Since yesterday was Mother’s Day and today is Ministry Monday, I thought we’d combine the two and look at the role of mom as a ministry. That’s what it really is, you know. A labor of love, a work of the heart.
I’ll admit, especially when my children were young and oh so needy, I struggled to think of what I did as a mom as ministry. It felt more like slave labor some days and like a sentence to boredom and monotony on others. Sure there were days when I woke up feeling energetic and inspired and managed to operate with that attitude all day long, but quite honestly those days were few and oh so scattered on the calendar.
But when I began to see that my mothering was a holy calling, I began to embrace it more enthusiastically and enjoy it more consistently. God showed me that while washing clothes, wiping up spills, playing with blocks on the floor, and cooking yet another box of macaroni and cheese might not seem like a very noble calling, the time I spent with my children or tending to their needs actually carried great impact. I was shaping lives into living vessels and pouring the love of God into them.
Children are very much like sponges. Have you ever reached for your kitchen sponge only to find out after you’ve picked it up that it is full of some mystery liquid that it was sitting in? It looked dry to you, but when you picked it up you realized it was wet through and through. That’s how children are. Even when we don’t think they’re soaking anything up, they are. And before we know it they are full of attitudes, dreams, dispositions, habits, and ideas that we didn’t even realize they had been absorbing. That’s why we’d better be mindful of what our “little sponges” are soaking in.
Mom, seeing as how it’s the day after your national holiday, you’re probably feeling pretty good about the ministry of motherhood. But if your enthusiasm begins to wane today after folding the fourth load of laundry, changing the second messy diaper, or creating the fifteenth noodle necklace, look at those precious children and visualize them as thirsty sponges. What are they “sitting in” and soaking up? Have you poured in any faith, love, joy, or gentleness today? Have they soaked up some peace in your home? Are they swimming in your patience? When you pick them up and “wring them out” do they ooze with your goodness and kindness? And have you managed to soak them in a respectable dose of self-control?
I’m sure you recognize that list as the fruit of the Spirit. That’s what you’ll need to be successful at this ministry. So, as with any ministry, make sure you spend plenty of time soaking up the sweet juice of that fruit yourself before you try to do the work you’ve been called to do. Ask God to help you get a grasp on how huge a ministry this really is. Spend time in His Word so He can equip you for the calling. Then get to it, ministering His love to those precious sponges. There is no more important task in all the world. And it’s not just mundane, boring work. It’s a holy calling, a ministry of love.