Sometimes when a new mom is bound to the house, buried in diapering, feedings, and sleep schedules, she'll start to wonder what she's really contributing to the world, and more specifically to God's kingdom. Of course, she realizes the importance of her role at hand, but that doesn't stop the thought that maybe she should be doing more. The dreams she had for ministry before motherhood easily become elusive.
Another mom may look around and sees her friends doing "big things" for God - starting non-profits and ministries, becoming Christian entrepreneurs, fostering and adopting children, getting involved in social justice issues, or joining mission trips overseas - and she, too, wonders if she's doing enough. She feels like the constraints of motherhood are holding her back from more important work.
I've been both of these moms. I've chased dreams trying to satisfy the nagging feeling that motherhood just isn't enough.
As Christians, we all have one calling on our lives, and it's called The Great Commission. No matter where we are in the world, what season we're in, what age we are, or what our circumstances hold, Jesus has called each of to fulfill The Great Commission in that place. Matthew 28 explains The Great Commission:
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:16-20)
Our command in these verses is to go and make disciples then baptize and teach them. It's the words "go" and "of all nations" that hang us up. This implies somewhere out there, far away. How are we to make disciples of all nations when we can barely get to the grocery store?
The many ways in which God has positioned mothers to be faithful witnesses of Christ might just reveal how His command to “go” might involve them in some of the places they already are.
Here are 10 profound ways God uses mothers to fulfill The Great Commission:
I think moms undervalue the tremendous opportunity they have to disciple their children. For eighteen years, we have the opportunity to teach our children about Jesus in intentional and strategic ways. Our children have an up-close view of what a relationship with Jesus looks like through our examples to them. This is The Great Commission, and it has eternal value. Discipling our children impacts future generations.
Our homes are mission fields. When we see them this way, we see how maintaining a spiritual climate leads our families and our guests to experience Jesus. A spiritual climate is one in which peace reigns. Despite the trials a family might be going through, there is a sense of stability and love. God can use every interaction in our homes to bring people to Him.
Your children may have friends visit your house who do not have Christian parents or Christian home life. Or maybe they do, but still could benefit from hearing about the love of Jesus. When these friends visit your home, it's an opportunity to share the gospel with them. Simply praying before meals, reading Bible stories to young children, or intersecting conversations about faith minister to your children's friends.
When we think of The Great Commission, many of us may just think of people groups in remote villages in Africa. We think of homeless people. We think of the most marginalized among us. Yes, these people need Jesus and need to hear His Good News. However, I've found that people right around me, on practice fields, at the swimming pool, in dance lessons, and at preschool class parties are just as broken and need Jesus just as much.
There is an overlooked group of people who need Jesus, and moms find themselves most often in these places and positions to minister to them. Befriending other moms in our communities who don’t know Jesus is a wonderful way to fulfill The Great Commission.
Inviting people into our homes is one of the easiest ways to show Jesus' love. Whether it's likeminded small group friends, or a fellow mom from your child's preschool class without a faith background, practicing hospitality allows us to share a Christian environment with others.
This is one of the most practical ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus. When someone is sick, having a baby, or simply going through a difficult life circumstance, taking them a meal shows sincere love and care. The meal itself may not speak of Jesus, but it helps to build relationship which opens up other opportunities for conversation about who He is.
Other women need your voice. They need your experiences, perspective, and insight to help them in their own lives. Bible studies are a wonderful place to share your story. It doesn't have to be a Bible study with only other moms. In fact, multi-generational studies or even leading a study with younger women is even better.
We live in a college town, and one of the advantages of that is that I'm never short of babysitters. I often have high school and college-aged girls in my home to help with my children. Every time one of these young women comes into our home, I think of it as an opportunity to minister to her even if I only have a few minutes. I ask her about her life, family, and school. I try to be strategic in building a relationship that could possibly lead to a more structured mentoring relationship or just an opportunity to speak truth into her life.
In most homes in our culture, children are our focus. We provide for their every need and many of their wants, including opportunities for them to explore extracurricular activities and sports. These activities take up a lot of time.
However, what if we valued serving our community and church in the same way we value learning new sports and skills? Doing service projects with our children teaches helps them to become less entitled and more grateful. It opens their worlds to other situations that are less ideal, which build in them a heart of compassion for others. It teaches them how to build relationships with people so they might have the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus.
In the past ten years, writing on social media and blogs have become an exciting way for Christian moms to share their stories, experiences, and Jesus. Although this is not something that interests all moms because it takes a lot of time, writing from home is a wonderful ministry opportunity.
Motherhood gives women a unique opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus in places in our society that are unique to that role. When we're tempted to dismiss these places because they're not marginalized enough, we must remember that everyone needs Jesus, even the more advantaged, and we must use our positions as mothers to serve these people.
In the New Testament, a "disciple" is a follower of Jesus. All of us who have accepted Jesus' gift of salvation and given our lives to Him are His disciples. When we look in the New Testament, there are certainly disciples who traveled all over telling people about Jesus. However, not all disciples did. Some stayed where they were in their communities and towns.
When we read Acts 1:8 along with Matthew 28:19-20, we see that Jesus did not tell us to go to all these places. Instead, He simply tells us that we will be His witnesses wherever we are - from where we are now, in our homes (represented by Jerusalem in this verse) to any other place He sends us.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
This, however, is the key: He sends us. In Matthew 28:18 Jesus makes it clear that He is the one with all the authority. We do not decide where we are used. Instead, it is Jesus' job to lead us to where He wants us to go.
This is why we cannot compare ourselves to other moms or judge other moms for decisions they make concerning missions, service, or careers. Instead, we must trust that Jesus is leading them in the call He has for them.
This is the profound way God uses mothers in The Great Commission.
Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, www.TripleBraidedLife.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Xavier Mouton Photographie