“My hands are already full taking care of my toddlers. I could never take on a ministry right now.”
“I used to be super involved in visitation and other ministries, but now I’m just a stay-at-home mom.”
“I can’t wait until my kids are older so that I can be more involved in the church.”
Have you ever heard a young mother make any of these comments? Have you ever heard these words come out of your own mouth? I often hear mothers of young children express feelings of being handicapped in their service to the Lord because they now have children to care for. Yes, after caring for your husband, your children are and should be top priority. As mothers, our primary mission is to evangelize and then disciple the little heathens God places in our charge. However, how will we raise servants of God if they do not see us serving? How will they learn to sacrifice for others if all we ever do is sacrifice for them all day? There are many creative ways you can teach your children to love and serve others while still maintaining your priorities in their proper order.
When our first two were little, any excursion out of the house was a welcome treat for this young mother. We enjoyed spending time with an elderly widow lady, keeping her company on shopping trips and helping her pull weeds in her garden. It was a mutual blessing the times when our car was out of commission and she needed someone to drive for her! During the week, our little ones had a ball playing in the nursery while I cleaned the church. Teaching VBS, children’s church, or youth Sunday School with a baby in my arms was not an uncommon sight. My toddlers “helped” me make Christmas cookies for our neighbors, doctors, and the local fire fighters. My husband and I pushed the double stroller while going on weekly door-to-door visitation. All these things were just a natural part of our family life.
Nevertheless, when our third child was born, it complicated things a bit. For some reason, God did not choose to give me a third arm when He gave me a third child! With a three year-old, a just-turned-two year-old, and a newborn, I found it difficult to go anywhere without some kind of incident. So, I asked the Lord what I could do. He showed me that if I can’t go minister, then why not bring the ministry to my home? “Be not forgetful [do not neglect] to entertain strangers…” (Heb. 13:2). From then on, our front door became a revolving one. With the help and support of my husband, we had all kinds of people over at least once a week. We served them on everything from Dixie paper plates to our finest China, whether we were living in temporary housing with barely any furniture or a tiny duplex. My reward was not just an opportunity to serve, but to get to carry on a conversation with other adults!
Eight years later, I find myself in a different season of motherhood. This season does not involve scheduling my days around naptimes, feeding times, and diaper changes, but rather homeschooling, piano lessons, art class, and soccer games. With this new season, are new opportunities. We still invite people over quite often, but I can also take advantage of other moments. During soccer games, we mingle with the parents and work on building relationships. We take every opportunity to witness to the kids’ piano teacher. During art class, I go with one of the other mom’s to a nearby coffee shop and we do a Bible study together. The other day, art class was cancelled, so our kids had a “play date” while we studied the Bible at the kitchen table. Believe it or not, even with seven children from age 12 to age 2 running through the kitchen every other minute, we had a sweet time of fellowship around God’s Word.
Despite what it may look like on paper, I’m no Supermom. I’m just an ordinary person who happens to love God and love my children.
“…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Our mandate is to preach the Gospel to every creature, whether great or small, young or old. So, whatever stage of life you find yourself in right now, I encourage you to prayerfully create opportunities for service. Don’t look for excuses not to become engaged in others’ lives; look for excuses to show you care!
This article was later published in the FBFI’s Frontline magazine and their website – http://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2012/03/26/raising-servants-of-god/
P. S. Here’s a post I came across that gives practical ideas for a mom with young children to minister to others – http://www.raisinggodlychildren.org/2011/11/top-ten-ways-moms-and-young-children.html