I distinctly remember sitting in a circle of other moms at church just a few months after my second child was born. I remember sharing that I felt like all my time and energy – and, really, my whole life – was spent on nursing and napping schedules.
Follow your passions. Use your God-given gifts to further His Kingdom. Often easier said than done as a mom.
I have four kids now and my youngest recently turned two. The day to day needs of my children have been pressing and all-consuming in some seasons of motherhood. So, I’ve wondered what God really wanted from me during those times when I wasn’t able to use what I thought were my gifts – or, at least, not able to use them in the same ways that I had before having my children. Can anyone else relate??
Over the years, God has been teaching me about the value and purpose in all of my daily responsibilities as a mom – even the mundane ones, like potty training and washing dishes. He’s also been gently reminding me that what He desires from me is the same in all circumstances and seasons.
Love God with all that you are. Love your neighbor as yourself. When asked what the most important commandment was, that is how Jesus responded.
If loving God and others is most important, then it’s my ultimate purpose and highest calling in life. And, although the circumstances of my life change with every season, that purpose and calling does not. Love was my highest calling before I had kids; it’s my calling today with four young kids at home. And it still will be someday in the future when all my kids are grown … even if that day seems so far away, it’s hard for me to picture right now!?
So, what does it really look like to love God and to love other people in everyday life? I find myself asking that question often. And I think the answer has been different during different seasons of my life.
Pre-kids, I often equated loving God well with having a solitary, quiet time of prayer and Bible study while I ate breakfast before work. Don’t get me wrong, that quiet time wasn’t reality every day before kids either, but it was my goal. Post-kids, I do still love (and need!) to find ways to be with God and His Word … but those times aren’t always quiet or extended.? I’ve read my Bible and journaled while laying beside an infant doing tummy time. I’ve found a few minutes between laundry and dishes, while toddlers nap. Or, read a devotional while nursing a baby.
I was so encouraged by the words of Heidi St. John in Becoming Mom Strong: “God is just as present when you’re unloading the dishwasher as He is when you’re doing an inductive Bible Study.” She went on to write about how important it is for us, as moms, to spend time in God’s Word. That’s where we draw our strength and how we remain grounded in the truth. However, the ways we do that may look different in different seasons of life. My pastor’s wife shared that while she had young children at home, she left her Bible open on her kitchen counter and would read a couple verses at a time as she passed it throughout the day.
Without a doubt, how I take care of my children, pour into them, and teach them is also a way I love God. He has entrusted me with these four precious little lives. The way I love them honors God. Even when I’m *just* changing diapers, refilling cups of milk, tying shoes, and correcting homework. Sometimes, I’ve felt like I should do something “big” to serve God. But, no task is too small or insignificant to be noticed by Him. He is pleased when I faithfully care for my family, for my children and my husband.
Loving my neighbor as myself also starts at home with how I treat my husband and my children. And it reaches out beyond the walls of my house.
How do I love people outside my family when I’m knee-deep in our own laundry? Again, I have learned that being faithful in small gestures of love is just as valuable as something big and grand. Some things I simply can’t do with four little ones underfoot and that is ok. But, I have learned there are some things I can do. I can prepare a double portion of the dinner I’m making my family, so I can drop off a meal to another family when they welcome home a new baby or when they are going through a difficult situation. While I’m grocery shopping, I can pick up extra food to donate to a local ministry our church is involved with. I can open up my *always messy* house for a playdate with other families in our neighborhood or at my sons’ schools. These are simple ways I have felt God encourage me to share love with the people around me. And, in the years to come as my children grow, God will likely call me to show love in new ways.
I believe God has a purpose for each one of us, in the place and time and set of circumstances that we find ourselves today. What He asks each of us to do may be different, but, ultimately, it will all be about loving Him and loving people.That reminder of my purpose encourages me when I feel like maybe my daily routines and efforts are uninspiring or not enough. If I’m willing to follow His leading, God will take my little gestures of love and use them in big ways in His world.
(To read more about Katie, go here!)
- Mothering on Purpose – Emily and Michelle talk about being present and purposeful in their mothering.
- Lies Moms Believe: and How the Gospel Refutes Them by Rebekah Hargraves – The first two lies Rebekah tackles is “Motherhood is a Woman’s Highest Calling” and “Mothering is Unimportant Work.” She explains how the truth falls in the middle of those two lies. Mothering is purposeful, meaningful, and influential work. Everyone who follows Christ is called to bring glory to God and spread His truth, which may be expressed through our mothering for those of us who are mothers.
- “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23