Motherhood and Ministry: Smart Sacrifice
Motherhood is a gift from God and you are it’s pastor. Stand firm in that. When you first become a mother to a newborn or an added newborn and are navigating what that looks like for you, your only ministry is to your baby, yourself and your family. Motherhood is a difficult, all-consuming ministry that takes a lot of practice before you find your pace. As soon as you find your pace - wrenches get thrown in regularly. When you are just trying to survive the day and find a rhythm that works for you and your family and someone asks you to be involved in a ministry at church, your heart immediately knows what your answer should be. That answer will be different at different seasons of motherhood and your job is to stay self-aware and in tune with the Holy Spirit-to make smart sacrifices. I believe being involved in church ministry should be on hold until you can find yourself being called from under the proverbial nursing cover. That will look different and be at different times for each individual mother. Saying no to outside ministry should not come with any guilt as you are already involved in ministry now as a mother. However, I also firmly believe that Christ uses women fiercely in the work of God in a deep and profound way. You are a part of that story and your involvement is essential to the kingdom of God (Luke 8:1-3). When God wants you to jump in, He will tell you. Here is how you can start when you hear that whisper: a) Know your passion. Before you ever get involved in ministry, Jesus has called you to something outside yourself and your family ministry. You know what that is. If not- pray about it. You as a woman, have God given gifts. Service, hospitality, counseling, decorating, baking, painting, teaching, leadership, organization, etc. Look for that dim or bright passion of yours and ask God how He can use you in that area. He gave you that passion for a definitive reason- to serve Him and His kingdom. b) Start slow. Sign up to bring a meal to a friend who had a baby. Volunteer in the church nursery one time only. Attend a moms night out. Man a table in the church lobby one time. Find a younger mother to gently mentor. Whatever your passion is, take one small step in that direction and see how it feels. Does it make you feel closer to God? Invigorate you? If not, re-evaluate. c) Stay in Tune. Be in constant communication with Jesus about your pace. Pray about an opportunity before you say yes or no. If you are going too fast you will drop all the plates you have spinning. If you can safely handle the opportunity, take it and ask for God’s grace in handling it. If you need to put down a plate or two for a time, do so. There are four boundary markers I use in determining where I am at as a whole person. I am constantly evaluating my spiritual and mental health and where I need work or growth. None of these things will ever be in perfect balance and you will constantly be working on one or more of them. Don't wait until it is perfect- but manageable. When I am not evaluating these things, I notice by feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and out of control. The question is, which one needs more attention today? 1) Self Care (Physical, mental, spiritual health and balance for myself. Am I taking care of myself?) 2) Wife/Mother (Is my relationship with my husband/kids balanced? Are they in healthy physical/mental/spiritual states?) 3) Others (Am I involved with my extended family? Am I in a good relationship my few close friends? Am I interwoven in community at church?) 4) Ministry (Am I doing the work God has called me to? Do I feel closer to God when I am participating?) All of these things above tie closely together. Being involved in church ministry has been life giving to me and contributed to my spiritual health. It helps me feel whole as a person knowing I am loving God and loving people. (Luke 10:27) It is sometimes a sacrifice but is always worth it. It also shows my children the importance of contributing to God’s kingdom and the value of smart sacrifice. Smart because it takes self-awareness and being in tune with Jesus to make wise decisions on how to be involved in ministry and when. He is calling you sister. He needs you. Be smart and listen to the where and the when from God not from your people pleasing self. From one momma wearing many hats to another.