You're up to your ears in laundry and you didn't sleep last night because your toddler had an ear ache. The dishes are piling up and you ran out of dishwasher soap. The dog won't stay away from the chickens and you really don't have time to doctor the sick kitten.
But you long for something more. You feel called to ministry, yet you know you can't fit another thing on your plate. The desire won't go away and you long to feel like you're making a difference in the Kingdom.
You sigh as you cook another meal and think "someday. This season of motherhood isn't made for ministry anyway. God's going to pass me over until the kids are grown and flown."
And, in some ways, you're right. Raising your kids is your most important ministry at the moment. But that doesn't mean you need to lay your other gifts and passions aside. Neither does it mean you need to get a nanny so you can go into full-time ministry.
First, let's talk about what ministry is.
Close your eyes and zoom out a little. What does ministry look like to you? Working full time in Kid's church? Leading weekly Bible Studies? Working at the local pregnancy care center? Going to school for counseling and starting your own "thing?"
These are all ministries, but mama, they are very likely not your ministry.
Ministry, very simply put, is serving those around you. Another way to look at it is "wearing God's heart on your sleeve," and making yourself available. This may seem like a very broad term, but we're going to make it more personal.
God's heart is endless, and covers every area of ministry in the world. He has a heart for the orphan, the widow, the abused, the lonely, the forsaken, His creation, the sinners, the poor, the Pastors, the busy moms, and the broken-hearted. I could not create an exhaustive list of the things that God carries in His heart, because He loves this broken old world so much.
Now, take a moment to think: Which one of these things (or an unlisted one) has God given you a passion for? Does your heart beat for adoption or women in crisis? Do you love to spend time with kids? Maybe community is something your passionate about. These desires and passions are all from the heart of God, placed in you for a purpose. Embrace the thing that stirs your heart, because this is most likely what God has called for you to do.
Now, think practically for a moment. God doesn't give us desires without a gift to match. What gifts do you have that you could make available for God to use?
If you have a heart for children, can you adopt or foster? If not, can you support a family that has done so? Maybe you could organize fund-raisers or provide respite care for foster families. Maybe you could volunteer at your church's kid's ministry once a week or month. Maybe you could write a kid's book.
Is community the thing God has put on your heart? How can you foster it from your own home? If you have a love for hospitality, set one night a week to host a different family. If you want to see the moms in your friend group find community, consider planning a mommy & me craft day, or simply have some mom friends over to chat over coffee. You can ask them to help with snacks, if it's overwhelming. Or you could plan a monthly mom's night out.
A dear friend of mine is a wonderful example of ministering to others while homeschooling her others. She is the first to offer to babysit, bring a meal over, or offer words of encouragement to others. She may not think of what she does as ministry, but she has encouraged and spoke to my heart over and over again.
The thing is, your ministry as a mom is important. But so are the passions and ministries God has placed on your heart. He may not be asking you to wait for your parenting season to close before calling you to minister to others in some way.
If your heart is stirred to serve others in, take some time to think and pray about the specific passions God has placed on your heart. Learn to recognize the gifts He's given you to fill that particular ministry. And begin to make simple plans to start walking it out. You do not need to plan a daily, or even weekly ministry. Walk out the passion Christ has placed in your heart and make yourself available. Ministry will almost certainly find you (with maybe a little planning).
Remember to keep your ministry priorities straight:
"Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." (Colossians 2:3-5 NLT)
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