I realized when I became a mom there were as many different moms as there were chocolates…maybe more. There were moms who sold Tupperware, moms who ran museums, moms who cut felts for church projects, moms who ran marathons, moms who homeschooled baby Einsteins. And me? I knew raising three little boys was a ministry; I intended to do a stellar job.
But once the saints caught on to my zeal, they eagerly began scripting my ministry. I was inundated with how-to's: how to cook, how to can, how to crochet everything (even diapers), how to run home businesses, how to dye rugs, even how to raise llamas.
But those scripts began to conflict with what I believed God had asked me to do. I finally put the well-wishing saints on voicemail and said I would get back to them in 18 years.
1. Mind Your Own Ministry
Psalm 33:3 says, "Sing a new song unto the Lord." It's a new song, not your grandmother's, not your sister's, not your neighbor's. Just because your grandmother strained gluten through cheesecloth every Friday and mopped all the floors down on her hands and knees with a toothbrush doesn't mean this is God's pilot for your ministry. God asked Moses at the start of his ministry, "What is that in your hand?" Exodus 4:2. I realized God had placed in my hand three children with an unquenchable love for reading. Once a week the boys and I enjoyed library story time, with stacks of books, bobbing heads and happy smiles.
2. Don't Measure Your Ministry With Others' Measuring Rods
In order to do some things correctly, I realized I couldn't do everything. While others canned bushels of fruit and veggies, I "canned" the whole thing and in a fit of exhaustion launched my canning jars at a local recycle bin, uttering, "eat peaches, fast, boys, faster…" Some days, success to my little men and me meant only getting through the day without a tantrum—theirs or mine.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 reminds us, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days." It doesn't say you will find it today or even this week. Just because your ministry seems to be on a slow roast doesn't mean it isn't indeed cooking. Missionaries for God have at times waited for generations to see even small results from their work.
3. Get Godly Mentors
Mine were Sylvia and Margaret. Sylvia was blind. Well, not really, but she was visually impaired in that she was unable to see the piles on the counters, runny noses, or how incapable I was. Her far-sightedness made her only good for seeing what God would do. And the other mentor, Margaret, was deaf. Well, not entirely, but she had selective speaking and hearing impediments. She would only speak encouragement, and she would only hear good. Because both were seasoned Christian moms, I begged them to come weekly. Moses needed someone to hold both his arms, and Sylvia and Margaret held mine. They may have gone home and prayed wildly; but they repeatedly convinced me God and I were capable.
4. Expect Copy Cats
God is in the Xerox business. The little kindergartner who timidly held my hand just went to academy and asked me to drop him off a block before school. The baby I read Winnie the Pooh to read his own third-grade chapter book tonight, and Mr. Middle man just got a letter of good marks from the governor. My ministry has literally matured beyond me. In fact, God and I have a three-fold chance of duplicating the ministry as my little men grow to form their own personal missions. Because heaven is in the Xerox business it's exciting to know this ministry will likely outlive me and hopefully outdo me. Thank God; ditto that.