“I got lost in my serving and I liked it. It was way more fun than folding laundry or scrubbing toilets or preparing yet another meal for someone to leave untouched,” she says. Eventually she realized she had her priorities out of order. As she looked around her messy house and considered how much time she was handing the kids over to her husband or plopping them down in front of the TV so she could work, she realized something had to change. When her son was scheduled to have surgery to repair a minor birth defect, Russell resigned from her volunteer roles at Mission.
“It felt like saying goodbye at Mariners all over again,” she says. “I cried and cried.” Russell determined to invest her energy into serving her family, but eventually the longing for more crept back into her mind.
After attending Belong Tour event in the fall of 2016, she realized it was time to adjust her lifestyle to focus more on her volunteer work at church, rekindle other passions and chase what she considers her God-given dreams.
“[On the tour], Jen Hatmaker asked us powerful questions and challenged us to have a purpose statement. I immediately felt that mine was to write, speak and lead women toward Christ,” she says. “But I knew that jumping back into things had to be done in a way that honored my family.”
When she returned home, she sat down with her husband to talk about how they could adjust their family rhythms to allow her to engage in more of the work she felt called to do. Their daughter was in elementary school by this time, so the couple decided to enroll their son in preschool a few mornings a week. Combined with childcare help from her parents, these changes gave Russell the capacity to begin a blog, take on freelance writing and begin to speak at mom’s groups in southern California. She increased her involvement and leadership at church as well but was more intentional about what she committed to, prioritizing her family’s needs.
The workshop she shares with mothers groups is called “So Long, Survival: Going from Barely Surviving to Living with Purpose.”
“[The curriculum] encourages women to ask themselves to identify their God-given skills and passion,” says Russell. “I try to encourage and inspire them to get back in touch with those things.”
In June, Russell spoke at the More Than Mom Summit and plans to continue sharing her message that women can—and should—continue pursuing their dreams as they parent.
“We will be better moms and wives if we’re fulfilled and satisfied,” she says.