The ministry of motherhood

When I was single without kids I was very active in church. I went on multiple short term mission trips. I opened the church every morning for prayer. I spoke at youth services. I prayed for people in the altar. I led the College and Career Bible Studies on Wednesday night. Then I got married and had two children 17 months apart. And I spent more time in the nursery than in the sanctuary.

This was a difficult transition for me. I wondered many times if I was doing anything for God. I was busy during church trying to make sure my children didn't make too much noise. I was taking them into the nursery to change their diaper and feed them. I was standing in the foyer attempting to listen to the sermon with a young child who was tired of sitting still.  We sing songs like "If you can use anyone you can use me" and "I give myself away so you can use me" and as a mother with two young children I wondered often how God could use me.

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Motherhood doesn't offer a lot of applause or recognition. It is often thankless. We sit and hear sermons about allowing God to use us and as a mother with young children we may wonder how this applies to us. Transitioning from going on mission trips to sitting in the nursery can be challenging for some. It is challenging for those who used to lead worship or be a part of the music team and who now attempt to listen to the sermon while holding a baby on their lap. For those who used to lead departments and who are now giving crayons to a toddler during the service to keep them entertained that transition can be difficult. And mothers with young children may find themselves at home asking the question, "How can God use me?"

We talk about ministry as it applies to church and when we think of ministry we think of the praise team, greeters, teaching Sunday School, a part of the altar workers, preaching, etc. But I believe motherhood (and parenting) is the greatest ministry a person can be involved in. Most wouldn't call it a ministry because we often equate being used by God to positions within the church. But I call it a ministry.  I may have gone from going on mission trips, speaking at youth services and opening the church for prayer to caring for two little children in the nursery during the church service but I didn't stop being involved in ministry once I had children. On a daily basis I am ministering to my children showing them what it means to live for and serve God.

The other day my son told me he wanted to go to what he calls the church room (my bedroom) to pray. He got his guitar and piano out, sang some songs and then lifted his hands, closed his eyes and prayed. More powerful than a message I could deliver behind the pulpit is the message I give my children in my daily walk. They see me getting up early in the morning and drinking my coffee while I read the Bible. They see me excuse myself while they are playing in the loft to go to my bedroom and pray. They hear me talk about even though my husband endured two years of cancer treatment and died that God is still good and worthy of all the praise. They are watching how I live. And that is the greatest ministry.

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In this season I am in with younger children I may not do the things I once did but that doesn't mean that God isn't using me. And that doesn't mean that God is not using you. You may not stand behind a pulpit in this season. You may not hold a microphone and lead worship during this season. You may not teach Sunday School or lead a department during this season. But you are illustrating to your children what being a Christian looks like. You are molding and shaping your children. You are involved in a great ministry and God is using you.