These days are fun yet hectic. Rachel is doing great — she’ll be 4 months old in a couple of days and she’s giggly and smiley and already popping out teeth (teething at 3 months is CRAZY, by the way). Josh is almost 23 months and is and putting words together for the first time. He can be found with his nose in a book and a train piece in one hand at almost all times. It is a delight to see them both growing and learning new tricks! But lest you think it’s all roses– our days also involve lots of screaming. So yes, it is fun and there is much laughter– but there is also much screaming too.
In light of this busy season, I have often wondered “How can I be serving others? How can I help out at church? What can I be doing to be a blessing?” The truth of the matter is that it’s a small feat just to make it to the grocery store, let alone church. With a small baby in tote who nurses often, there aren’t really any practical places for me to be able to serve at church right now (which really makes me feel like a consumer). Josh also depends heavily on routine and schedule, and not adhering to his routine for too long means a complete meltdown (which happened in an extended version on Christmas day). All this is to say is that the bulk of my ministry these days is at home– loving my kids and my husband. I know many women who have several more kids than me, who home school and serve outside of the home in multiple capacities– and they are amazing! But that is not me. I’m being stretched thin these days just by getting dinner on the table and both kids bathed before bedtime.
Blogger Melissa over at yourmomhasablog.com encouraged me today with her post about how stay at home moms can serve God. She writes that the stay at home mom has the strange occupation of simply being there. (I’ve been mulling this over as I grew up with a mom who was also “there” (even though she worked a lot from home) and the positive impact that just having her around (to keep tabs on me, or for me to ask her questions, etc) had on me.) Melissa encourages those who feel like they aren’t even very good homemakers to see that all the work they’re doing at home for their kids and husbands are being done for the Lord– that He is their boss. She writes “We’re doing these things, yes laundry and the whole shebang, because God has given us this job, this calling of being there, and we owe Him everything. So, we serve Him with our presence in the home.” She also offers several small ways we can serve the Lord, merely by being obedient to His Word and the overflow that such obedience brings. Some examples of this that she mentioned were as obvious as being a good friend to your husband– or as small as being kind and friendly to the employee at the grocery store. Lastly, she encourages women to focus on their chief purpose: To know God and enjoy Him forever. She encourages women not to get caught up so much in what they can or can’t do, but to focus on making every day an exercise to dwell in His presence. Amen to that!
My whole life has been geared on getting good grades in school and being in such a place so that I could choose any career I wanted. And I’m glad I chose nursing — it has been a wonderful choice, full of hard work and promoting good critical thinking skills. But not much of my life has prepared me for the challenges of being a mother. I have relied heavily on my older sister (in a way, I’m really glad her kids are much older than mine so that I’ve been able to watch her parent so much) and my mother in this area, as I am oft in amazement in the jobs they have both done as mothers. Obviously, being a good nurse has always been important to me. But being a WISE mother trumps everything else, let alone my devotion to God and to my husband. And this is where the buck stops. As much as I miss not serving in more tangible ways outside of the home, for this season of life I can serve God by being in His presence and by serving my family. Showering others with the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control). Speaking kind words and encouragement to others, or being a listening ear when needed. (Or, more realistically for this week: Not complaining even though we’re all sick, responding calmly to a toddler who’s just pitched his plate of food onto the floor, and being able to smile at a baby who screams with indignation when being put down in the baby swing for a while.)