Ministry work… I think this is an area that is constantly changing over the course of our lives, depending on whatever ‘season’ of life we happen to be in. And hopefully, that fact should take some pressure off of many of us. Out of the goodness of our hearts, and out of a desire to be obedient to the Lord, we take on many roles or projects with the idea of… serving. Many of us are constantly wondering, What are my spiritual gifts? Where does God want me using them? What should I be involved in?
I felt it on my heart to cover this topic to make sure you’re aware that when you’re in your motherhood season, THAT is your number-one ministry. That is what God is asking you to do right now, in these precious years. If you forsake these tasks at home, for the sake of taking on service roles elsewhere, you have failed to prioritize the role that you are most needed in.
As I stated in the ‘Turn it off!’ entry, we are to constantly stay aware of keeping our priorities in the right order. For homemakers, it’s:
- God (Your relationship with Him, not your church-service works.)
- Anything else that fits in below the first 4
Serving in your church or elsewhere is definitely a wonderful thing to do so long as you are not trying to handle a very time-demanding role that ends up intruding on your family’s needs. It is perfectly ok to pass on some of the larger, more involved roles right now… there will be time later that you can choose these heavier tasks. But we also should still maintain a heart for serving others, just as our Lord modeled. So now we’re back to the original question – How do we fit it in, so as not to usurp the first four priorities?
The answer? We serve with our children. While you have young ones at home, seeking out opportunities that you can do alongside your children is an optimal choice and a perfect way to start planting the ‘serving others’ seed in your children. This also helps snuff out any ‘me, myself, and I’ mentality that might be lurking in ourselves or our children. Just being aware of the needs of others will help you start seeing service opportunities. Here’s a few ideas to get you started, however I am really just scratching the surface here… the main idea is to realize that ministry work does not have to be formally organized in any way. It’s simply helping others when you see a need:
–Take a meal to a family with a new baby or that is undergoing a stressful situation. Be sure to involve your kids with this (they can help make the meal and carry the dishes up to the family’s front door. For little ones, you can give them a bag of rolls to carry. They will feel so important!)
–Be on the lookout for anyone you know that could use help with yard work. My husband has started bringing our son with him when he helps out with his parents’ yard.
–Do something as simple as walking around your local park or neighborhood with some heavy-duty gloves and black trash bags and clean up the area. You would be amazed at how much better it will look after even just an hour’s work.
–Bring your kids with you when you deliver a bouquet of flowers or ‘sunshine’ gift to someone who needs to see some smiling faces. Showing up with a plate of freshly baked muffins can totally brighten a friend’s day.
–Try to find places that will take younger volunteers. We have been able to find a few places like food banks that allow younger children to participate. The time slots are usually only a few hours, and the kids get to see the results of how much they helped pack up for the people who will be receiving the food. Often the food bank will provide a printed handout of how many meals the volunteer group helped to provide during their time slot. You can do this with a group or just as a family.
–Visit a senior center. I have a good friend that faithfully does this every week with her five young children (all 12 years old or younger). They visit with the residents, pray with them, play piano for them, or simply hold hands with them as they are walking down the hallways. Can you imagine the joy that is brought to these sweet older souls by this kind act? And the hearts of my dear friend’s children are growing compassion, patience, and reverence for their elders. Additionally, my friend said that this experience has deepened her children’s understanding of the importance and blessing of having a tight family bond, as they see some of these residents without much interaction with their own families.
–Offer a couple of hours of childcare to a new/overwhelmed mom. Tell her to take a snooze, take a shower, or simply, do nothing at all! And while you’re at it, load her dishwasher for her. You and your kids can snuggle her baby and do puzzles with her other little ones while she gets some well-needed rest.
Whether you are young or old, involving yourself in serving others gets you out of the ‘it’s all about me’ mentality, and instead brings you into a place where you start thinking of those around you. I think this is so needed in our children’s hearts. So make the most out of your ministry time… You will please God, humbly serve others, and disciple your children all at the same time.