There are many hard things as we transition to motherhood. Diapers are overwhelming, there’s little sleep, & the spit-up is just plain gross. While these things are difficult, personally, the hardest transition for me was in regards to ministry. When Hunter was born, I went from participating in every youth event to sitting in the quiet of the nursery, while sounds of college students played Spikeball flooded my house. To be honest, I felt lonely hanging out with a newborn while Jack & the students enjoyed desserts and discussed theology. I longed to sit in on these discussions, and allowed bitterness and discontent to grow in my heart. In that season, I really wondered if what I did mattered. Skipping out on Bible study discussions to keep a toddler and baby quiet didn’t seem very valuable.
I’m back, sitting in those discussions (for the most part). But now, I realize the Lord taught me an incredibly valuable lesson in that time. He taught me Kingdom work isn’t always work that’s seen and pretty, and that joyfully wiping spit up is just as much service to him as chaperoning youth camp. In our flesh, we tend to think visible things are the “big” and valuable things for the Kingdom. We think the not-so-visible mundane stuff has no value in serving the Lord. But what does the Bible say about all of this? How much of this is actually the world’s ideology and not how we as Christians should think?
Recently, I spoke at a women’s ministry event, but in the entirety of my week, that was just a few hours of my time. Throughout the rest of the week, I did laundry, cooked meals, and helped with homework. It could seem that I did “big” things for Jesus at that event, and the rest of the work I did didn’t matter. If this is true, then I only served Jesus for a few hours that week. Since Romans 12:1-2 commands us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, I think it’s safe to say we’re called to serve more than just a few hours a week. Though I absolutely love the opportunity to teach women, our view on what “big things” are for the Kingdom is often distorted. Jesus actually flips our view of “big” and “important” on its head. In Matthew 20:16 he tells us, “So the last will be first and the first last.” Through his life, Jesus teaches us serving, though messy and mundane, has incredible value.
This distorted view of service tempts us to look outside the walls of our homes for satisfaction. It tells us loving our families well by changing diapers and cooking meals is unimportant. They require us to be servants and practice humility. This reflects the character of Jesus, but not so much the world. The truth is, we’re not seen as we fold another load of laundry. We grow weary in the mundane and think we must not be serving Jesus as we put children to sleep while Bible study discussions happen in our living room.
Mamas, this isn’t true. In the season of wiping bottoms and bath times, you’re serving Jesus. It’s messy, but truly serving typically is. Though the work seems small, you’re giving your family a glimpse of how Jesus served us on the cross. His death was far more excruciating and messy than any diaper we’ll change, yet he served us in this way for his glory and our salvation. The world tells us serving is “less than,” and we should move on to bigger and better things. If Jesus came to serve (Matt. 20:28), then why should we think we’re above him? Though we go many days without feeling “seen,” we can rest assured there’s never a day where our good Father doesn’t see us in our meal planning, car pooling, and homework time. Being a mama, with all its messiness and mundane, is indeed the good work the Lord is calling you to in this season.
Though there’s another side to this discussion, and we can use motherhood as an excuse to not do ministry, we must stop buying the world’s lie that motherhood is drudgery and less-than. Motherhood doesn’t hinder us from doing ministry, it just becomes part of the ministry God has already called us to do. Notice, though, I said, “part”. Our kids are such an important ministry, and our call to disciple them is a high one. However, we must beware of making them our ENTIRE ministry. As a mom, I do have to pull back some. While I attend some youth trips, I can’t attend them all like I once did. In this, God teaches me that the ministry of playing with my kids while my husband attends youth events is valuable. Now that our boys are a little older, they can play on their own while I join in on Bible studies. Neither form of ministry is more valuable than the other.
All of this to say, what you’re doing matters, mamas. Learn from my mistakes, and don’t buy into the lie that it doesn’t. When we believe this ordinary work doesn’t matter, we fall into the trap of comparison, discontentment, and bitterness. Trust me, this isn’t a place you want your heart to be. When we view every aspect of life as ministry for the Kingdom, whether that be rocking babies or leading Bible studies, we’ll realize this isn’t actually about us anyway. This is about God’s glory, and he can use the mundane of the carpool line for gospel conversation, and he can also use women’s ministry events for that too. When we remember Jesus’ service to us on the cross, it propels us to serve others well with joyful attitudes. We’ll long to make much of him, not ourselves, whether that means handling bed times or going on a mission trip. When we do all things unto the Lord, there’s no such thing as “just” making dinner. When we stop categorizing various types of ministry as “big” or “small,” we’ll do it all with joy, praising God that we GET to serve him. Serve your families well today, mama, all for the glory of God.
Motherhood + Ministry is a topic I’m super passionate about. There’s so many sides to this discussion. You can read a few more articles I/others have written on this here: