Andy Patton, former Veritas staff member, recently interviewed Kelley Wampler, Ryan’s wife, on being a wife and mom. Learn from her responses as you read about a season of life that most of us aren’t yet in, but hope to be in one day. It originally appeared on Flourish on June 8.
Flourish: You are the wife of a pastor, a mother of three, and are active in your church—how you balance all the roles that you have in life? How do you keep all those plates spinning?
Kelley: I don’t know if I keep all of the plates spinning. Usually some plates are spinning fast, some slow, and some are stopped. I kind of don’t like the phrase “balance.” I think balance is a myth. The idea that you are going to somehow have this harmonious life where you are able to do all the things you want to do and do them well is not realistic. It’s not real life. What I’ve chosen to do is focus on priorities in the different seasons of my life—the things that I feel God is calling me to in that season.
Right now that calling is growing in my relationship with God then being a wife and a mom and I want to make sure that those are the things I’m prioritizing. I want to serve my husband and my kids because these are the people that I have the longest-term relationship with. These are the people I’m influencing the most and I am the most responsible for. Other than that, another big area is caring for my household—it is not entirely separate; caring for this house is caring for my husband and my kids. I try not to make the list long. I try to major on the majors.
Flourish: How do you discern what God’s priorities are?
Kelley: There are not a lot of quiet moments in this stage of life—it’s busy—but I try to make time to hear God speak. So I try to make time I can spend with God, listen to his voice, and read his word. I do this about three times a year on a larger scale, and bit by bit in my devotional time on a smaller scale. Those times really help to keep my priorities in focus. I ask myself where I am spending my time and whether or not those are really the places I want to spend it.
Flourish: What are some ways that you find inspiration?
Kelley: Homemakers don’t get a lot of feedback and parenthood is not about instant gratification. I don’t have a review twice a year where my boss says, “You are doing a great job running the house! That laundry you folded was great. Thank you for making meals that are thoughtful and healthy and for being a wise steward of money.”
However, I try to remind myself of the great value of what I am doing. I know my husband appreciates it. My kids—maybe when they have their own kids—will appreciate all the work that goes into it. But feedback or no, I really feel strongly that this is the building of a home and that influencing these people for the Lord will reap dividends for generations in our family legacy, God willing. That is what motivates me.
Flourish: Imagine you are speaking to a new mom or dad who has decided to stay home and be with the kids. What would you say to that person about the glories of being a homemaker?
Kelley: You are able to give attention to people in your family. You never know when great life conversations are going to happen and the great thing about being there is when those things happen you can speak into them, shape them, and correct them if need be.
I have the time to manage my house instead being managed by my house. I can operate out of my values whether that is taking steps to think about how much trash we produce, what food we buy, or how we can slow down as a family and spend quality time together.
Because one of us is home our family can prepare for our schedule a little bit better. I don’t have to be a slave of convenience because I’m not always in a hurry. It also gives me time to pass those values down to the kids as they see those values in the life of our family.
Flourish: How do you try to raise your kids to be Christians? What things do you do to cultivate their faith?
Kelley: We take our job of being the primary spiritual leaders of our children seriously. We try to spend some time reading the Bible every day. We have family worship time. We usually pray together and read from a children’s Bible before bed. That’s a staple in our house. If I had to pick the most important thing we do to try to cultivate our kid’s faith that would be it. As we read together we model for our children that God’s word is important. Church is also a priority and our kids know that it is a non-negotiable to spend time worshipping with other people on a weekly basis.
We try to bring God into everyday life. When we talk about things we try to make sure that our conversation is shaped by a biblical worldview. Ella, my second child, is my little science girl, so when we are outside we talk about all the neat things that God has made. Yesterday she fell and hurt her knee and after she calmed down I could explain to her that God has made her body in an amazing way that it is able to heal itself. When other things break they don’t get fixed, but God made her body with the ability to heal itself. We try to weave biblical truth into the things we’re doing.
Another thing we try to do is serve other people together. Kids don’t have to wait until they are older to participate in serving others. If I am making a meal for someone who just had a baby or is sick I include them in the process and explain to them that the cornerstone of our lives is to love God and love others and serving is an expression of that.
Flourish: What does creation care mean to you? What inspires you to take care of God’s creation?
Kelley: God loves what he has created. The intricacies and the uniqueness of the world shows me that he cares for it. He could have made a world that was monochromatic and boring but he didn’t. God made Adam and Eve and gave them a job to be stewards of the things the Lord has made. Part of being human means to take care of creation.
God is redeeming all things. He’s not just redeeming people—although he is certainly doing that—he is redeeming all of creation. All the things that have become fallen and subjected to frustration will be made beautiful again. Part of my role is being a part of the process of maintaining the beauty or reinstating that beauty.
Flourish: What about the how-to part?
Kelley: My caveat here is about priorities. Taking steps to care for creation can be overwhelming for a lot of busy parents. Its important to remember that you can’t care forall of creation. I try to take baby steps for now with the hope of growing into more in the future.
We try to be conscious of how much trash we produce. I try not to buy a lot of individually packaged things. We recycle. We try not to be “stuff-driven.” I don’t think material things satisfy in the end though it is fine to have things and enjoy them. We try to be conscious of how much stuff we are buying and try to do a lot of garage sales to sell our older things and not simply throw them in the trash. A few years ago we started learning about the food system and since then we’ve tried to cut down on eating processed foods and eat more locally and seasonally when we can. Sometimes it is just means conserving water by not using the laundry machine unless it is a full load.
I feel like if everybody did a few small things like this there would be a major impact. Everybody can do something.
Read the article in its original context here.