“Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” Mark 9:37
Sometimes, in the essence of church family life, being a mom can bring a whole new set of problems and challenges within the church. We've all been taught from infancy that if we are a member of a church, we should be an active member- we should be helping out with something within the church. In many circles, it's those activities that begin to define a person, and makes them important. But for the new mom, or the seasoned mom, sometimes, there just is not time to participate in ministry. Sometimes, the mother's own children have to come first, and in most cases, that mom is usually left with a feeling like they are doing something they shouldn't. I know, I've been there. I've been there, when my son was an infant, and I did nothing in church except attend, so that I could see to his needs at all times. While I was firm in my stance that I needed to be mom to my children for that time, there was a part of me that maybe felt like I wasn't complete- like I was letting the church down by not doing anything outside of my own family.
Moms, it's a-okay to be that way. Andy and I have had a policy since our daughter was born over ten years ago, that our children will always come first for us while they are in our care. That has carried over into every aspect of our lives for the most part. Now that my children are older, and not so needy for mom's attention, I've been able to participate in more ministry within the church, and yet, I still have those moments where I feel like I'm letting someone down. Several weeks ago we had a day-long prayer meeting at church, and after spending weeks going back and forth as to how much we should be in attendance, I decided that I needed to give my children attention that day. We went for small bits of time to this prayer meeting, but we did not stay for the entire day-long duration. When we left before noon to go have lunch and spend time together, I really had a strong sense of regret on my part. I wanted to be at that meeting, sure, but more importantly, I felt that I was maybe letting people down by not being there. As I drove my children towards home, I had a strong sudden sense of peace come over me, along with the thought that while I am still a mom, my children are my number one ministry. After that, I felt okay about missing parts of the meeting.
My children are still my number one ministry. Some churches and circles of friends place so much importance on all the other areas of your life where you could be serving, and it is too easy for a mom to feel exasperated and stretched to her limit. It is okay for a mom to say no- it's okay for her to focus solely on her children and the ministry she does within her own home. God gave us these children! He wants us to minister to their needs- and yes, caring for your own children IS a ministry.
Our children come first. At all times. In a hypothetical situation, if we were at church during a service, and one or both of my children really needed me for something, I would totally step down in the middle of worship and see to their needs. Even though we have a church full of wonderful friends who would be more than willing to step in and do what they can while I am busy, my main role in life, at this stage, is as mom to my children. No one, no matter how well-meaning can take that place. And that's exactly how God designed us. God designed children to need their mommies, from birth they know this woman who carried them, and a crying infant, away from its mom for too long, will start crying, and often times those cries are instantly soothed by being back in the arms of their mom. It's beautiful magical thing that doesn't go away simply because the child ages. My ten year old daughter still needs the comfort of mommy's arms from time to time. She still needs mom's approval, and she still needs as much attention from me as I am willing to give her.
Children need their moms (and their dads), that's how God designed them, and it's time for us moms to stop feeling second-rate because we choose to focus solely on our children for a season of life. Our children are more than worth it.