffee—in a thermal travel cup—to drink as I drive her to school. As Mia heads to the car, I run upstairs to wake up my son, Caden. I bundle him in a blanket and run to the car, where Mia waits. Half-asleep, Caden mumbles, “I don’t want to drop Mia off. I want to stay in bed.”

Once Mia is dropped off at the Christian school, Caden and I head home. I feed him breakfast and get him ready for his first-grade home-school class. By the time his teacher arrives at the house, it’s time for my second cup of coffee and my time with God, studying the Word and praying.

The quiet time is energizing and helps motivate me to start tackling the to-do list I make each night that relates to my roles as wife, mother, homemaker, friend, pastor, leader and now author. From picking up dry cleaning to preparing a message for the upcoming weekend’s women’s conference to attending a PTA meeting—I’m ready to dive in. It’s going to be a great but long day.

People often mistakenly believe that serving others will require an unmanageable sacrifice from them—personally, professionally and emotionally. That hours spent at a homeless shelter will have negative effects on their own children left at home. Or that adopting a child may demand more of them than they can emotionally handle. Or that being a big sister to an inner-city kid may mean a person has to give up the thought of marriage.

Let me assure you that God does not call you to serve others at the expense of other areas of your life. Certainly there are seasons in our lives that make it difficult, even impossible, for us to do anything outside of managing our lives or our families. There are times our attention must be drawn toward taking care of important personal matters, like tending a sick child or dealing with a family crisis.

Our levels of willingness may change throughout our lives, but the key is staying consistent with what we can give and do.

Meshing a personal life with a life of service requires a balancing act that may take some time and effort, but it can be done. I often think of life as standing on top of a board balanced on a rolling barrel. If you want to maintain your balance, you have to constantly shift and adjust your position on the board.

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