Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Ministry of Motherhood

Just over 2.5 years ago, our family became new members at a church that was a 15 minute drive from home, as opposed to one that was an hour and 15 minute drive. This church was growing rapidly and it seemed that the volunteer opportunities were endless. Many of them sounded like things I would really be interested in doing. At the time, we had a 6 year old, a 1 year old, and a newborn. At the old church, while many of the volunteer opportunities seemed like a worthy cause, I never dwellt on them because logistically, the distance was just too much. Now, I could not use that as an "excuse" to put off volunteering. I began dreaming up scenarios that would allow me to volunteer. (If I could get a baby-sitter for 3 hours on this day...If Eric could just watch the kids for 2 hours twice a week...on and on.)

I was growing a little upset over this because none of the proposals I had come up with could feasibly work. I kept thinking to myself, "how am I supposed to fulfill my Christian obligation if I can't get out of my home to do it!" I was beginning to feel like a failure.

Then one day as I was listening to a local Christian radio station, a story really caught my attention. (I do not remember what show I heard this on, or who the speaker was, or if it was from a book. If anyone knows any more details on this, or where it originated from, please let me know. I would love to be able to give credit where credit is due.) The discussion on the show was about mothers and their role in the home and at church. One of the speakers told this story:

"One day a mother arrived in Heaven to a standing ovation. She was confused and said 'For me? I haven't done anything to deserve this.
The Lord spoke to her and said, 'You were the first point of contact for bringing 100's of people to me.'
'But how can that be? I never had time to teach Sunday school classes, or to volunteer in any of the church ministry programs. I was too busy raising my children.'
'Yes,' replied the Lord, 'but you loved those children and trained them properly and taught them the truth of my words. You taught them well, and they listened, and they came to me because of you. They went on to teach their friends and acquaintances about me, because of you. Many of those people came to me, because of you. If you hadn't done this, those souls might still be lost.' "

That was so convicting for me at the time and I just knew I had been wrong in my attitudes. God has the uncanny ability of putting us in the right place at the right time. I realized my home was my "volunteer opportunity" and my children were my ministry. This is where the Lord would have me so that I may be the first point of contact. When I teach my children why Jesus died on that cross for us, I am fulfilling my most important obligation of all.

I keep noticing many women who have come home to raise their children leaving it in droves so that they may "do their Christian duty." I was almost one of those women! Right now, my children need me; 100% of me. This is the season of life that I am in. Someday when my children are grown and on their own, I will have plenty of time to volunteer in as many church ministries as I want.

This is not to say that we should just shut ourselves in our homes. There will always be opportunities out there for us to minister to others, they may just require a little more creative thinking on our parts. We can hospitably open our homes to others in our church. We can talk on the phone or in person with a friend or acquaintance who needs Godly counsel. We can bake meals for those who just had a baby or are ill. All of those things are wonderful uses of our time, as long as they do not take away from our first duty as wives and mothers, and as long as we do them with our husbands' blessing. Personally, I reap the rewards on a daily basis from the countless Godly women who have chosen to minister in blog form!

The lasting realization I have had some 2.5 years after I first heard that story is that I do not need the acknowledgement of a church elder, or my name in the church program, thanking me for my countless hours of volunteer work. Rather, I aspire to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." (Prov 31:28-30)


Anonymous,  11:34 PM  

You are right and I think it is how the culture has been allowed to seep into the church once again. Motherhood is a ministry, one given by God. It is not to looked down on as not enough, it is a very high calling!

Teresa 12:26 AM  

((cheering)) Yes, well said!! How easy it is to forget this.

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