Ambassadors, Bread, Fish, and Motherhood

Have you ever struggled to believe in the value of your contribution to your ministry as a mom? This feeling will certainly differ widely among us for many reasons, but from my experience, even though I believe our whole family is called to ministry, once I finish devoting my necessary time and energy to my family, there is not a whole lot left over to pour out elsewhere, meaning that this issue has crossed my mind many times. Some older mothers have told me that it gets easier as kids get older, and from others I have heard that this is not the case. Whatever the future may hold, I know that with 3 kids ages six and under, our normal family life is busy and tiring.

Though I wholeheartedly believe that my first priority aside from abiding in Christ is to love and serve my family, as I’ve wrestled with the issue of my own personal role in ministry, I’ve become convinced that God has me here in Russia for a specific reason. Yes, probably the majority of that reason for now is to support my husband and raise my kids, but I think He has other special things here prepared for me specifically to do too!

By the simple fact that we do not live life in a vacuum but are surrounded by others in community, whether or not we have a big visible ministry responsibility, we have been given gifts and opportunities and people in our lives to purposefully invest in.  I believe that God planned and placed each of us exactly where we are for special and unique purposes.

Some of us might have official ministry roles, and some of us might have a quieter daily-life ministry of keeping our eyes open to the needs around us and looking for open doors to share Christ with friends and neighbors and shopkeepers, etc., but the fact is, we are all ambassadors for Christ! You have been entrusted with vital ministry designed just for you (or you for it), whether or not you get a paycheck with your name on it or ever organize any sort of formal event.

I think it is so important to remember that, yes, we’ve been called as a family unit to our ministries, but also very much so  as individuals to be His ambassadors wherever in the world that we are.  But do you ever find it hard to believe that you are actually contributing much of consequence? All sorts of little lies love to try to plant themselves in my mind along those lines. Things like, “You have such little time, how is anything that you have the time or energy for going to make any sort of difference?” or “With your language abilities, how are they ever going to hear the gospel fully, let alone have their hardest questions answered?” and so on.

Over the past few years, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 has taken on such dear significance to me. I feel like that is exactly what my ministry outside of my home is like at this life stage. I am that kid, with an inconsequential little sack lunch that on its own could do nothing to satisfy the appetites of that overwhelming crowd. But we all know this story so well! In Jesus’ economy, 5 loaves and 2 fishes means a filling meal for 5,000 men, plus even more women and children, and left overs for tomorrow! Why should I let the size of my offering prevent me from giving it to Jesus in faith?

I fully believe that God has given us just enough to offer back to Him to equate to nothing short of a miracle.  We may see results right away, or we may wait a lifetime and never know what was accomplished by our efforts, but we must never forget stories like the feeding of the five thousand, as well beautiful promise like this from God’s word:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:10-11

God can use us to accomplish the miraculous if we humbly yet faithfully give our small offerings to Him by seeking to love our neighbors both in word and deed. The only way we cannot be fruitful is to keep our offering to ourselves, believing them too insignificant for God to use.

How have you felt about your personal call to ministry as a mother? Do you ever struggle with whether or not you are able to contribute anything of worth? What is one thing this week that you can do to offer a fish or loaf to Jesus? Be encouraged friends, God desires to work in great ways through YOU!!!

(Post by: Ashley)


3 Responses to “Ambassadors, Bread, Fish, and Motherhood”

  1. 1 jolenesloan February 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    This was very encouraging, Ashley! Thank you!

  2. 2 Shilo February 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I was thinking about this all day yesterday. The hard part for me as a women is that ministry to my family doesn’t FEEL as fulfilling as ministry outside the home sounds. Ministry to my family feels like just plain hard work and it’s such small bricks I a m laying that sometimes I don’t see the powerful impact I am having. It’s such a blessings when God gives a glimpse.
    That’s not to say that ministry outside the home is wrong. In fact, I find having an outlet even just once a week is vastly encouraging to me.
    I appreciate your perspective a lot because it leaves the amount that we do outside the home and the impact we might have up to HIM, which is how it should be anyway but somehow if we didn’t have littles, we would probably be more dependent on our own abilities and time investments to reap a harvest than we are now when we know, all we have to offer is a the precious gift of TODAY.

  3. 3 Kara Coe February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I’m a little late on this conversation, but I agree that is SO important. Thank you for raising this issue. I think mothering is a very vital ministry, yet it is only part of my calling. And what that actually means is usually something I’m constantly struggling to understand.

    How much ‘else’ can I do? How much should I do? How can I make sure I have energy to engage with my husband in meaningful 🙂 ways? How can I truly engage with my kids instead of trying to escape from them, or just get through the day?

    One big issue is the question of how much engagement our kids need. I think so much of our (my context is American) modern culture puts way too much pressure on moms (and dads) to be everything to our kids, to engage with them every moment and meet every desire as well as need. This is multiplied when we live far from extended family and in communities with few other believers. I believe in a largely ‘free-range’ philosophy from a certain age, when kids are trained and empowered to take responsibility for their own chores, school work, entertaining themselves and even outside playtime. Yet I also more and more feel that I want to be the one teaching them how to treat others, which means that I need to be present even when my kids are playing with each other. Arrgh! What to do?

    Regarding the question of ministry to others, I always have five times the desires as I do capacity. And that’s *after* I’ve given up my biggest passion, which was impossible to pursue in light of our current overseas calling. There are still so many people I’d like to encourage, so many orphans who need attention, so many positive relationships that could lead to the gospel if only I had the time to engage…. Right now I’m considering an 8-week outreach to moms in the neighborhood, yet I’m really struggling to find a time to do it that I know wouldn’t kill me each week. And wondering if I should just instead invite one person at a time over for tea. Praying for wisdom.

    One nugget of wisdom that has been helpful to me is from Debby Thompson, who lived in Eastern Europe for the last 30? years. She said that each one of us is like a boat, with it’s own ‘waterline’ which marks how low it should sit in the water. Boats which are overloaded will be in danger of sinking, but so will boats that are underloaded. And based on the verse that each person should carry her own load, God has given us each unique capacities. Rather than comparing how much we ‘do’ with others, we should ask God for wisdom to know what He made us for.and what He’s calling us to in this season. (Trust me, Ashley, you are in a heavily-loaded season already!) Okay, so on that note, I better stop writing and go make dinner for my hungry kids!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: