Thursday, May 26, 2011

Growing a New Perspective

Ever since becoming a mother, I have struggled with God's purpose for me. Sounds obvious, right? I'm supposed to nurture, love, and take care of my children. But there has always been a part of me that wanted something more, as if mothering was not enough.

First of all, I wanted desperately to go back to school. Before becoming a mommy, I held a graduate assistantship at the local university where I taught composition while working on my doctorate in English. But when I became pregnant with Kate, I gave all that up. I knew I needed to devote all my time, focus, and energy to raising her. Still, my heart longed to return to my passions: studying, reading, and learning. Fortunately, God said, "No. Not now."

Then, I began to find areas of interest where I could have an impact on our family, namely couponing, deal hunting, and drugstore shopping (i.e., getting stuff for free or very cheap). I thought throwing my time and energy into these endeavors would compensate for the void I felt being at home all day.

Don't get me wrong; I love my girls more than ice cream, but something always felt missing.

And, today, as I was reading Sally Clarkson's The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children, I had an epiphany. All this time I had been thinking there was something more out there--in the world--that I could or should be doing, something that would bring me pure joy when in reality, I simply needed "to embrace with joy the ministry of motherhood" (10).

Wow! Embrace with joy being a mom? That's tough! There are days when I would gladly hand off one or both kids to the highest (or even lowest) bidder.

Still, what God wants me to do--what He expects me to do--is to disciple my children. He has called me to be a mother. (That is a given or else He wouldn't have blessed me with two children.) And, as I wrote in this post, my mission field is to be my home. My purpose as a mom is to minister to my children just as Christ ministered to His disciples while He was on Earth.

As a young mom, I can identify with how Clarkson felt as she struggled with being the mom God called her to be:
My mother-heart wanted so much to give my precious children the best in life--even to disciple them the way I had been discipled. Instead, I felt I was actually losing ground. (13)
More than anything I want to teach my children about God and His love for them, to show them grace and mercy as God shows me, to serve them and teach them how to serve others, to inspire them to understand God's purpose for their lives, and to train them in Godly living. But I have discovered, thanks to Clarkson, that unless I have a clear plan none of these lofty goals will come to fruition.
I realized with the passing of each day that spiritual and emotional maturity would not just happen to my children because I wished it so. It would not come just from a passive example of my being good. Effective spiritual, emotional, and social training in the lives of my children would have to be both intentional and planned. (13)
So, I have work to do. I can either embrace my calling as a mom with joy, devise a plan for how I will disciple my kids, and live it out. With joy.

OR I can continue feeling eternally empty, searching for something eternally meaningless, and my children will eternally suffer.

I have a new perspective--and a new challenge--because I have a new purpose as a mom: to minister to my children and make disciples of them.

1 comment:

  1. An amazing thought to consider, this "Ministry of Motherhood." I'd heard of this, but hadn't really thought much about the reality. Motherhood isn't something that just "happened" upon us; it is something God Himself has CALLED us to! I too am catching the vision of embracing this "high calling". Thank you for sharing your insights!