Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Ministry

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! :)  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kidlet Hilarity #16

I'm back! The kids have been so funny these last couple of months, I've just been so busy!! Sometimes I just don't even have a moment to write these things down before they go out of my head!  So here's what got recorded! :)  

Nat is convinced that she is going to turn into a boy, or used to be a boy.

Natalie: Ladies and gentlemens...here are some papers. That's the rule.

Z: Mom, what do they call a place where people's bodies lay after they die? Is it a secretary?

Nat: My watermelon has a lot of juice in it. That's why its called watermelon!

Z: If i grow up to be a person in a band, I would only sing songs that honor God. Is that what God wants? 

Z: Once I got some seeds, and they were volcano seeds, but they were non-house-lava-ing volcano seeds.  So I threw them back into the field behind our house, and a volcano grew and lava-d in our yard.  But the lava didn't burn out house, since they were non-house-lava-ing volcano seeds.

Nat, when done eating Froot Loops for breakfast: I'll save my loops for later.

When we were on vacation, Davey would NOT fall asleep in the car.  It was late, he was exhausted, and he was just crying and crying.  Finally, my husband put his hand back and held Davey's little hand.  David literally instantly laid his head down and fell asleep.  It was so sweet!!

A friend came and  fancied up my hair for my sister's wedding, and when Z saw me with my hair so done up, his response was, "What is up with your hair??" Always honest, I guess! :) 

In the middle of the best man's speech at my sister's reception, during a pause in quiet room, Z also blurted out, "Mom, what is he talking about?"  

When we were leaving our resort in Tennessee one day, where we stayed in a four-level log cabin with Joel's extended family, Z asked what the 'Welcome Center' was for.  We told him it was a place to go if you had questions about your cabin.  Z responded, "I have a question. Why does our cabin have so many stairs?"

When we were getting ready to pack up, I still needed to rearrange some things in our suitcases before Joel lugged them up the aforementioned stairs, so I asked Z to go wake up his Daddy, and tell him not to bring the suitcases up, because I was going to do something with them.  Z said, "Okay, I will tell him, 'Your wife is going to do something with the suitcases.'" Lol!

Natalie and Z both said several times during and since vacation, "Silas is the cutest baby in all the world." :)

Davey had such a fun time with his cousin Reed, who is only a month older than him! They loved to shout NO! together, and get into all kinds of little mischief. :)  

Z:  I just saw a Japanese restaurant.  Or at least I think so, because it was called Little Tokyo, and Tokyo is the capital of Japan.  Apparently he learned this on Disney Junior! :) 

Z, after reading a library book on the body: Your skin has five layers! They're all different colors. One is purple.

Nat was trying to say Hersheys one day, and said, "Yoshis" instead. :)

Z has started being embarrassed for the first time this month!  First, he said he was embarrassed to wear his jammies to the library (but it was a jammie picnic, so everyone was wearing jammies), and then when I gave him a pink cup because his was dirty, he said he was embarrassed to drink out of a girl cup!  

Zachary made up a song called Jesus, You're the Best.  The lyrics go, "God, you're in my heart.  God, you're in my soul.  I don't love anything more than I love you."  I got a video of him singing it, and I will have to try to upload it soon! :)  

Nat made up a song called Only if You Obey, about when you get a treat. :)

When my parents were visiting, Z heard my dad say he was going to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  At the time, Z was swinging on the bull swing, so he asked, "You're eating a bull of cereal?"  My dad responded, "No, that would be silly.  You have to think about the context."  To which Z said, "Context?  Context is what you put in your eyes when you can't see!"  :)

David has LOTS of new words!! He says "butt" for button, which totally cracks me up, and wah for rock.  He says MOO for cow (LOUDLY, in the milk aisle and anywhere else he might happen to see a cow!).  He also counts 'two, two, two, two, two'.  Two is the only number that matters, right? :)  He has said, 'blah' for please a couple of times, but mostly he just flaps his  hands around insistently when he wants something.  Sometimes he even does a little 'wanting 'dance, which is so, so funny. :)  

While we were driving somewhere, Z announced that he had come up with a logo for a new company.  The company is a restaurant called Wing World, and the logo is a world, but the continents are chicken wings! :)  He is just so creative! :)

Another latest 'invention' of his is the Grass Chopper mower - it looks like a grasshopper, and has a mouth that opens and closes, chomping/mowing the grass.  Look for it in a store near you! :)

One day during Bible time, we were talking about how we can ask God for help, and Nat gave this example: "Yeah, like when I don't know how spell my letters, I can say, 'God, help! Help! I don't know how spell my letters!" :)

My grandma sent a handwritten note in the mail, and when Z took a look at it, he said to me, "Mom, will you read this to me?  I don't know how to read this font."

I hope to post Z's stories and book reports from the 2nd half of the school year soon, as well as our curriculum plans for the fall, and a wrap-up post of what we did for school this year, if anyone's interested! :)  Hope everyone is having a great summer! :)