I want you to think about this. Motherhood is ministry. In fact, the ministry of motherhood is so important that even God Himself came through a woman. Jesus was the seed of the Holy Spirit placed inside a mother’s womb. He was all man and all God. Yet God gave the most important task of raising the Son of God to a woman. To a mother. He carried Him in her womb. She gave birth to Him in Bethlehem. And she raised Him up.
God entrusted the most important ministry to mothers. Yes, fathers play a critical role. They are invaluable in shaping a child into the adults they become. But I think we often belittle the ministry of motherhood to the point where we can’t even see its value as ministry.
We think of motherhood as a stepping-stone to greater ministry, but what if it is the greatest ministry?
What if it is the most important work? It’s taken me a long time to come to this revelation. It’s taken a long time to heal my heart to embrace motherhood as the ministry it is.
There is so much to my story, and if you stick around long enough, I’ll share everything. But for today, I want to focus on what happened after my daughter was born in 2015. At the time I was working for a large Christian non-profit. I loved my job. I loved the work I did. I had gotten a huge promotion right before I got pregnant with her. (She’s now our middle child.) It was the height of my career. I finally felt as if I was doing something I was good at. I felt like I was doing something I was made to do.
After I had her and came back to work, several changes were made in my department, and they moved my position to another area. I thought it would still be the same, but it wasn’t. The nature of the job changed so much. I started struggling at work because I didn’t know what was expected of me in this new area. Add on top of this a deep longing to be home with my kids and I floundered.
I was dealing with intense sleep deprivation. I needed to pump every 2 hours to keep my milk supply for a baby who refused to drink a bottle during the day. She would instead nurse all evening and all night. I literally could not put her down because she was so hungry, she would just eat and eat.
This caused a lot of stress at home. I’m sure my oldest son felt the weight of this. Every morning was a fight to get him up and to school. Every evening it was a fight to get him back to sleep. I felt like my days were just a blur of little fights.
My work started to suffer. I would have good days and bad days. Some days I could focus really well. I would knock my projects out of the park. Others, while I sat in the pumping room trying to get milk for my baby, I just wept. I felt like I was failing all around. And I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling. I had to work. We needed the money for the budget because my husband didn’t make enough to pay for all the bills. There was so much pressure all around. I felt like if I didn’t work, then I’d be a failure.
I longed to be home with my kids. It was a longing I had never felt before. It was a deep desire to be the one to train my children in the way they should go. My son was four when his sister was born. I had missed out on four years of his life pursuing a career.
I know everyone’s calling is different. I never felt called to be a stay at home mom. I always wanted to do something great for the world. I wanted to make my mark. But what if the mark God wanted me to make was different than what I imagined? What if the ministry I thought I was called to wasn’t the main thing? You see I have always had a heart for children. I just didn’t realize the intense love I would have for my own children.
I remember making comments to my husband about quitting my job. They were flippant, “I should just quit” sort of comments. Things had gotten bad at work. My output was inconsistent, and I was having meetings with my boss and HR to remediate things. I would feel like I was doing better, but it just wasn’t enough. I’m not a quitter. I push through when things get tough. I figure things out. I just couldn’t seem to figure out how to do any better than I was. And when you come home from work crying daily, you know things need to change.
I spent a lot of time in prayer. A lot. God was working something in my heart. I thought I was doing ministry by doing the work I was doing. But He wanted me doing a different ministry. He wanted me focused on the ministry of motherhood instead.
I remember coming home one day and having a serious talk with my husband. I remember asking him if I could quit my job. I was terrified. It was the scariest thing ever to leave a well-paying job with no real plan. I had did the math and figured out how much we needed to make to cover the bare minimum bills. We didn’t have a lot of money saved. He didn’t make enough to cover all the bills. But we took a step in faith.
I ended up getting a job working part-time at a drop in childcare facility where I could bring both of my kids to work with me. Six months later I also added a part-time job working from home writing social media posts for businesses. It was different. It wasn’t what I imagined. But it was exactly what we needed.
We made changes to our lifestyle. We moved to a cheaper (and smaller) apartment when our lease was up. We stopped going out to eat as often. We reigned in our budget and by the grace of God it worked.
Some people would look at what we did and say we were crazy. But people have done crazier things for the ministry God called them to. Some people dropped what they were doing just to follow Jesus. They left their work in an instant to be where God wanted them to be.
Motherhood put me at the feet of Jesus in a way that nothing else in life could’ve done. It caused me to trust in Him in ways I cannot put words to. Letting go of all the accolades. Letting go of the praises of man. Laying aside my desires for the needs of another. These are all some of the lessons I have learned since seeing motherhood as ministry.
It’s hard when you work, day in and day out and never get so much as a “good job”. It’s hard when you’re used to hearing “great job on that project”. But instead I get kisses and smiles. I get hand-drawn pictures and surprises daily. And I get the peace of knowing that my children are learning the most important things. They are learning to love God and love others. And that’s how I know that what I am doing is ministry.
Leaving my job to stay home with my kids enabled me to see motherhood for what it really is. It took a long time to get there. I had a lot of healing to do. I had a lot of pride to overcome. I had a lot of fears to work through.
It was challenging to go from a highly productive environment to one where I just snuggled, read books, took walks, and cleaned the house. When I looked around I would often see very little evidence that I had done anything. The only evidence was often that the kids were still alive and they had clothes on. And sometimes that’s enough.
Motherhood is ministry. And whether you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, or a work-at-home mom, you need to see your role as mother in the right light. God’s word is filled with stories of incredible mothers who loved their children. Motherhood isn’t a stepping-stone to ministry. It is ministry. It’s time we as mothers embrace it.
Join the revolution. Healthy mom revolution is about being a healthy mom in our mind, body and spirit. God has called us to the greatest ministry.