I remember one particularly hard day, as a mom of four kids 6 and under, telling God, “This isn’t what I signed up for.” My days were filled with spit up, dirty diapers, fighting kids, and crying (sometimes I was the one doing this). It seemed like someone was always sick, someone was always screaming, someone was always hungry, and someone was always getting into the fridge and taking bites out of the apples. I didn’t feel I could keep up. Of course, there were the sweet moments too, when all four of them were sleeping soundly in their beds (I exaggerate here. We had other sweet moments when they were all awake, but for the sake of building a great story, hyperbole is necessary), but my day-to-day life was one of routine and drudgery. I was worn out and felt useless in the kingdom of God.
So one afternoon, as I was hanging out laundry on my clothesline—all by myself—I cried out to God and told Him I wanted to do big things for Him but didn’t feel capable; my family and my mothering tasks were exhausting me. (You can read that story here (and also learn why I named my blog what I did). God stopped me mid-sentence, and I heard Him speak clearly to my spirit, “Tori, you are doing exactly what I want you to be doing right now.” What was I doing? Something I did several times a week: I was doing laundry—menial, boring, un-important, laundry. But God was pleased. He was pleased because He had chosen to make me a mother, and in doing laundry, I was taking care of my family—the very thing that I was supposed to be doing at that very time in my life. Laundry, in essence, then, was the most spiritual thing I could be doing. This understanding freed me to serve my family in a way that I had never done before, because I understood that I was doing big things for God by completing the tasks set before me. I was building God’s kingdom by striving to be the best mom and wife—and servant—that I could be.
Christian moms, your main ministry focus is to be your kids when you still have them at home. It’s OK to say no to more “lofty” sounding ambitions like teaching, training, or volunteering within in the body during this season (though for your mental health, you need to keep attending things like Bible study and women’s events, but you don’t have to feel obligated to lead). Don’t feel you are not serving God because you aren’t “visibly” building the Kingdom during this busy time. When you make your kids and your husband your main mission now, the security and peace and routines you create will accomplish much for the future. You are working on building a godly legacy during this short time; concentrate on it, take joy in it, do it well! If you are one of those amazing people who can do lots but still be focused primarily on your kids, then go for it, but don’t overdo. You will have many more kid-free years ahead to be used in that way. The time that your little ones have to soak in the wisdom that you teach them is so short, but so important; revel in the task…and leave the ladder-climbing, resume-building, and the fast-track for later.
See, as a mom, you are doing ministry—right now, right in your home, when you wipe that nose and change that diaper and teach your children to clean up their messes. And even if it doesn’t feel like it most days, you are serving the Kingdom in a mighty way. Don’t let the world tell you that what you are doing is trivial. Raising up generations to love and serve the One Living God is never trivial in the sight of our Father.
Now go do the next thing; wash the dishes, spank the toddler, clean the marker off the carpet, read the same book again, curl up and watch a movie with your kids—your ministry is happening NOW. And God is very pleased.
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.