A few weeks ago I ran into an old friend. He told me his wife and daughter just left for a mission trip up in Africa for two weeks. They were so excited for such a special time as mother and daughter together.
Later that afternoon, while taking care of dinner, taking laundry from the washing line and putting little people into the bath, I pondered on the privilege this friend’s wife has to be on a mission trip with her daughter. I felt the grabbing fingers of envy crawling up my heart. The possibility of having such a special time with Heidi-Mari or even Danika, was almost unthinkable! My little ones need me every moment of the day and they will still do so for some time in the future.
I cannot imagine leaving the men alone, with little ones, while my daughters and I go on a mission trip, even if we do get the opportunity. But if I didn’t have all these little children, I could serve the Lord more tangible by going on mission trips...
Soon the envy was replaced by guilt. I would have loved to be able to serve the Lord by way of mission trips! Oh, it is such a longing of my heart to sacrifice time and money by spreading the good news to those who haven’t heard it yet! After all isn’t that what Christianity is all about - evangelism? But due to my responsibilities as mother of many children it isn’t possible for me to evangelize anyone! Oh Lord, I’m sorry I’m not available to serve you where it matters most!
And then as I picked up the laundry basket and entered the house, I clearly heard the Lord’s soft whisper in my soul: “My dear daughter, I’ve planned a lifetime mission trip for you, in taking care of, training and loving all the children I choose to bless you with.
Mighty men and women who will one day change the world, for Me! You ARE serving me where it matters most, you are busy evangelizing your children every minute of the day!
I stopped dead in my tracks and just stood in Awe!
I then remembered two books I read a few years ago, written by Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood and the Ministry of Motherhood. Already after reading the first few pages of both books, my way of thinking about motherhood and the children God gave me, was changed and had a great impact on me. But it was only after pondering and voicing my desire to serve the Lord in missionary trips, that it really hit home: Motherhood is my Mission trip for Live!
I don’t need to go on missionary trips to make an impact for the Lord! Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful if you have the opportunity, but as a stay-at-home-mother of young children, you don’t need to feel guilty and less valuable concerning your influence on the Kingdom of God! Right now it isn’t my calling to leave the home and go on a mission trip. Right now, my calling is to have a life changing influence on the children the Lord has and will still give me!
Maybe you as the mother of small children, also have feelings of guilt when hearing of people going on mission trips for the Lord, then I encourage you to read on.
See, dear Mother, a mother’s calling, is the same as any other Christian’s: to live a purpose-filled life for God’s Glory! The kind of purpose Jesus had for his disciples when He prayed the high priestly prayer the night before he was crucified. He said, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (John 17:18)
After years of being a Christian I came to a conclusion of my purpose: To use my life to reach others for him and to teach them what it means to know and follow him by understanding and obeying his Word! Matthew 28:19-20 take it even further: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
In 1999 Christo and I was part of the launch of World Teach South Africa by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson and Walk Through the Bible Ministries. Matthew 28:19-20 was the foundational verse for World Teach South Africa. For years Christo and I taught hundreds of people side by side in the Cape Peninsula, from the Foundations of Faith, to The Biblical Portrait of a Marriage, Personal Holiness, The Testing of your Faith, Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs and many more courses by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson. The purpose: to make disciples!
Then in 2004 we surrendered my womb to the Lord and I had a baby almost every year since. I couldn’t teach with Christo anymore, but stayed at home with our little ones! It was tough for me to stay at home, while Christowitnessed people coming to Christ and Christians experiencing spiritual breakthroughs! BUT one thing I remembered from Dr. Bruce Wilkinson’s teachings on Matthew 28: Jesus wasn’t asking his disciples to go into all the world and set up church buildings or youth groups or Wednesday night church suppers, but to make disciples - to cultivate spiritual relationships with people, to draw them to Christ and then train them to reach out to other people who would also be trained and able to make other disciples. He was entrusting the messages and work of the kingdom of God into the hand of ordinary people who had come to know his love, righteousness and forgiveness.
While staying at home, taking care of little ones, the process of discipleship, that Jesus modeled, had become a reality in my own life. What Jesus had done with his disciples - living with them, loving them, forgiving them, instructing them, training them, serving them and thereby transforming the foundation of their lives, was taking place in my home, with all my growing children around me!
My home has become a mission field! It is part of God’s plan that I recruit my own children to drop the fishing nets of their own lives in order to embrace God’s purpose and mission. But it can only begin when I am able to embrace with joy the mission of motherhood.
The journey of the mission of Motherhood has filled me with purpose, peace, fulfillment and excitement. In fact, I have come to believe that being a mother encompasses all that is best within me.
To embrace the mission of motherhood require that I understand God and His design for life. God designed motherhood to be a deeply meaningful role. As a mother I have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children. To change future generations. Through my teaching and influence, moral values can be modeled and learned, love and kindness are taught and received, purpose and vision are ignited and passed on.
Since in every child there is a profound need to be loved, cherished, cared for and protected by his/her very own mother. And it’s not just a need but an important part of God’s design for shaping human beings according to His will.
The real ability of a mother to secure such a spiritual legacy is based on the strength of her relationship with her child. As we tenderly care for our children, meeting their needs, teaching them and guiding them, praying for them and modeling our faith, we are also anchoring their hearts to our home, our values and our beliefs. These ties are built over a period of many years, through the small ways we spend the minutes of our days and the large ways in which we celebrate the momentous events of our lives.
I want to end with an excerpt from an encouraging letter I received years ago from a very special Mother. For me, this letter sums up the whole mission of Motherhood:
‘I thought I’d drop you a little line today to encourage you in your high calling of motherhood. Each one of your children is a special gift from God whom you are training for His divine purposes.
You are doing a mighty work. There is nothing greater that you could be doing in the whole of the world. Your work is for eternity.
Your children are eternal souls who will live forever. Not only are you training them for the purposes God has for them in this world, but you are also preparing them for the eternal world! Wow! What a Mission!
How blessed you are to have your children around you. I know that you often feel overwhelmed, but I want to remind you that in the midst of all the frustrations and tiredness, that this is a very precious time of your life.
You may feel that you are just doing the same old thing every day, like Noah did the same old thing for 100 years - hammered, nailed and keep on building his ark. He didn't have time to do all the things that everyone else was doing. He just kept on slogging and being faithful, doing the same thing every day for all those years - but in doing so he condemned the world. Yes, he changed the wold because he stuck with the job he was given to do! He changed the world by doing the same thing day after day after day. And at the same time he saved his family!
As you are faithful to raise Godly children, and build an ark for the saving of your house, you will condemn the world around you. You are accomplishing far more than those who go out to seek a worldly career to the detriment to their highest calling. Your influence goes on into the generations and even into eternity.
Isn’t it amazing that our daily faithfulness in the home will have its impact on earth and also for eternity? It can change the world! We have to remember that bearing and raising children is a long-term investment - in fact, an eternal one! In a culture where everyone want everything to happen instantaneously, we must learn to think long term - for the future.
So rejoice and be glad in your high and noble calling!
Your are changing the World!
Remember, you have the most important career in the nation!
Saying YES to the mission of motherhood has certainly not meant giving up on missions - it is my mission!