I worked in public ministry for a long time. And always one of my favorite things about it was knowing that I was a vessel through which God were working, that God used my words, my hands, my work, to save babies and bring people to a saving knowledge of Him. I loved participating with Him on that. I delighted in it, even. I was aware of what it cost me to pour out like that, and I made sure to stay filled from His well.
But it’s easy to see this new season of wifehood and motherhood as a retreat from the front lines. As I’ve exited the ministry jobs I loved so much, said goodbye to my dear ministry partners, declined new opportunities to serve, and come home, the temptation is there to see it as a lesser role. “Since I got pregnant so soon, and since this pregnancy is a rough one, I have to stop working/serving”, rather than seeing it as “I’ve been given a baby so wonderfully soon, and I get to be home and prepare for baby and serve my husband”.
Laundry and dishes and cooking dinner just don’t seem to have the same allure as counseling and sharing the Gospel and preparing ads to bring abortion-vulnerable women in to a life-affirming medical center. Insurance licensing coursework to help my husband in his business seems so, well, mundane, compared to teaching ESL classes through the Gospel of John to the unchurched.
Years of singleness, well-invested and poured out in ministry, were absolutely worth it. And yet there is a cost to be paid. All those years of telling myself that I was doing what God had for me, and that it was not less valuable than the longed-for job of wife and mother that had always been extolled in front of me . . . somewhere along the way I forgot that this job of wife and mother was not less valuable than the job of public ministry. Somewhere along the way, the idea of trading mission trips for grocery trips seemed like a rather bad trade.
But, is it? I always used to say that, while I very much wanted little ones of my own, God had done me a special kindness in allowing me to work at a pregnancy center where I got to be a part of saving little lives, and not infrequently got to be around babies, too. I saw how God was using the barrenness of my singleness to bring life to other moms and babies.
And now God has given me the incredible gift of being a mama myself, weaving a new little life within my womb. My womb. Swelling in front of my eyes, with tiny flutters now being felt. My own baby, moving inside of me. How can I say that this is a lesser gift?
This new little person, they are a life that I will get to shepherd and teach and point to Christ. By the way I live out the Gospel in front of my child, I will once again be a vessel of God’s working, as He draws my child to Himself and uses me to do it. How can I say that this is a lesser gift?
The honor of being a wife to a godly man, it’s something I wanted for so long. I was grateful for the ways I got to serve pastors and ministry leaders, from being a church secretary to doing sexual integrity presentations in youth groups and serving at my own church’s youth events. But now, God has “focused me in” to serving one man in a way I could never serve before. I have the immense privilege, and responsibility, to be his helpmeet. How can I say that this is a lesser gift?
Even the simplest, most mundane tasks, if done for the glory of God, are a form of worship, after all. I am not serving Him less within the walls of my home. Just as before, I have the opportunity to live for Him who died for me.
Gone is the stage, the platform, the applause. Gone are the statistics and numbers that told me I was doing a good job. In their place are the appreciation of my husband and the preciousness of my baby.
Worth it? I think so.
What have you traded in lately, my friend? What has God asked you to give up that you might serve Him better in a new way? What longed-for thing are you doing without, or what new gift has been given that you are now adjusting to? And, how can you worship God in your “today”?
There is loss, it is true. It’s okay to acknowledge that loss, be it great or small. I was always grateful for those who recognized the loss within singleness, and reminded me that it was okay to long for marriage and children, that it wasn’t wrong to feel like there was something missing, even as I served God joyfully and contentedly. My circumstances now are a flip side of that, and yet the loss, while different, is still present.
But where we focus our eyes matters. How do we see the trade? What gifts can we find in our “today”? Can we look back and say that yes, that was good, but that this is also good? Can we trust God to give good gifts, to see what He gives as something that brings us closer to Himself, to know that He works all things for good?
It’s a lesson I’m still learning. I suspect I will never master it, though I hope that I will grow in it.
May we be people who truly do rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us (1 Thess. 5:16-18). May we joyfully trade in whatever He asks us to, and keep our eyes fixed on Him, come what may.
It is worth it, after all.