The night started a little hectic. I had it in my head I was going to this church prayer and information night about a ministry I am interested in, but everything seemed to step in the way. My husband couldn’t watch the kids because he had to work, I had to get a babysitter for my very anxious children, drive 35 minutes in rush hour traffic just to sit in a chair and feel confused.
I wanted so badly to feel called to the mission of ministering to a certain broken and vulnerable people in my community, but it all felt wrong. As I sat there listening, I was so in awe and thankful for those already serving, but it didn’t feel like it was where I was supposed to be.
Still, I was determined to make it work because I love Jesus and wouldn’t he want me to say yes??
Checking my phone for the time, I rushed to the back of the room to talk to a lady about the ministry opportunity starting with, “I have to get home to my babies right now and relieve the sitter, but I’d love to learn more about this ministry sometime!”
Thinking she was going to give me a phone number or email, I felt my brow furrow and my words stop when she said, “I usually tell young moms this is just not the ministry for you.”
My first reaction was, I admit… all wrong.
In my head I was thinking, Aren’t you the lady that just stood up there asking for people to get out of their comfort zone and start getting our hands dirty for Jesus?? And a bitter thought came into my mind, I am more than a mother, you know, I have things I can contribute to society other than the ABC’s and preschool snack!
Then she hit me with…
“I tell young moms to go home and spend their time with their babies.”
While my mind was still processing that I was being turned down for a volunteer position, she went on to say that this particular ministry is a really demanding field and little kids need a lot from their mothers and demand much of your time, so I wouldn’t be able to give the ministry all that it needed.
So I left, confused and disappointed. And as crazy as it sounds, feeling like I was incapable of serving God.
On my drive home I thought about her words. Did I really just get turned down by a church lady?? Can I not be anything other than a mom right now?? But I want to do the work of God! I want to tell people about Jesus! Why did it all feel so wrong??
I got home to the hustle and bustle of paying the baby sitter, brushing my three kids’ teeth, putting their jammies on, getting their milk, tucking them in multiple times because they won’t stay in their beds…all alone because my husband was working.
And it dawned on me. The church lady was right. Dang it.
Mothers. It’s so good to be passionate about a variety of things and go where Jesus prompts us to serve. But I want to speak some freeing words to us…
We are also allowed to feel like we are not called to something right now.
This doesn’t mean to ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life. It means the opposite. Listen to him and listen to wise people. As hard as it is. And give your mothering life some grace and pride.
Looking back, I think God is planting a seed of willingness for my future in that ministry. Or maybe he has a completely different plan for me to serve and bring him glory. Either way, the church lady helped change my perspective about what serving God looks like on a daily basis.
It could mean being light in your neighborhood, drinking tea with someone who needs love, could be giving of your things or time to those you see struggling, making meals for sick friends, calling someone who needs a friend— just being present in the lives of others in order to build them up in the love of God.
The point is…he can use us as long as we are willing to say yes to anything he puts on our hearts or say no to things that just don’t fit right.
Now, in the trenches of raising little humans, this is our mission field that only we can do for our families. And the only way to do it well is to be here. Be here for the tuck ins and the teeth brushing. Be here for the snack serving and valentine box making. Be here for the story reading and the diaper changing. Be here loving and encouraging our little people in every moment. Be here knowing that this is God’s work, too. Raising little disciples who will also do God’s work.
So although it was a little bit of a hard pill for me to swallow that my mission field is somewhat confined in these young mothering years, I am determined to do my little part well. I want to be a light in my house, in my neighborhood, at my job, in my family, in my community, in my writing, and to all those I meet. And someday, maybe God will call me to something more.
But for now, I thank the church lady for turning me down and helping me feel good about serving God in my home with my people.