I still remember the day years ago when sweet Sarah sat down for a heart to heart with me, tears in her eyes. The discussion that followed would help me put words to what I believe is the ministry of motherhood--an idea I've written about in the book by that same name.
"Mom, I'm having such doubts in my Christian faith," she began. "So many of the believers I know seem passionless or mediocre, or they've compromised their faith by living immoral or immature lives. I would never believe in God if I had to depend on what I knew about him from many of the people we know!... And so many terrible things have been happening in the world; it's hard to make sense of it. And I want to live a life that's pleasing to Christ, but sometimes I just feel so different from my peers.... And sometimes I wonder if God is really there listening to my prayers at all. Does my life matter to anyone at all?"
I let her pour out her heart without judgment or criticism. Knowing her personal integrity, I was sure her thoughts and feelings came not from a rebellious heart but from an honest desire to find answers only God could give. When she had finished talking, I assured her that God was big enough to sustain her questions and doubts and that he would make himself known to her in his time. Her spirit slowly calmed down.
"You know, Mom, my doubts haven't really driven me away from God; they're driving me closer to him. I really want to have an authentic faith. I want to know the real God who created the stars and gave us the gift of beauty and music and great thoughts. I want a God who is real and worthy of my desire for greatness and purpose. I'm not looking for religion; I want a close and true relationship worthy of my whole life commitment! I want what you and Daddy have. I feel like I'm just beginning to understand what you have been teaching me for so many years."
I realized then, as I have realized before, what my daughter really needs from my husband and me in this fallen, mixed-up world. It's the same thing that all my four children need—and that your children need as well.
They don't need sweet platitudes of faith that will momentarily placate their emotions. They need the authentic strength that comes from the true foundation of a biblical world-view and a proper understanding of the real Christ who is worthy of their worship. They need an unwavering, internal moral and spiritual compass that will help them weather today's storms and tomorrow's and will guide them for the rest of their lives. They also need to see what real faith looks like when lived day in, day out, so they will have a pattern to follow.
The process of providing such gifts to my children is what I've come to think of as the ministry of motherhood. I believe it's central to the calling of anyone God has privileged to bring children into this world.
If you are a mother, it's your ministry too.
The Ministry of Motherhood, which focuses on the ministry of Christ to his disciples and how we can learn from that model, is available on Amazon!