The Ministry of Being a Mother

Mom and Infant
I have been thinking about a story that a friend told me a few years ago. She had spent some time with a young woman who had several small children, was very involved in her church teaching youth, a woman’s Bible study, a home school co-op, and her husband was the youth pastor. She often spoke of her “ministry opportunities” and how fulfilling they were. As my friend spent more time with the young woman this is what she observed: Her home was cluttered all the time and not very clean. Her stove had food burned on all the burners and her children were unruly. During one of her visits the children spent much of the time jumping on the couch!

This young woman was a “stay at home mom“, who wasn’t really home! Because she wasn’t home, her home was not in order, and her children were not being consistently disciplined and trained. This precious, well-meaning woman did not understand that keeping her home and training her children was the most important ministry she could have.

I have had many conversations with moms who have expressed that they are not “doing anything“. They want to be “involved in ministry“. They do not understand that being home with their children means that they are in “full time ministry“…and that every morning when their feet touch the floor, they are on the “mission field“!

Being a stay at home mom will not look the same for each woman. Our life circumstances are all different. Some of us home school, while others have children in school. Some of our husbands work from home, while others leave for the day. Some of us have babies or toddlers, while some have older children. It does change with each season of life.

My mom was a stay at home mom. While we were in school, she was always involved in some kind of ladies Bible study and/or teaching one. She also made and decorated cakes to earn extra money. I don’t think I ever remember there being a time that I would come home from school and she wasn’t there. If we were home, so was she. My dad liked to have dinner at a particular time each night. It was always ready. Our home was always in order. I don’t think I remember her ever being so committed to anything outside our home that she wasn’t available to be a “keeper at home”..”

Mom and Toddler

I had dreams of being married and living the kind of life my Mom did….going to Bible studies while my kids were in school, being there for them when they got home. But my life has been different in many ways even though I am a “stay at home mom” as well. It is different because God decided that our children would be home schooled! That meant I was home most of the time. If my children were going to learn what they needed to learn, and accomplish what they need to get accomplished, I needed to be at home. As they grew up they involved in sports and some other activities, but the bulk of our time was spent at home because the job of home schooling…and doing it effectively…was huge. On top of that, I still had a home to keep in order and meals to make. I don’t mean a PERFECT HOME or PERFECT MEALS.  I mean and ORDERLY HOME and MEETING THE PHYSICAL NEEDS OF MY FAMILY. I found that the at home “mothering” season of life for me  meant that some of what I might have wanted to do  had to be set aside for awhile – and most of the time I really didn’t mind that. It has been for a season… not forever.

A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to take a seminary class. Because my husband works for the school I would not have to pay for the class. “What a great opportunity”, I thought. So I registered. Each week I would make my way up to the seminary for my class. I loved the learning and the interaction I had in the classroom setting. I enjoyed the reading. When I got home I had papers to write and projects to do. I actually did well in the class and that was a good feeling as well. But there was one problem. I wasn’t available to my family as I should have been. They did not complain–but as the semester moved along I started feeling torn. On the days I had class–I had to leave my children. When I got home–I had to throw dinner together and then spend time doing home work. I kept hearing myself say, “I can’t help you right now. I need to finish this homework” and I knew that my “seminary career” was over…at least for awhile.

Was there anything wrong with taking a seminary class? No! It was just not the right timing for me. I needed to be available to my family. All that said, I must also share that even though there is much sacrifice involved in the “ministry of mothering”, God does provide those “extra” things as well. Times of fellowship with other women, maybe a lunch date here and there, and an encouraging phone call. I enjoy my time of reading books for my own learning and enjoyment, and normally have two books going at one time! I have found that the more I am focused on my God ordained ministry of keeping my home, loving my husband, and loving my children, the more God has blessed and provided for me in ways I never imagined! It is awesome! It is a joy!

Mom and teen

I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So, how do we decide how much to be involved in outside the home?

~ We pray!
We ask God to give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph 1:17).

~ We pray!
We ask God to open our eyes to the calling and privilege it is to be pouring our lives into these people He has placed in our care!

~ We pray!
We ask God for wisdom. We must be willing to sacrifice some of our interests for a season if we must, and embrace the high calling of the ministry of being a mother.

~ We pray!
We take the time to evaluate our life circumstances by asking these questions: Is my home in order (I didn’t say “perfect”, or “spotless”-but is it orderly?) Do I have the time to plan and prepare nutritious meals for my family? When is my husband home? Am I there when he needs/wants me to be there, or am I gone most evenings? Am I able to be consistent with disciplining and training the children, or am I going so much that I don’t have the opportunity to address things most of the time? Do I find more fulfillment outside my home, than I do being in it? IF SO, do I understand what God has called me to, and what a privilege it is? Do I spend time with other women that encourage me in my ministry at home, or do they encourage me to be out of my home and to be discontent with my life there. Do I regularly watch those TV shows that portray husbands as “idiots” and children as a burden?

~We pray!
Finally, after answering all of these questions…what time do I have left for outside activities with the ages of my children, during the season I am in, and in my life circumstances? Do I see the opportunities to minister that come to my door? Are there opportunities to minister in some way as a family, or with my children, so that I am not taking much time away from them?

What are we teaching the next generation? Are we teaching them, by our attitudes and the way we are living, those things that are most important… (Titus 2:3-5) are we teaching them that to love our husbands, love our children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, and to be subject to our husbands are our most important ministry?!

AND–That when we do not see this as our privilege and our calling…and choose to live it out–“THE WORD OF GOD IS DISHONORED!”

I believe if we do not see this…if we do not walk in obedience…the consequences will not only be great in our own lives, but we will also miss an opportunity to train our children to be a light in this world.Gina

Today, Embracing Beauty is honored to welcome a guest post by Gina Smith.  As Gina has read and studied what the Bible says in Titus 2 about the role of “older women”, she has been  praying about how to fulfill that role! On her blog “Chats With And Old Lady” she  shares what she is learning and she strives to challenge others the way God is challenging her. You can visit her at