Recently I was in a discussion with an acquaintance. While our kids played, we hit the various “mom talking points”. Health, kids, their bodily functions, who gets the least amount of sleep, and guess-what-that-stain-is all the while being interrupted by a scream from a child or barking at them to stop whatever torture they were inflicting on a sibling. If you’re a mom to young children, you know this is just an average conversation. But towards the end it turned weird. She started asking me about my faith and what I was doing to further the kingdom.
Caught off guard I half-smiled, turned and gestured to my kids. “4’s a good start, right?” She responded, “No, Allison, c’mon, what have you been doing to get His Word to those that are unchurched? This is just your everyday life, but you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and share God’s love. Don’t be so complacent in your faith, I challenged myself to talk to 3 people I don’t know a week and tell them about Christ. Now I’ve decided to have a babysitting ministry so I can evangelize to the kids and the parents everyday. So…what do you think?”
I was taken back. At first glance I would’ve thought she and I were different denominations, but no, same church body. I decided not to engage and just smile while rounding up my kids and trying to make a graceful exit. I don’t think she understood what she did there. I thought about in the afternoon when I was changing a diaper and nursing the baby. I thought about it while getting my child from school and working with him on his homework. I thought of it at dinner, and at bath time, brushing everyone’s teeth, reading them a story, tucking them into bed, folding clothes, and finally as I turned off lights and went to bed.
All the while the comment made me angry.
Am I not doing enough? Should I do something in the community, drop the kids off and spend a couple hours in the neighborhood? Can I do a ministry on top of everything else? Where would I fit it in?
Something would have to give as I’m stretched so thin as it is now.
That’s the problem with what she said to me. She gave me such immense guilt for not doing what she deemed was enough. I’m not doing a “ministry” outside the home or for people outside my family therefore I’m really not doing anything to further the Gospel.
When did we start having this mentality that living in your vocations is not enough? Talk about “mommy shaming”.
God has given me — and each of us — a job to do right now.
Vocation is the specific way in which you love your neighbor. Right now, my vocation is as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and church member. Our Heavenly Father gives us our vocation to empty ourselves in love for our neighbor, and our neighbor is not always someone outside the faith. It’s whoever needs our help, someone placed in our life.
Our Lord Christ determines our vocations, not us. He determines them, because He saves us and He sets us aside in holy living. Seeking to serve outside what Christ has given us to serve is just a fruit of self-justification.
I’m trying to keep my head down, keep at this huge job I’ve been given. And worrying myself that I haven’t reached every person who does not go to church? That isn’t on my radar.
My “ministry” is not glamorous or unique. It isn’t even what I thought it would look like by this time. I had grand plans that involved so many people and maybe one GIRL and one boy. Nowhere in my equation did I think my work for Him would involve 4 rambunctious boys. Yet, here I am, laughing at their antics and loving the jobs I’ve been given.
It’s sad that to others I haven’t reached my full potential. It’s sad they can’t see my life and work is pleasing to the Lord just as it is. But most importantly, it’s sad that women out there are unnecessarily burdening their fellow sister by telling her “just her vocation” isn’t good enough.
If your neighbor is just your husband, or just your child, you are still doing what the Lord has called you to do. You do not need to leave your house in order evangelize to others. Your work as a mom and wife is pleasing to the Lord just as it is.