I had to say “No.” again. Someone asked me to do something and I said “No.” The thing is that I did not feel guilty about it, and I did not give some excuse to try and get out of something. I really could not fulfill their request. Because, the kids.
In this particular instance I had to decline so that I could get an hour to rest while the kids napped because we already had a jam packed day, and I wanted to save some reserves for my husband and our upcoming family night. It is not that I never try to help others or take time out to do something that does not involve myself or my family. It is just that the pendulum swings more on the side of family than on the side of “other” right now. And that’s okay. Sure, missions and ministering to others intersects with family and those times are sweet, but I try and make ways for those things to naturally come into each other rather than go out of my way to fill in the “missions” slot of my life. Because somebody has to watch the kids.
Many Parts, One Body, and Childcare
I fondly remember Miss Nell from my nursery days at First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale where I attended as a child. Miss Nell was the nursery director for so many years, and she loved “her” children. Miss Nell watched and cared for me so that my dad could teach Sunday School every Sunday morning, and so my parents could worship together. Dad was a minister of the gospel, and so was Miss Nell. In God’s economy, both Dad and Miss Nell were equally useful, and both had a mission to fulfill and did so in faithful obedience to the One who called them.
“As it is, there are many parts, yet one body” 1 Corinthians 12:20.
Are Moms Really Busy?
I once had a conversation with a professor of mine in college who asked me to consider serving on the leadership council for our school. I was grateful and honored to be asked to serve in this way, but I hesitated to accept the offer because I did not want to let people down if I got overwhelmed. I was already busy, graduation was on the horizon, and I didn’t want to blow this responsibility or my grades for that matter. My professor calmly assured me with this statement: “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it.” In her understanding, busy people are busy because they are reliable and usually will not slack off. I guess this is if the person is busy in the right ways doing productive things, not wasting time in frivolity.
Moms are busy people. But the tricky thing is that they do not always seem busy, particularly “stay-at-home” moms. They are just…at home…with the kids. All they must focus on all the day are all those kids. It is so unproductive. And selfish, really. There are other people in the world besides her family. So….
Ask a mom to do something. She has time. At least she can make time, because moms are resourceful like that. And surely she knows that there are real needs out there and it is sort of a cop out to say “my family is my ministry in this season of life right now.” (insert dripping sarcasm)
Here’s the thing. Just because someone (mom or anyone) does not carry your specific, personal burden does not mean that they are not compassionate or that they do not care about X, Y, or Z. It just means that maybe you are suppose to do something about your burden and not them. In fact, they may be addressing the same burden as you without making a lot of noise (like say, during nap time) or letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing. This goes from cooking casseroles to caravanning around third world countries.
What About This “Mom?”
Peter would have wondered about us moms. “Lord, what about this man?” was Peter’s plea to Christ, to which Jesus responded, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to You? You follow me!” (John 21:21-22). Moms, follow Jesus, not Peter. If we are ever motivated by guilt rather than genuine desire then we need to ask ourselves who in fact we are really serving. Because the “harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few,” but you already have your field. Now ask God to send more harvesters to work the unplowed places. You may join them in due time, but for now somebody has to keep the kids.
“My calling as a mother is the same as any other Christian’s: to fulfill God’s will for our lives and to glorify him. This means I am to follow the Lord’s design for my marriage—cleaving to my husband, supporting him, honoring him, loving him as my own flesh. I am to be a careful steward of the world in which I live. I am to seek opportunities to bring God’s message of redemption to others, to make full use of the gifts and talents he has placed in my life to bring him glory and further his kingdom. And I am to delight in him and worship him and praise him in whatever circumstance I find myself.” Sally Clarkson,