A few days ago, I found myself rushing down the hallway of Urshan College. As I frantically tried to keep three of my children from running in separate directions, I hardly noticed a passing student. In the moment, I wondered if I appeared rude, but just like that, I was on to the next task—stopping my three-year-old from running into my husband’s office while he was in a meeting.
I am ashamed to admit there have probably been countless other times where I might have missed an opportunity to smile or minister to a passing individual like this, simply because I was distracted by my current “ministry” known as motherhood. I often find that my mind is racing in the moment, with little time to think about anything else—because motherhood never really stops.
Before children, I thought I had all the fruit of the Spirit taken care of. Little did I know the fruit “patience” had never truly been tested in my life! Now I find myself praying at 4:00 am, but not for something super-spiritual. No, I just want the baby to go back to sleep! This is usually followed by afternoon prayer for multiple kids to fall asleep at the same time. I just want to enjoy a cup of coffee without having to reheat it!
Motherhood has caused me to neglect fasting and personal devotions. Most church services over the last seven years have turned my attention from the altar to the nursery. I have struggled with falling asleep during late-night prayer and have felt ashamed, wondering if God was disappointed at the way I was living. Then I realized the joy of being able to minister into my children’s lives through morning devotions.
God understands my failures; this season of life-training my children to pray with me is most important, not the amount of time spent in prayer. They often take turns climbing on my lap, their little sticky hands holding mine. I can feel them watching me as I pour out my heart to a God they know answers prayer and cares about every stubbed toe and broken toy. This is the beauty of my life now, speaking to God through the lives of my children.
Most days my human nature wants to spend the day baking like Betty Crocker and have a home that looks as if it belongs on the cover of a magazine. My spiritual nature, however, knows my children are going to learn what is most important from the example I am showing them. My family is the most important ministry I will ever be given. The moments that leave me feeling the happiest are when my children tell me they love me, and that I am the best mom in the world! When I hear their little voices praying for pizza night to come early or see them read the Bible, I am reminded how beautiful it is to raise children. The very ministry that completely exhausts me also completely inspires me to become a better person.
Before motherhood I was confidant in who I was because my hair was fixed perfectly and I had time to pick an outfit in which I felt amazing. I laugh now at all the time I spend putting together the perfect outfit, and the bottles of hairspray I went through to achieve “perfection.” While that season of life was wonderful, I now feel confident in myself when I see my children learning and becoming inspired to follow Jesus. I have that “mom” hairstyle I promised myself I would never succumb to, and often pull random clothing items out of my closet with the hope they will look nice on my new “mom” figure. Some things in life are now not as important as they used to be. My hope now is that my children see past the imperfect mom and see the God on whom she relies for strength and wisdom.
Motherhood is a ministry that will follow me for the rest of my life; this season of raising little children will only last for a short while. Some days seem like an eternity and leave me feeling weary and tearful. This ministry is still worth it—and will be my lifelong and most important achievement. There is beauty and joy in this season of motherhood that I will never have the opportunity to be part of again. God has given me an amazing opportunity for ministry if I will be patient enough to hold on and enjoy it in the midst of the chaos. For now, just making it through the store without hiding behind the toilet paper display as my toddler decides to have a meltdown will surely develop the fruit of the Spirit in me for future ministry opportunities.
Written by: Yolanda Reid. She is a stay-at-home mother. She enjoys witnessing the beauty of life through the eyes of her four children. Her hobbies include reading, strong coffee, and couponing. In her spare time, she serves alongside her husband, David, at Urshan College/Urshan Graduate School of Theology in Florissant, Missouri.