Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Family IS My Ministry

***Okay... so here's my "warning" with this blog entry:  I am writing it with a heart that is heavy; emotions that are raw and a soul that is incredibly burdened... by my own pride.  I have no doubt that I will inevitably cringe at my transparency... probably sooner rather than later... but this is who I am at this exact moment.... and if I'm to learn anything from it, I must acknowledge it first... surrender it second and pray for His mercy as He works it out in me.  So, you've been warned ;)***

A few months ago, a good friend of mine made a comment that sat with me in an odd way, so to speak. She said that she envied the fact that I had a ministry.  And at the time, I was a little confused because, to be quite honest, I don't feel that way.  I'm kinda all over the board... and that's on purpose.  Whether it's The Root Cellar, or the jail, teaching preschool at church or a class at homeschool group... where there's a need, I try to fill it.  However, she soon clarified her comment... and it made me cringe: my family is my ministry. 

Now, I could expound for hours on why my familiy is my ministry AND why it isn't... just as much as I can share with you about how much I love and adore my familiy and how, at times, they drive me absolutely insane.  But the issue really isn't about ministry... it's about obedience.  It's about selfishness and pride.  It's about my need to acknowledge (and sometimes prove) that I have more to offer... talents and gifts that can  be utilized outside the relm of "family"... or maybe I just want others to realize that I spend almost every waking moment with my children....

Truth be told, I envy my friends that have careers... that have professional achievements... that have goals that include more than getting the laundry folded and put away AND cooking dinner (which, consequently, I hardly ever achieve!)  For me, motherhood is defined more by my failures than my achievements... the things I do wrong are underscored far more than the things I do right... and maybe that's really what's at the root of all this.  I don't want my family to be my ministry because I feel like as hard as I try, I just keep failing.

I constantly go back to very wise words that were once shared to me (thanks, Wendy Bland!):   My family is not for my satisfaction, but for my santification.  (And, yes, of course, they also provide me with a lot of satisfaction.) But the concept here is something we often miss.  One of the names of God is Jehovah-Mekaddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies.  He uses our families as a tool to lead us closer to Him... yet, for the longest time, I've been seeing my role more as a hinderance to my growth... (I've been using it as an excuse for not being able to do what I want to do...How's that for honesty?)

The picture attached was taken this morning.  Our family participated in the missions walk for our church.  Piper, pictured bottom right, raised $75 for the Peru missions team.  We all gathered together and walked 3.5 miles around Back Cove in Portland, stopping several times along the journey to pray for the team, the village they will be visiting and Food for the Hungry.  As Jamie and I walked hand in hand with the kids, it was hard to deny that our family IS our ministry... readily recognizing the fact that we aren't perfect and neither are they... but that our success and worth isn't measured in terms of achievement and failures, but, instead by the journey we choose to take... by the Navigator we choose to follow... through our obedience. 

(I'm still working on that part!)


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