Missional Motherhood Study: Week 4

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This last Monday in group we mainly talked about Gloria’s take on mothering being a ministry of the priesthood. She references the Old Testament priesthood. The old sacrificial system involved one man, the High Priest, entering the Most Holy Place once a year to make atonement for the people’s sins (and is own) using animal sacrifices. This was the basis for the old covenant God made with his people. It was the provision God enabled so his people could draw near to him in a limited way. But this old way of sacrifice was also a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate plan to make final atonement for his people through the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He instituted a better covenant and his sacrifice was more effective. Since Jesus was a perfect High Priest he could sacrifice himself, and his death would be sufficient for all eternity.

It is on this basis that now we each have direct and unlimited access to God through our great High Priest Jesus. And because of this we are all priests ourselves:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9

Now God calls each of us a priest; he qualifies us for the priesthood through Christ’s priesthood. This is where Gloria brings our everyday mothering into perspective as an act of the priesthood we are apart of. In her book, Gloria connects the incense offered by the priest in the tabernacle to the prayers of a mother being a fragrant offering to the Lord. We go before God on behalf of our children to offer up our incense of prayers. God has had mercy on our children by providing a priest in the next room offering up prayers for them. Mothering is part of our priesthood.

Moral Failures in Ministry and My Social Media

Not long ago, I heard about a pastor who committed adultery. This same man also started a flourishing homeless ministry. Though he did step down from the pastorate, he would not step down from his leadership position in the homeless ministry — a decision that caused many of his employees to either cover for him or to leave the ministry altogether.

News like this is hardly shocking anymore, because it has become so common. And though it didn’t shock me to hear this, it did sadden me and stir my thoughts about the growing disconnect between our public and private lives.

Read the rest at Desiring God >>

The Daily Work of the Spirit

Growing up in the church I was familiar with ministry nights. I also grew up experiencing the full gamut of Christian conferences and retreats. These events included extended times of prayer and worship accompanied by serene guitar strums and low lighting. Sensing the presence of the Holy Spirit felt as effortless as the melodies falling softly on my ears. These felt like special times when God would reveal himself to me in my stillness, and the Spirit would convict me of sin and help me set my sights on Christ.

These organized events can be refreshing and beneficial, but I’ve realized I should be seeking ministry from the Holy Spirit at all times. The Spirit’s ministry doesn’t have to be still, quiet, peaceful, and at a scheduled time. The Holy Spirit works in the mundane everyday moments of life — the nitty-gritty daily grind.

Read the rest at Desiring God >>

The Hidden Ministry of Motherhood

In between “Mama, I want a snack” and baby squeals, with fists pounding on the high chair, I check my numbers online. How many views today on the blog? Did anyone comment on my Facebook post? Any new bloggers out there click the like button? Does anyone read this stuff besides my parents?

These thoughts seem innocent, but I know at times they come from a heart desiring notice and recognition for myself. I’m often baffled by this strong desire to be known and be seen. Maybe it’s because the role I play as a mom is a hidden one. My main ministry is confined to four walls. I don’t get a paycheck, time off, a promotion, or a raise like my husband. I don’t always get immediate results from my efforts, unless you want to count a shiny toilet and children clothed and fed as an accomplishment (trust me, it is).

This is not to say moms can’t work outside the home in various measures and get a paycheck somewhere, but the main role God calls us to as wives and mothers is our home and family. God made women to bear and nurture life and men to provide for and protect the lives of women and children. The heart disposition in these matters manifests itself in where our priorities lie.

The calling God places on women often seems like a hidden role compared to the men around us. And yet we are still equal before God in dignity and value…

Read more at desiringGod.org >>

Close to the Heart of Christ

When I was younger I wanted to be a missionary. I had idealistic dreams of living somewhat rustically, learning a new language, and being in a far off land sharing and living the Gospel everyday. I went on three short-term mission trips, read many books on missions and missionaries, and went to hear missionary’s speak. Overseas missions work still has a place in my heart, but the Lord rerouted my life and kept whispering in my ear along the way.

Every time I picked up a brochure about overseas missions work I felt a gentle nudge of no from the Lord. I didn’t understand, but I listened. He kept showing me hints of His plan for me instead. The hints pointed in the direction of being in the ministry, but not in the way I imagined it. My part would be a supportive role; a hidden role at times. The Lord pointed me in the direction of marriage, but I was afraid of my gifts being squelched. I guess I liked the limelight more than I thought. Maybe I wanted a little more recognition.

No luck there. I finally met someone and the Lord smashed all my preconceived ideas of marriage and invited me to follow him, my Shepherd, into the uncharted territory of love and commitment. I put up a decent fight, but God is a much better fighter than I; he always wins. He wins, because he loves me and knows what’s best for me…I just needed to believe it.

My Unseen Ministry Opportunity

I married this ‘someone’ and realized this was my ministry: to support and help my husband in his already established ministry. His business is also a ministry by spreading the Gospel through art and music. We even went on a music tour/missions trip together last summer to Poland. This summer he will be going with a few other men to tour Europe on an outreach.

My ministry has also expanded to motherhood. I’m on the greatest mission field in my home as my husband and I start a family. I have the greatest influence on my son (and future children.) I’m not just my son’s mother. I’m his teacher, counselor, trainer, and evangelist. I have the opportunity to share Jesus with my son every day for the rest of his life. I get a unique opportunity to mold a human life. Right now it’s just nursing, diapers, and naps, but soon he will understand more and I can slowly teach and share with him. I am still living the Gospel every day.

I was naive to think my only way of living and sharing the Gospel was overseas. Every day I lay down my life for my son by changing another poopy diaper. Jesus washed his disciples feet, I wash my son’s bottom; both an act of humility and servant hood. By putting my son first I’m showing him and others that Jesus put others first by dying on the cross. He did not think of his own convenience or comfort and neither should I. Every day I deny myself these two things, I’m pointing to something much greater than I.

Mother Missionary

Make no mistake motherhood is a mission field. It is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard to think of others first and it’s hard to have almost the same routine everyday, scrub the same toilet every week (or more), wash the same dishes every day, do the same laundry every day, and the list goes on. My ministry is as hard and rigorous as training to be an overseas missionary. It’s hard, because it’s refining and character building for me. It’s hard to not always get recognition or a medal for what I do, but that’s part of my ministry as a wife and mom. I’m serving behind the scenes to make others great. This lifestyle is as close to the heart of Christ as one can get.