The Dawkinses devoted to family and spiritual strengthening – Part 2
Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Last week, we met the dynamic couple Eileen and Jeffrey Dawkins and found out how they have used their own lives to inspire others.
It is not an easy feat merging personalities and meeting on common ground in any relationship, but Eileen says intentionality and transparency work every time.
“Being actively involved in ministry, and being full-time parents and professionals is not easy. Creating this balance did not come overnight, but it has always been pertinent that each of us carry our weight. Jeffrey and I are a team. We know our individual responsibilities, and at no time d we bail out on each other. There have been times when we have had to cover for each other, but open and clear communication has always made this possible. One of the greatest obstacles in marital growth is poor communication. Jeffrey and I always communicate and communicate clear on all angles.”
Jeffrey has been a secondary-education teacher for 15 years, an active coordinator for specific school programmes, and currently, the pastor of the Headquarters of the Bethany Apostolic Fellowship Centre Ministries. He is the head of the music department; the director for the Bethany Apostolic Ministering Choir; and is also a lecturer at the Jamaica Apostolic Bible Institute (JABI) in May Pen, Clarendon.
Jeffrey was appointed a marriage officer of the island of Jamaica in 2009 and has presided over 385 weddings.
“I am a technical development officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information under the Career Advancement Programme for Region 1. I have direct supervision of 34 institutions in Region 1 currently participating in the programme. I am also the responsible officer for the BPO portfolio. Currently, I have shed many of the community sporting and cultural activities to give more support to my husband in his capacity as pastor. I take the lead in planning and executing annual church activities such as holy convocation, youth convention, and pastoral appreciation. I am also a member of the ministering choir and praise and worship team,” Eileen told Family & Religion.
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
A family of two with demanding schedules can be difficult, but imagine adding three children to the mix. Death under pressure? Not for this power couple.
“If at any point our professional responsibilities will take us away from home, this information is clearly communicated so that plans will be put in place, especially for the children. The financial responsibilities are handled by both of us, however, there are certain financial obligations that Jeffrey takes full responsibility for. In terms of home duties, we do not have a full-time helper, so I will get up earlier and prepare breakfast and get the children ready for school while Jeffrey takes them to and from school. Given that I work in Kingston, Jeffrey will keep them in the evenings until I get home. If he has an appointment, I will try and make it in early, or we ask Grandma to fill the gap. It is important to know that our system is workable because we meet each other’s expectations.”
Eileen said that her husband is as supportive of her as she is of him, and both do whatever is necessary to make it work for the family.
“During the years when Jeffrey was pursuing his graduate degree, I was integral to his successful completion, I assisted in his research, and I was chief editor for his papers. Now that I am on that path, Jeffrey is now my chief editor, and he provides financial stability. There are days when my assignments are backed up, and being the supportive person he is, he gets in the kitchen and cooks. He is even cleaning the house.”
The woman of the house says God is the glue that holds it all together.
“We believe in the power of Almighty God, and He is the foundation on which we have been able to build a solid marriage. I am cognizant that being submissive does not mean that I do not have a voice, but I must trust my husband’s ability to lead me into a successful and safe future.”
She added: “Trust in our marriage conveys the sincere assurance that both of us can rely on each other to preserve each other’s commitment. Developing a healthy relationship, friendship, and excitement for each other requires the energy to keep the bond growing. And this is what we have done. I still look my best for him; we still pray together; we still make decisions together; we go out on dates. When we have disagreements, we disagree respectfully, or we find a middle ground so that conflicts are resolved respectfully and peacefully.”