This past Sunday was the official day of celebrating mothers where many a mom was honored and celebrated for all she does for her family. I too enjoyed being served by my two eldest kids and enjoyed seeing their eager faces as they presented me with their handmade cards. I cherish those special thoughtful cards and all that they stand for.
Aside of carrying the title of ‘mom’ I realize that to many I also carry the title of ‘missionary’. Somewhat of a new thing for me and I know that it carries with it certain ideas and maybe even expectations which vary from person to person. As I connect and talk with other missionary moms out here I realize that often these women feel the tension of ‘official’ ministry roles as they also try to carry out their call of ministry in their homes. It is easy to come under pressure, whether real or perceived, to produce something tangible for ministry that people will value. This is dangerous ground for any Believer who is under grace but I have heard it in the way I speak and feel at times and also in other missionary moms who wonder if they are ‘doing enough’.
Of course, any mom, missionary or not can feel these things so you can identify in some way with my thoughts but I can only share from my own experience which is not meant to discount any other mom’s struggles.
For me, I feel the tension of my own desire and expectations of ministry here in Dar es Salaam. One of them being wanting to learn language a lot faster than I am currently able to do. I have an energetic toddler with me ALL the time (boy do we miss free childcare from Oma and Grandma!). Which means I begin my Swahili class (with my fellow language learner & mom Gretchen who has two of her three children along with her) at 8 am and before I can begin to properly form one Swahili sentence I will have gotten up a couple times to deal with something little miss Eden has gotten into! We have Swahili for 3 hours 3 times a week. I’m thankful that we have a gracious language teacher who applauds our efforts despite slow progress.
“Good fruit” I am learning takes more time than we realize to grow.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” -Zechariah 4:10
I heard my friend, fellow missionary and mom, who recently came from the village to have her second child here in the city say that she struggles with her role here lately and wonders if it is fair that she needs more of her husbands help when they are here to serve others in their community and she wondered if perhaps they should return home and raise their young children first before being in the mission field. Valid questions to consider I suppose.
It just got me thinking and wondering about what is ‘enough’ to validate someone moving overseas to serve Jesus where they believe they are called to be? And is it enough if a mama, for a season, will need to minister more to those little sheep entrusted to her by God than she will be able to ‘out there’? How do we measure results for the Kingdom of God?
I’m no expert but I believe we will be surprised in heaven at how God measures our results for His Kingdom. If obedience is enough for Jesus then it should be enough for us. Obedience to His call.
The call to GO. The call to STAY. The call to WAIT. The call to ACT. The call to SPEAK. The call to BE QUIET. The call to PUBLIC MINISTRY. The call to HIDDEN MINISTRY.
I’m thankful for the challenges and blessings of motherhood. It has been my first mission field for about 8 years now. It has been in this mission field where Jesus has been refining and sanctifying me over and over because mothering well didn’t come naturally to me. I’m sure you are all as shocked as I was at this news! Apparently your sin stays with you into motherhood. Who knew? 😉
At times I wonder if who I am and what I have to offer is enough to validate me being here in Tanzania with the title ‘missionary’. Just as I often wondered if I deserve the gift and title of ‘mom’.
I’m happy to say that slowly I’m realizing that “NO” I do not deserve or have the goods to do or be any of these things. But I know the ONE who does. And He is able to take the feeble sacrifices we offer and make them into a beautiful work for HIS GLORY…which in the end is really the whole point.
FOR HIS GLORY.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9