“You know, right now your kids need you. Your ministry is your children. You should focus on only that and let someone else _____ (fill in the blank).” –said by more people to me than I care to admit.
I feel like the skinny pants in a fat pants drawer, or probably more like the fat pants in a skinny pants drawer. I’m the lincoln log in the legos bin. Sometimes, I wish I could be the right “thing”, but most often I’m just plainly the wrong one.
I have a tremendous burden for those in poverty. I can’t help it. It’s like somehow God weaved that into my d.n.a. (Okay there is a lot of reason for this-mainly my parents), but it’s like I can’t go on living a normal life. I just can’t. It’d be much easier to be normal–to let someone else.
So, when people tell me my ministry is to my children….here is what I want to say (but, I can never find the words):
Please hear this…my ministry IS first my family. I am with them 99.9% of the time. I’m probably with them more than should be allowed. But, my ministry can’t stop there….let me explain:
They are taught important things. Oren can tell you a lot of important (and unimportant) things. Lately he’s been interested in mammals, and he can tell you what qualifies as a mammal. He can tell you that Darth Vader saved Luke Skywalker out of love and that love always conquers evil.
He also can tell you all about how God sent a rescuer. He can share with you that Jesus loves our hearts beyond what we will ever know and that sin creeps in and hurts our hearts. He will tell you that sin makes Jesus sad, but He will always love that hurt heart. But, that he wants us to make us have whole healthy hearts and that he died out of love and that love always conquers evil.
Addie can point to the Christmas manger and tell you, “It’s God” (she’ll also point to Santa Claus and say “it’s god”…and she might be right he is an idol to some. I didn’t teach her that…she’s just really that theologically gifted).
Cadie can tell you about flowers, and pretties (I think she might become a jeweler one day), and will sing to you the most beautiful lines of gibberish.
Judah can say, “milk” “all gone” and “more” in sign language. He now officially says, “hi” so at least were winning on the social skills front.
To me a “mom” ministry is so much more than buttering bread and making sure they don’t have too much sugar. Or that Oren receives no gluten, wheat, soy, corn, tomatoes, beans, peas, kiwi, oranges, etc, etc, etc…and that we’re a nut-free house (pun intended) .
It’s more than making them responsible or to use their manners (Don’t be concerned-we’ve had some serious talks about farting lately).
It’s more than having a clean house, which I’ve already decided is impossible with four kids.
It’s a much bigger ministry that just “being a good mom”to my kids–its serving others because of them.
It’s showing them that life with Jesus isn’t just something we talk about at our dinner table or at church on Sunday.
It’s about modeling my relationship with Christ through my life, the whole thing, and not just my role as a caregiver to these babies. Someday these babies will need to know what service for the Kingdom looks like and that learning starts now NOT eventually when it’s MORE convenient.
When we go to the Safeway down the street, and Oren sees a homeless man begging for money and he exclaims, “Hey are you without a home?” (Insert my embarrassment here) and the man yells back, “Yes!”
Oren gleefully responds, “Hey don’t worry, my mom ALWAYS helps people without a home. She loves to do that for Jesus.”
I have to match my words with my actions.
It’s showing my children how to love people and I can’t tell them this—I HAVE to show them.
It’s showing them that the man who looks, smells, and speaks differently than us is worthy of receiving open armed kindness for Jesus sake.
I have to care about the food going bad in our fridge because just across the street their neighborhood friends are going hungry. My “caring” has to be moved into inviting those kids and their parents to sit at my table. I have to for Jesus sake.
I cannot ignore it. It’s not just a part of me, it’s a part of my faith.
And, if the man I so openly discuss with them, lived a life in service to the “least of these” then I will too, for His name’s sake, and also for my little babies sake.
I’m doing it for my kids-that I hope will embrace a similar life, dedicated to serving Jesus through ministering to others.
I’m doing it because I need to: for me, for them, for my church, for the kids next door, for the man at Safeway.
Isn’t that supposed to be normal?
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22: 37-40 (The Msg).