Sweet Gabby and I in Guatemala
For most of my life I've wanted to be in full-time ministry. It's in my genes, and there's something so life-giving about getting to serve people and see them blossom in their relationship with the Lord. So when I joined Youth With A Mission in 2008, I felt like I'd found my groove. I began to recognize my spiritual gifts, I was pushed to try new things, and I loved being a part of what God was doing in the lives of those around me. I felt pretty confident in who I was and what I had to offer, in terms of ministry.
Throw in one sweet baby, and the confidence I had in my calling was hanging on by a thread.
I became a mom in December 2011. I assumed my role as a (mostly) stay-at-home-mom, which was a big change from full-time, all-day-long ministry. Motherhood felt natural and I loved getting to spend my days with my new baby.
But there was also part of me that felt lost. Changing diapers was a lot different than watching the Lord transform the lives of my students. There was no one there (besides my incredible husband) to notice the sacrifices I was making. My pride was hurt. I wanted other people to see that I still had something to offer, though I was questioning if I did have anything to offer.
Was I doing "enough?" Could I still serve Jesus while being a present wife and mother?
My son is now 8.5 months old, and though I don't have it all figured out, the Lord has given me a little perspective about motherhood and ministry. He's begun to show the immense privilege that parenthood is.
Kids are future world-changers, God-lovers, and people-servers, who we get to pour into daily. By being available to serve my family, I get to affect what God can and will do in my kid's generation. That is so exciting!
The Lord has also showed me that my calling to serve and love people hasn't changed - but maybe how I do that has changed.
Sometimes it takes strapping my son into a stroller and occupying him with snacks so that I can join a prayer meeting. Other days it might mean having people over for a meal, although I might spend most of the time with banana stuck to my face. And still, there are times when staying at home is what's best. I believe that the Lord will give parents the wisdom to know when to involve their kids, and when they just need to be at home with the family. I also know that kids open doors to the hardest of hearts. I've gotten into quite a few conversations with total strangers, just because they saw me out and about with Nicholas.
You might be up to your elbows in diapers, Sesame Street, and dirty dishes. But God wants to use you.
More than that - He can use you. The way you minister might change for a season, and that's ok. But when you desire to serve God and serve others, God is faithful. He wants to use your kids, and He wants to use you.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. I love hearing wisdom from other women! Ladies without hubbies or kids yet, do you think about this at all? And to other mamas - where do you feel you fit in, in terms of ministry?
I'll be back tomorrow with a few more thoughts - and what I'm really wrestling through right now. Thanks for listening!