Today, I just want to share an observation.
Through my first decade as a mom, I’ve had opportunity to get to know women in several churches, in a few states. I’ve seen a pattern and I want to call it out, because it’s awesome. Often, flying under the radar in our churches, are some fantastic mom missionaries.
That noisy kid section in the back of your church is home to some great missionaries. In their arms are little ones they are bringing up in Jesus, next to them might be a mom they met at library story time. Sitting in her diaper bag is a cell phone with a text from her neighbor she’s been encouraging through a tough time.
The mom experience creates connections between people that would otherwise not exist – across lifestyles, personality types, economic barriers, across cultures. Before having kids, many of us set out for careers or higher education. We started to develop adult identities geared towards professionalism of some sort. Or maybe some go for a trendy hipster vibe? A very high number of us promised never to buy mini-vans.
But, then the baby arrives. The logistics of getting a giant rear facing car seat into a two door coupe seem insurmountable. Automatic sliding doors begin to hold a certain appeal. Do I buy disposable diapers or go green with cloth? What baby food does this kid eat first? What happens when he gets a fever? What’s attachment parenting? What’s Love and Logic? My professional clothes are NOT fitting any more. The need to chat with others that are sorting through the same questions has developed.
At this point, our identities start to shift and that can be really really hard. Sometimes quite awkward. We try to blend our mom selves with our previously trendy adult selves. We have an endless amount of questions on how to raise our littles. We suddenly have things in common with women we did not relate to before.
And how neat is that?
I’ve seen God using this time in several women’s lives to do amazing things. At this stage there can be both a need to connect with other women, and a need to continue some sort of meaningful work. Moms can become experts on community connections. They know what’s going on in the community, what families do in town for fun, how they hear about it, what families need, and how moms in town think about life. Whether moms decide to work outside the home, be stay-at-home moms, or work from home, those babies get them out and into places of connection.
The farmers market
Raising kids in Jesus is a profound mission in and of itself. While doing it, some moms disciple their kids by showing all the ways Jesus can be shared with neighbors through the week in practical hands-on ways. I’ve seen moms starting non-profits to help those in need with their little ones by their side. They type up their mom-blog stories of faith. They head out to soccer camp and invite their new-found community friends on over to church playgroup. Some even pop a baby in a stroller to knock on their neighbors doors with invites to church events. They go to conferences to grow in faith. They hop on planes for mission trips.
Moms meet moms, which turns into families connecting with families, then families connecting families to Jesus.
Ladies, I see you and I think you’re special. I like you.
So, if you hadn’t noticed that happening, now you know. You can thank God along with me for what he’s doing through his church – and this is just one of many many things. It’s a blessing for this generation and the next.