I haven't taken the time to write for a long time, but today God has laid something on my heart that I pray will be an encouragement to other moms who go through the same struggles that I do.
Over the last couple of weeks, my husband and many friends have been busily preparing for the summer camp season, which started with staff training this week, and the first campers will arrive tomorrow morning. I have found a few opportunities to help out here and there, running to town to pick up supplies, browsing Youtube videos and skit scripts to pass along to the Chapel Team, and wiping tables while my kids play on the playground for a few minutes, but for the most part, my life has been very similar to always. I've been 'mom-ing'.
Towards the end of the week, watching everybody else give a hundred percent of their effort towards the work at the camp, while I played on the playground or at the beach with my kids, or read books to them on the couch, even one day needing to stay home from camp for a few hours because my kids were over-tired and needed to rest, I began to get discouraged. Even when the hectic summer season isn't going on around me, there are so many times when this voice of guilt speaks in my heart, saying, "Really, you're JUST a mom? You could be doing so much more for the ministry. Playing with your kids on the beach is a waste of time. You should be more. You should do more." I feel lazy, leaving the dirty dishes in the dish pit at camp for someone else to wash because my 22-month-old wants me to hold his hand on the slide.
But, throughout this weekend, God has been working in my heart, reminding me in so many different ways that, for me, right now, THIS is my calling. This IS ministry. The homemade playdough recipes, the diapers, the freezie pops, kisses for boo-boos, questions and conversations about everything on the planet (or in space)... I am busy with the ministry of raising the next generation of world-changers. My boo-boo kisses and diaper changes teach them about gently caring for others (whether they know it yet or not). I have opportunities every single day, in moments of discipline and in our daily conversations, to lead my children's hearts into a closer knowledge of the God we serve, and a deeper relationship with Him.
This morning, God brought to my mind my mother-in-law, and the way God has multiplied her mothering ministry. She raised three boys, my husband and his two brothers. Each of those boys now serve in a different ministry in three different states across the country, and she and her husband serve in their church as well. Each of these men are known in their churches and communities for their godly wisdom and selfless service in their ministries. FOUR states are now being impacted rather than just one, because of the years of faithful ministry by one mother. I know she had to balance ministry and motherhood. My husband talks about going along with her and helping her with various tasks at the church where his father was a pastor. I also know she dedicated her life to raising up godly men, and by God's grace, He has answered her prayers, and I know she is so grateful for His blessings. God has also blessed her with five grandchildren (so far), and as her boys pass on the godly character traits they have been surrounded with over the years, that, in turn, multiplies her influence even more widely.
So, if you, like me, are a mom who has struggled with your purpose in mothering, or if you're being told by someone else, (or even by your own occasional feelings of guilt) that being 'just' a mom is not enough, if the business of your mothering has brought you to a place where you've had to step back from other ministries, remember: Mothering is a ministry. It is the most important ministry we will ever, ever have, and no one else can take the place of a mother who is daily invested in drawing her children's hearts closer to God.
Can I pray for you? If this post touched your heart, and you need prayer and encouragement, leave me a comment - I would love to keep you in prayer!! Any suggestions or ideas on balancing motherhood and ministry would be welcomed as well! :)