“Mooom! He won’t let me have the goldfish!”
Creaking floorboards at 2:00am, the door slowly opens, in hushed embarrassed whispers from the oldest, “Mom, I peed the bed.”
The newborn wakes up wailing after the oldest’s bed is remade with clean sheets. The screaming doesn’t end until I let him nurse himself back to sleep.
Motherhood. It’s glorious. It’s tiring. It’s never ending. And motherhood isn’t the only thing we are expected to do. There’s laundry, people need food, dishes need washed, and carpool needs driven. Yet, while meeting the needs of the littles in front of me and the husband next to me, I’m still missing something.
My church has been in a series delving into the book of Colossians for the last eight months. We are going verse by verse learning how to live our lives in relationship vertically with Jesus and horizontally with the people around us. At first I thought this concept sounded cliché and just another push to get the congregation to move and do what we say we believe. I didn’t take seriously this series until the series seriously took hold of me.
Colossians is a book that talks to Christians in Rome during the time of Caesar’s oppressive reign. The Christian lifestyle wasn’t the norm and wasn’t tolerated very well. And it reminds me of the culture we’re living in today. While we may not be living under a tyrannical government power, we do have oppression starting. It seems more people know less about God and who He is than in recent history. With controversial laws being passed, polarized opposite presidential candidates, and social media’s platforms where everyone’s opinion is certainly expressed, it’s easy to understand that we as a Christian culture are feeling the threats.
It is easy to keep in our Christian bubbles and pretend nothing negative is going on around us. Put it off on it’s them verses us mentality. Especially raising children, I personally don’t want to think about the crazy world my kids were born into. Cowering to sit idly in my own corner isn’t going to change a thing, either. Jesus, in Matthew 28:19-20 calls us to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have taught” (NIV). We aren’t given a get off free card we can cash in once we’re Christians. We are told to go. Go is an imperative or a command. We must go and do something now.
Those of us women stuck in the trenches of motherhood may feel super inadequate right now, thinking, “Where will I even find the time to do this? I don’t want to go anywhere but to bed.” or maybe “I’m ill-equipped. I’m just a mom.” or “I’m just too tired.” Mama, I see you and I feel you. Better than me, though, Jesus sees you. He’s equipped you with your specific place to “go.” He’ll also prepare the time for you to go. Let me give a few examples.
I met this gal from Canada online through a ministry I help run. She attended the virtual bible studies we were running at the time and we got to know each other more. We were growing in community with one another (hey a horizontal relationship while deepening our vertical relationship with Jesus). Eventually I began mentoring her. It was a great relationship because she spurred me on and I spurred her, as well. The best part was I didn’t feel worn down by the relationship. It gave me energy. It was a relationship I was able to maintain online, in the wee hours of night while nursing my little, while tired, while doing the housework. God used me in the middle of my stay-at-home mom life.
The time came, though, when God was ready to take her away from my front lines. She got a new job to support her family and I felt empty again.
Sure enough God sent another gal. Conveniently our children attend the same school, so we can meet at drop off. Conveniently we can meet at the school’s church nursery so our younger children can play while we talk and dig deep into God’s Word.
I can make a difference for God’s kingdom horizontally, even when I don’t think I have a spare moment. God equips and makes a way for us to serve Him, if we’re willing. When we serve where He’s called us, we may never know the effect it will have on generations to come. Likewise, when we sit idly and do not seek to serve, we won’t know the ramifications of our disobedience.
We can make a difference in the lives of those around us—transforming communities—one relationship at a time.