"The 3 Ms": Master, Mate and Mission as the Key to Priorities for Family Strength

This admirable guest blog post comes from the experience of 2L Regent Law student Jessica Sherman-Stoltz:

In the Fall of 2012 I was in the middle of my first semester of law school.  I was already having a very hard time adjusting to the demands of law school and balancing the needs and demands of my family.  I am a proud military wife and at the time was a busy Mom to four very active boys (soon to be five boys).  My family, my husband in particular, sacrificed much in order to see me fulfill my calling as an attorney.  I felt so much self-induced pressure to do well in law school and not let anyone down.  I felt I needed to prove to all the naysayers that I could do well at law school and balance my home life.  

I was beginning to slip in the area of keeping my family, and my Lord, a priority.  School was quickly taking priority over everything.  I didn't do very well in the midterms that I had my first semester, so I determined that it must be because I wasn't doing enough and that I needed to work even harder at school, thus neglecting my family and my faith even more.  My husband was having to take on an extreme amount of responsibility at home, while already working two jobs, and my one year old didn't want much to do with me at all because I barely had any interaction with him.

One class day, in Christian Foundations of Law, we had a substitute professor, Professor Tessa Dysart.  She gave an amazing devotional on Master, Mate and Mission that I really needed to hear.  She told our class that she had heard the devotion from Professor Lynne Marie Kohm and felt it was important to pass it along to us 1L students.  Boy was she right.  The premise behind Master, Mate and Mission is through everything that we do (and at the present time it was law school for me) to keep our priorities in line with our Master (God) first, Mate (and family) second, and Mission (law school) third.  I began to realize as Professor Dysart was talking  that nothing was going to go well for me in law school if I kept my priorities as they were currently.  I had done the one thing I said that I wasn't going to do, I lost sight of the priority of my Master, who had brought me this far, and my beloved husband and kids, who were still cheering me on.

I determined from that day forward, with God's help and guidance, that I would not let my priorities slip again, even if that meant that I wasn't going to be top of my law school class (which I am far from).  It's not easy, it takes daily perseverance and the grace of God.  I determined that with the Lord's help, and accountability from my husband, that my number one priority would be my Maker, then my husband and sons, then my law school calling.  That would be the only way that I would make it through law school the right way, with my faith and my family intact.  

It's not easy.  The temptation is very strong to burry myself at the library or in my room at any given time, or to overcommit myself to law school activities and functions. There is a strong pull that one should be involved in a certain number of extracurricular activities, in order to make a resume look better, or be more liked and in the "in" crowd. All those activities are wonderful, and great for some to be involved in, but for myself, with high demands at home, they would just take me away from my family even more.  For me, it would require missing my time with the Lord, my kids sporting events, not rocking my little guy before bed at night, or to skipping my date nights with my husband.  

I have begun to realize that without my Master and my family, I have no mission.  My Lord gave me my mission, and my family drives me forward to that goal, and without them, there is nothing.  Every so often, my husband will gently remind me, "remember your 3 M's."  That helps get me back on track.  With the Lord's help, I will graduate from law school in May of 2015, my family will be stronger than ever, and the Lord will use me for His glory as his vessel in our country's criminal justice system. 


  1. Jessica--so glad to hear that this devotion blessed you!

    1. Best devotion for me thus far. Thank you Professor Dysart. :)