I’m not typically one to set a New Year’s resolution but for 2017 I decided to give it a shot. I made it easy on myself, or so I thought, when I decided that I was going to set the simple goal of loving God and others more. You see, ever since having children I’ve felt a little clouded about what my mission is.
Sure, I’m a mother and a wife but one thing I’ve learned about motherhood is that it’s really easy to neglect your relationships with anyone other your children. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of daily tasks that I snap at my husband, forget to call a friend back and say no to social invitations (if I'm lucky enough to still get them!) because I'm just plain tired by the end of each day.
While I was making and cleaning up from three meals a day, folding laundry and trying to get the grocery shopping done (with a toddler who no longer likes to be constrained to a cart), I was beginning to wonder how I could possibly serve God and others better. Motherhood can feel all-consuming and more often than not I feel as though I’m barely surviving each day; it’s hard to see how these daily chores can be opportunities to glorify Christ and show his love through my actions toward others.
God has placed it on my heart this year to find ways to love more, and while I’m still (very) far off from where I’d like to be, I recognize that this isn’t a year-long resolution but more like a lifelong opportunity to grow. Here are three things I’m working toward during this mission of motherhood, and I hope you’ll be able to apply them to whatever mission you’ve been called to:
- Stop complaining. I probably need to work on this one the most as it’s easy to get frustrated with never-ending chores and clingy toddlers who won’t let you get done what you set out to do at the beginning of each day.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3: 23-24
Whatever you do - not just the fun things I do, but the mundane as well. This season of life has brought me from the workforce back to my home, serving the ones I love; rather than complaining through my day I’m trying to have an attitude of worship. I don’t have to do these things I get to do these things in service to God and others. That small change in attitude can have a significant impact. (I’m definitely a work in progress – just ask my husband!)
- Look to the Word. In order to love more I need to spend more time with the one who showed us what true love is. My time with the Lord varies; some days it’s spent reading a child’s bible story or one of the many index cards or post-it notes stuck around my house with simple prayers and bible verses. Some mornings I take a longer time and really dive into 3 or 4 chapters of the bible; other days I read a devotion that was sent to my email while I’m nursing my toddler back to sleep.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
It’s easy to feel like I’m not giving enough of myself to God, but this season is hard enough; God knows that and meets me where I am. He doesn’t want me to come to Him out of guilt or feel badly if I don’t read x-amount of chapters in the bible (only to fall asleep or not remember a word I read). If right now my time with Him means a back-to- the-basics bible story or a passage I can recite a few times in my head, the Holy Spirit finds ways to work with those simple messages. The more I’m able to blend my daily life with small but intimate moments with God, the more He allows kindness and compassion to spill over into my interactions with others.
- Recognize opportunities to love more. Serving the Lord overseas in a foreign country is a big calling and staying home, wiping messy hands every day, can seem like a small calling. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that we don’t all get called to the same missions; sometimes God brings the mission to us. Being a stay-at-home mom presents many unique opportunities for me to share the love of Christ with others.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25
Whether it be at the grocery store, an indoor playground or through this blog, the Lord has proven that I don’t need to be serving him halfway around the world for him to have a profound impact on my life and the way I interact with others. I can be calm, kind and generous in all situations. Giving glory to God through the every day allows others to see what He is capable of.
Thankfully for me there is still quite a bit of 2017 left – because I’m just getting started! My attitude toward the people I know and love, or the stranger God places in my path that day says a lot about who I am. And I am a child of God. My sweet friend (whose name happens to be Love) said it best, and I think we can all fill in the blank no matter the mission: “may (motherhood) be my mission field with my LIFE, not just my LIPS.”