Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Ministry of Motherhood

As a Christian wanting to do the Lord's work, make an eternal impact, see unbelievers come to Christ and abundant living, I have been struggling with what real ministry looks like for, ohh, the whole year so far. Back in January, life dealt me a miscarriage. I wanted it to matter so badly, to become a turning point in my life, I suppose. Not just be "wasted" pain. I was also getting into a study by Beth Moore on the book of James, which is wholly about making this Christian life work. How to live right, how to love others, how to demonstrate this faith. By doing! Beth made a point in her discussions that the Lord will oftentimes lead us to minister where our hearts already.are.!! That ministry isn't a big drag, and we have to go kicking and screaming off to a foreign land. Not that he doesn't sometimes call us to things we may not initially be excited about, but that many times he lets us make a difference where our hearts already thrive.

So in this new found understanding of having faith-THAT-works, coupled with a need for distraction, coupled with (can you couple three things??) a desire to be in the Lord's will, even when it included pain, I began earnestly searching for WHERE GOD WOULD HAVE ME MINISTER! (Not yelling. More like a dah-da-da-dahhhhh! moment.) What do I already have a heart for? What am I interested in? Where is a great need that I can help fill? Where is my heart???!?

Fast forward several months, and I'm pregnant again, chasing 2 precious babies around, still working part-time, and now I have found a place to minister that is SO where my heart is, where a great work of the Lord is being performed, but it's just not working. Then I really start having some serious conversations with the Lord. (And am now studying the book of Nehemiah. Talk about learning power and persistence in prayer.) Did I mention having some serious conversations w/ the Lord back in the spring? Oh, no? Oh maybe that's b/c I did some drive-through prayers about the whole business. After all, I knew my faith should be working, and I knew a great starting place was where my heart already was, and I knew this ministry was making an impact in people's lives for the Lord! Check, check, check...right? Wrong. I had muuuuuch to learn about waiting on the Lord. Muuuuuuuuch. So now when what seems to be right is going all wrong, I finally stepped back and re-evaluated the whole thing. Many of the same questions, but asking then waiting on the Lord to answer them, not filling in the blank for myself.

Again, I'm asking, where is my heart? What am I interested in? Where is a great need? But I'm praying these questions now. Seems silly to not be able to answer your own question about what's in your own heart, huh? "Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?" Ps. 43:21 In the midst of, where IS my ministry, I'm also realizing that where I am is NOT my ministry. And I'm feeling like I just need to be at home, with the kids, fully present. For some reason, that doesn't sit too well with me. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom, and look forward to the day when I can be SAH full time. But I just kept feeling like that's sort of a cop-out when it comes to ministry. "I'm busy w/ the kids. I have too much to do at home. I can't help w/ your such-and-such project right now." I felt like I couldn't just put faith-that-works on hold while I get these kids grown up.

So as I'm continuing my serious prayer about my ministry, whatever that was to look like, I also picked a few friends' brain on the matter, and brought it up not just a few times w/ the darling hubs. I must admit here that even as I was learning to pray and wait, my prayers still went something like this: "This is a good ministry, right Lord?? Can't I make this work? Well, maybe not soooo much time, maybe just every now and then? But this is a good thing!" My wait-on-the-Lord still looked a lot like convince-the-Lord. But through wise counsel and the living and active Scripture, he was giving me a new revelation of what ministry looks like, and the fact that your ministry will not look like mine, which will not look like hers.

The biggest aha! moment for me came when Blaine and I were having (another...) heart-to-heart about my strong desire to be doing the Lord's will, to be making disciples, and how all that would look. It also happened to be late afternoon, so the kids are bouncing off the walls, I'm trying to get supper on the table, etc. You know the drill: Momma, I need a drink. How do you ask? He pushed me! Go play, honey. Babe, Momma's talking w/ Daddy, you need to wait. I'm earnestly telling Blaine "James says pure religion is helping the widows and orphans! We're called to take care of needy people and those that don't know Jesus!" And suddenly, the Spirit opened my eyes. THESE clamoring, climbing little people are NEEDY! And guess what else?!? They don't know Jesus!! Peace washed over me at that instant, and still does every time I think of that revelation. Here was my ministry. Mothering is not a cop-out. It's the purest ministry there is! Meeting physical needs, building a relationship in order to tell them about Jesus!

We're always looking for ways to get our foot in the door, so to speak, in order to share the gospel. How about washing little feet and faces and bodies, while telling them how God created us? Why not use those moments of needed discipline to teach about how we're all sinners? What about "Play with me Momma, read to me Momma, entertain me Momma" to tell Bible stories and sing hymns rich in theology? How about teaching love for others w/ a playdate, and stewardship of our things by cleaning up? Ohhh the multitude of ministry opportunities, when I asked the Spirit to open my eyes to them.

Don't get me wrong. It's a daily, or momentary struggle to not get lost in the "make breakfast, clean breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, another meal???" shuffle. But when I'm able to change my perspective from "get these tasks done" to "love these needy people" THAT'S ministry. To use a quote that Kelly Minter has in her "Nehemiah" study: "This is good work, and it will only last for a season. That doesn't mean that I close my eyes to the rest of the world; it just means that I need to take this work of raising a family as a serious calling and be faithful in that." That's the ministry of motherhood.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. I am sure people think it is crazy for me to stay at home full time while my hubs is in school full time (read serious lack of income), but this is where we KNOW I am supposed to be. We make 'sacrifices' to ensure that we know (as much as we can know) what is being put into our kids minds and some point in their lives, we don't quite have that luxury. Hopefully they take to heart all that we are pouring into to them.