The simple rhythms of serving the ones with whom we live
Of all the important tasks kingdom life has to offer, there are few things more fulfilling than becoming Christlike within marriage and leading children toward a relationship with Jesus. We can easily be attracted to big stages and bright lights, watching charismatic personalities bring the Word with a fierce devotion or an encouraging sermon. Yet what we are taught from stages can never come as close to our intimate connection to the Father, our selfless connection to the Son, and our conviction and freedom from the Holy Spirit. And these three opportunities often find themselves in the midst of serving our families, whether we are married or single.
Serving in the Simple and Mundane
What we do in our communities is extremely important. How we serve, share and come close to the brokenhearted is a trademark for what Jesus has called us to do. Who we are when no one is watching is what we offer Jesus alone, knowing our most important task is serving him wholeheartedly in the simple and mundane opportunities of life. Our homes are often catalysts of this because no one is watching us read stories to our children before bed, nor are they watching us clean up accidents from the stomach flu, or pray with a spouse through a family member’s death, addiction or trying time. There is a sacred offering that is present before the Lord when we give ourselves fully to those opportunities where we receive no credit, except for the presence of Christ in our midst and the joy of his perfect will made manifest through us.
As a wife and homeschool mom, I’ve undoubtedly had my days full of disarray, chaos and turmoil. Discipling children is no easy task; it comes with long days, a lot of questions, emotional tugs-of-war, sweat and tears. It also comes with a lot of laughter, joy and memories to last a lifetime. What we learn when we steward the very ones in front of us is that the people around us are really a mirror of what we live and breathe. Learning to become a servant within our families is one of the most beneficial, life-giving and fruitful ways to advance the kingdom.
So many people go into parenting immediately concerned with how to pay for children, how to potty train or teach children to read, how to manage life with a lack of sleep, or how to prepare for college funds and weddings. What truly happens in between those events are the ins and outs of ministry. It’s when I put our clothes in the washer that I ask God to refresh my family with his presence, it’s when I do the dishes that I ask him to fill their bellies with plenty, and it’s when I’m up before the light that I pray that their day would be filled with counsel, growth and a whole lot of fun. It’s the little moments where my practical life seems to be so secondary to the prayers that divulge from my heart, knowing that as the wife and mother of the house, my voice is held sacred to God. He sees my tears in a bottle, my desperation for his filling in my life, and my joy as I nurture the very ones who came from my body. I made a home for them before they came to be, and I get to make a home for them until they are set on their own path.
If we really want to embrace the life of the kingdom, we embrace the heart of service to our families. It doesn’t mean life becomes perfect or that we have no other sources of encouragement or fun outside our homes. But what it’s meant in my life is that my connection to my husband and children are such a source of nourishment for me that little else comes close to satisfying me. It’s true that I am my own person, just like any of you reading are, and no one is responsible for our happiness or our callings. And yet I find that with the people who share my sacred space 90% of the time, I experience more of my true self to share with others. I find more expression, more energy and more opportunities to run further, stronger and more passionately with God.
Those Closest to You
In a world where culture has exalted the termination of the pregnancies and the half-hearted ways of marriage and divorce, it’s obvious that the opposite of those denote the power of Jesus when released in fullness. It’s not that I leave my family in order to fulfill my purpose, it’s that my family fuels me and sends me to share what they have taught me through our time together. We live in a culture of broken families, orphans and rebellion. Those without fathers and mothers will always search for one. Those without spouses will often be searching for one to partner with in life. This just goes to show us all: Don’t take for granted the faces right in front of you.
Though the opportunities for connection in this world can come with glitter and spotlight, look instead into the stories of the people you spend your nights with, those who need a glass of milk, a prayer or a hug right inside your home. Who can you intentionally engage with, encourage or walk with within the four walls of your living space? There will be more light, life and connection in these moments that many moments on a stage, in front of a crowd or with a hundred strangers.
What I think you’ll find is that those who have been given to you by God himself are the ones who can often bring about the most clarity, care and connection to the very One who made you. It’s the people he has intentionally set in front of you in your home, in your neighborhoods, in your church and in your workplace who will often carry the greatest impact in your lifelong ministry.
Before you leave this article, take a minute to process with God, and write down each one of those people’s names. List them individually, even the difficult ones. Say a blessing over each one, asking God to nourish, nurture and bring his intimacy into the connections with your loved ones. I believe he will both surprise and delight you as you see that everything in front of you is a gift from the Father, teaching us to love, learn, forgive and receive right in the midst of everyday life.
This article originally appeared on LifewayVoices.com and is reposted here by permission.