Adult Team Blog

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Jesus and Leading Our Children

mother leading child by the hand

This season of life is simple—exhausting, but simple. Between the diaper changes, the newborn feedings, the 2-year-old’s “magical” moments, and finding time to bathe everyone in the house, we have entered a time of basic survival mode.

There are some days when it would be easy to get lost in the sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums, loads of laundry, and singing the ABCs too many times to count and forget who Christ has called me to be in all seasons.

Where is that missionary, the woman who loves to cross cultures, try new things, and share the gospel? Who has time to plan a mission strategy? I can’t even escape my house long enough to meet my neighbors.

I know this season is temporary and motherhood overall brings more opportunities to share Christ than it limits. Yet, even through a temporary season when life and ministry can feel “limited,” it’s good to remember that my calling as a mother is just as important as my calling as a minister and missionary. If anything, the calling of motherhood brings about an important reminder that I am completely in need of Christ’s grace and presence in every moment of my day.

Experience Joy beyond the Surface

flower petal on water's surface

As a college student, I find that my life is characterized by a constant whirlwind of activity. Moving through my day, I am always surrounded by friends, classmates, and professors. But I rarely take the time to get to know these people beyond the surface level. In fact, I could probably recite most conversations I have as if I were reading off a script.

The way the Bible talks about relationships, though, is vastly different from the reality I so often experience. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Being in relationship with others should make everyone stronger and draw everyone involved closer to God. How can we begin cultivating these iron-sharpening-iron relationships?

Start with honesty. When someone asks how you are, it is OK to admit that you are stressed out, scared, or overwhelmed. Moving past surface-level responses, even to basic questions, breaks down the shiny façade we often present to others. This step is so vital to forming authentic relationships that build up one another in Christ.

Share Who You Are

jar of clay

Sharing who we are can be a daunting task. For some, it may come naturally, but for most, it poses a challenge. After all, we are a mix of both God’s image by creation and the fallen reality of sin. Through the grace of God, Christ’s work on the Cross, the power of the Resurrection, and life in the Spirit, we have the potential to shine God’s love in amazing ways. But most of us feel hesitant somehow, perhaps as if the world might judge us as unworthy.

Authentically Honest Relationships

three young women

Recently, one of my friends reached out to me after a few months of us not really contacting each other. Nothing bad had happened between us, but a period of change had come upon us in the form of moving homes, towns, and churches. It’s easy to lose touch with someone we don’t see on a regular basis. We like to convince ourselves that the smartphones ever attached to our hands keep us connected with others. But truthfully, it becomes so much easier to give a person a passing thought (“Oh, I should text her soon.”) and then go about our days until a few months have passed and we wonder what could have happened to the time.

My friend was a bit offended that she hadn’t heard from me since the “Big Move,” and I didn’t blame her. Promises of keeping in touch and hanging out were made but not kept, as they should have been. Instead, I told myself that she was really busy moving and acclimating to a new time in her life so I should give her a little breathing room. And honestly, I had several not-always-pleasant changes going on in my life as well.

Tell Me about Your Country: 4 Ways to Help Refugees Feel Loved and Welcomed

Asian boy at laptop

Kelsey Smith has met a lot of refugees, but she remembers 1 boy in particular. “He was 14, fresh off the plane from his country of asylum, spoke almost no English, and no one else in the program spoke his language,” said Kelsey, who works with a nonprofit organization that helps refugees begin to build a life in the United States. “He appeared tired, dispirited, and completely uninterested in participating in our activities.” She couldn’t figure out how to connect with him.

Then 1 day, Kelsey walked by the computer lab and saw that he was using Google Earth to look at his home country. “I sat down beside him and used gestures and simple words to ask him questions about his country, and that was the happiest I’d ever seen him,” she said. “His face lit up as he used what few words he had to tell me about his home.”

Reaching out to refugees is important—and making them feel at home is vital, Kelsey said. She offered several ways to interact with refugees to make them feel loved and welcomed in their new country:

Invest in Gospel-Centered Relationships

South Asian women

I got out of my taxi and walked down the street, stopping at Rajani’s* gate. Rajani, a neighbor named Swetha*, and their friend Lukshmi* were talking. I said hello, but what Rajani said next caught me off guard.

“Emily, tell Lukshmi about Jesus!”

My neighbors Rajani and Swetha aren’t followers of Jesus, so this was the last thing I expected to be asked.

“Well, what do you want to know?” I replied.

It turned out that Lukshmi was writing a report for school on Jesus and needed some facts. About an hour later, the girls gathered in my apartment and they drew henna tattoos on me while I shared the gospel.

I gave Lukshmi a Bible and prayed for the girls. I haven’t seen Lukshmi again, but I see Rajani and Swetha whenever I’m out in my neighborhood.

I make it a point to stop at Rajani’s gate and talk with her anytime she’s outside to build my relationship with her. Before that night, I had told her about Jesus many times but was never sure if she understood. The fact that Rajani recognized me as someone who knew about Jesus was a step in the right direction.

What I Learned before Turning 30: Investing in Others

young women talking over coffee

I turned 30 this month. When I turned 29, I searched for one of those “30 Things to Do before Turning 30” lists. However, my search left me uninspired; therefore, I decided to write my own “30 Things I Learned before Turning 30” list. One of the main concepts that came from this was that of investing in other people. The following are a few excerpts from my list:

Growing Deeper in Relationships

Growing Deeper

Picture this: You’ve just met someone new and you’re really excited to get to know them and become friends. Over the next few weeks, you learn more about this person, but in small fragments. You find yourself wishing you were already close friends with this person because you can tell how wonderfully you would get along and how much you would have in common. But it just seems as if you’ll never get there.

Have you ever felt this way? I have. There’s even an unofficial word for it. John Koenig created an online dictionary of words to fill in “holes” in the English language—to give us a sense that we are not alone in some of the ways we feel and think. Koenig describes the “frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone” as adronitis. Do you feel better after hearing that a word semi-exists for this feeling? The thought calms me.

Where 2 or 3 Are Gathered

friends on a bench

I am so blessed and grateful to have loving friends who take time to be intentional and invest in my life. These Christ-centered relationships are incredibly meaningful and encourage me to pour into others. My sweet friend Anna, who is a junior in college, is passionate about building these kinds of authentic relationships, so I asked her to share some of her thoughts and experiences:

Why do you think it is important to grow deeper in relationships?

“Thinking back to my middle school [years], high school [years], and even first years at college, I see how much I was poured into. I’m so grateful to have had such incredible people around me that wanted to invest in me, but I also know the gaps that I felt were not as invested in. I needed people who would ask questions until I was finally open and honest about what was truly going on. I needed people who would send that quick text of encouragement that perfectly matched what I was dealing with. I needed older mentors who would prioritize spending time with me because they wanted to be available for me.”

What are some ways you intentionally invest in friendships?

It’s Worth Your Time: Reach out to Refugees

reaching out to refugees

Have you ever moved to a new place where you didn’t know anyone? It seems as if it takes forever to find your way around and get used to new roads, grocery stores, and schools. Without family or friends nearby, it’s easy to withdraw.

Then it happens. A new colleague at work or person at the church you’re visiting offers some advice or recommends his or her most trusted mechanic. Life gets easier and you settle in. While we can probably all identify with this experience at one time or another, can you imagine doing it without knowing English? The majority of the refugees in our midst encounters this reality daily.

We focus in our churches on the need for refugees to learn English, and that is important. But in the meantime, how do they find housing, enroll their children in school, and understand how to get insurance or a driver’s license? The details of life can be overwhelming for a person who has never had to register his or her child for school or go to the health department for immunizations.

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