Motherhood. There are so many emotions tied to that word. Indescribable exhaustion. Overwhelming joy. Unconditional love. God-given purpose. Unending worry. My journey as a mom started just a short four years ago, but when I think back to the person that I was before welcoming my first baby boy into the world, she seems like a distant memory. Sometimes I miss the girl that had time to pursue everything with excellence: putting 100% into marriage, ministry, and career with energy to spare.
However, I would never trade this role that God has given me as a mom. Motherhood has brought more love, growth, and purpose than I could have ever imagined. It is through the journey of raising my boys that the Lord has sanctified me and shown me far more about my own lack of faith that ever before.
It has been so busy though. The things that I used to effortlessly dedicate time to are now replaced by changing diapers and helping with ABC’s. As I say yes to the little people that God has given me to pour into, my yeses to ministry are inevitably fewer and further between. I truly believe that as moms our greatest ministry is our ministry to the children that God has entrusted to us. After all, our children really are just on loan from God and ours to steward and love for as long as God allows us.
That said, our children are not an excuse to keep from saying yes to God. It is so easy to use our kids as an excuse. Don’t feel like going to a party? Sorry, that is past the toddler’s bedtime. Using our kids as an excuse can be convenient, and often totally valid. However, that doesn’t work with God. He knows our capacity in the season that He has placed us in, and His calling is within our ability as moms. There is no hiding behind our children with Him. He knows every detail about where we are in raising children, and He calls us accordingly.
Sometimes saying yes to God in the midst of motherhood comes at a price. Our family knows this all too well. We officially signed as missionaries to Guatemala when our oldest was just four months old. His infancy was spent traveling the country and building up a team of supporting churches and families. Not exactly convenient. Then, when he was 18 months old (and I was newly pregnant with his brother), he said goodbye to his grandparents and boarded a plane to Guatemala.
One of the most common questions we got in our season of preparation to move to Guatemala was, “Well, what are you going to do with your son?” Occasionally, this was even paired with, “Are you going to leave him here to live with his grandparents?”
The first few times, I stared blankly back at the person that was asking the question because what I really wanted to say was, “Yeah, we thought we would make our son an orphan and leave him here without us so that we can go and care for orphans in Guatemala.” I refrained, but I think that those questions honestly revealed such a deep struggle in our society.
What those people were really saying was, “How could you ever follow God so sacrificially without thinking about your son?” As a culture, we have come to give those in the trenches of motherhood a pass from doing hard things for Jesus. We try to protect our children from pain and hardship at all costs, even if it means doing so at the cost of our obedience. Yes friend, even in the trenches of motherhood, God calls us to do hard things. Sometimes those things may even come at a cost to our children.
Now, as our family enters the life of foster care, I know that it won’t be without pain to our children. They will have to share their home, their toys, and their parents with a stranger. Then, when they finally come to love that stranger, they may have to say goodbye at a moment’s notice. Did God know that when He called us to this ministry? Of course, He did. Even if it costs our kids to be uncomfortable and suffer, God is asking us to say yes, and I truly believe it will be for the good of our boys. Our prayer is that they will be more compassionate, more flexible, and more aware of the needs of others as a result of their experiences as foster brothers.
When we say yes to God in the trenches of motherhood, we are teaching our children to say yes to God, and there is nothing I would rather do. It prepares them for the big asks that God is going to one day make on their own lives, and it teaches them that Jesus calls them to so much more than a comfortable life. As a mom, that is so much more important to me than raising happy children with a perfect life.
Friend, I know that some days you are so deep in laundry and sibling scuffles that it seems impossible to tackle another thing for the Kingdom. I know that motherhood in itself is a huge undertaking, but I pray that you will keep saying yes, even in the trenches of motherhood. I challenge you not to use your kids as an excuse and miss the incredible things that God has for you, and for your kids too. Keep saying yes, mama!