Occupation Motherhood—Get the Big Picture
We expect too much of ourselves. The “we” I am referring to are the “global-women moms.” The expectation I am speaking of is not a holy or righteous one; it is a deceitful one, a despair decoy planted in our minds that renders us ineffective. We feel the pressure—it is spoken, unspoken, and sometimes exists only because we buy into the lie—but no matter the source, we hear the taunts:
• “So what part do you play in the ministry?”
• “What are you doing or working on?”
• “How is your language?”
• “Do you feel like you are seeing fruit?”
• “What do your days look like?”
We feel it is imperative to make our answers sound so accomplished:
• “Well, I function quite well in the language—people compliment my clear speaking.”
• “Right now I am holding a women’s Bible study as well as teaching Sunday school and a parenting class.”
• “My kids are amazing and are catching on so well! You know, they speak both the tribal and the country language fluently—quite something really (ha, ha). I feel so blessed!”
It is when I want to answer in this manner that I know I have a poor perspective and false beliefs. Aside from the fact that I do not think people in any domain expect such a testimonial—in fact it may just disgust them—we need a reality check. We need a proper vision and calling for our hearts.
There are countless angles to discuss the following nouns: occupation, job, ministry, man, woman, husband, father, wife, or mother—but we rarely talk about motherhood as it relates to occupation and ministry. However, when we define motherhood as a full-time job and ministry, some interesting revelations follow.
Let me start by saying this: “I know my children want me home.”
Every day, in all kinds of forms, they choose to communicate this to me.
• They thank me: “Thanks, Mom, for taking care of my brother Hutch.”
• They love me: with hugs, kisses, and requests for me to play with them.
• They speak and live with merry hearts: “Mom, I love everybody. I want to have everybody in the world to our beautiful home!”
• Then, there is the biggest, loudest, and most important way they let me know they want me home: by asking for instruction—a.k.a. disobeying.
If I were not home, who would instruct them about their rebellion? Who would help them see their sin? Who would help them to understand their need for Jesus, or explain the cross, or teach the gospel? “Their sin will rear its ugly head again” is the phrase we like to use when we have failed at taking advantage of an opportunity. The problem is, if I am missing 50% of the opportunities, and the other 50% of the time I am only functioning at half capacity—then we are all missing out on important times of repetition and reinforcement.
I want to be around for the majority, if not all, of the teachable moments. I cannot be asking the question, “Where is God calling me and to what ministry?” There is no question. He has already called me and He has already defined the ministry. Further, there is no option. At the first breath of my first child a calling was placed on my life—to be “a striving wife/mother with a soul that is FULLY satisfied in Christ, seeking wisdom, love, a grateful heart, and grace; desiring the overflow of my soul to fill the hearts and souls of my sons and daughters with scripture, thankfulness, contentment, joy, laughter and love/respect one towards another.” (This quote is from My Personal Mission Statement, written in 2013.)
We do not just have some kids. We have a job, an occupation, and a ministry. We have a weighty, monumental task that could easy overwhelm the mind, with a little meditation! When we choose to stop whining and complaining, pick up the entire heavy task and feel the weight of it, we find purpose. This is the first revelation. Then there is another that is quick to follow. The second revelation is this: When we fully own our purpose, our husband can finally have the freedom to fully pick up his calling and purpose. Of course our roles and lives overlap and interact, and there are plenty of details, vision, and mission statements that need to be developed and worked out as a team, but he needs freedom to live out his calling free from guilt. This will mean that from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM he is where he needs to be and you are where you need to be.
Where is that? I can tell you this: where you are best is where you are not wishing to be in a different WHERE but are fully embracing the WHERE God has given you, living PURPOSEFULLY in MOTHERHOOD.
Question to consider: How do you know that you are “living purposefully in motherhood”?
About the author
With three bustling children, a fourth on the way, a husband doing BAM in Thailand, and the woes (and blessings) of living cross culturally, Liv Steffen is familiar with those days that seems insurmountable, as well as, the grace of God that makes us conquer. She is passionate in giving encouragement, keeping good perspective, and reminding ourselves of the gospel truth. Read more at brettlivandso-on.blogspot.com.View all articles by: Liv Steffen
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