When people ask me what is your ministry in Belgium, I reply that my main ministry is my my family; loving my children and husband.
I have to constantly remind myself of this fact, since ministry to others sometimes seems more talked about and more valued. I have felt encouraged lately in this. A colleague at OM said that my family are my mission field, which I alone have most influence in. No-one else has the opportunity to care for them like I do, especially when they are pre-school age. She also told a story of a pastor’s son who committed suicide, leaving a note to say that ‘my father had time for everyone else’s children, but not me’. Quite a sobering extreme story, but a reminder of my sphere of greatest influence; my own family.
Recently, I stopped by lake Genval with Alec. I was commenting to him that it is frozen over and said “Amazing”. For the first time he said “mazing”. So cute!! I am trying to live slowly, to delight in these special moments; not to be too busy moving on to something else. I appreciated reading a quote on a poster at the church where I have recently been attending a bible study group. It is from C.S. Lewis who wrote “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
One day as we walked to school Belle asked “Did God make himself?” She also recently asked “Did Jesus lose his power when he died on the cross?”, and how to tell her friends in French that they can be friends with Jesus. I have enjoyed hearing these questions, and been reminded of God’s bigness as I tried to answer them! I am also seeing some of the rewards of being there for the more mundane hours to help my children learn patience, sharing and manners. And when it has seemed to be going badly, I have been praying lots to this end.
I have been trying to be gentle and patient with myself; not putting too many expectations on myself, because then I find I am better at being gentle and patient with myself. And I have been so much more quickly able to forgive and love when I regularly think (and sing!) about how God forgives and delights in me.
I am encouraged by the Steven Curtis Chapman song ‘Do Everything’. I think it reflects the thoughts of Romans 12:1-2 well… “offer your bodies as living sacrifices… This is your act of worship.” I delight in the fact that reading stories, making food, giving cuddles and hanging out washing are pleasing act of worship to God, as much as singing songs at church on Sunday or visiting a friend. I also delight that I can often sing songs and pray for friends as I do the mundane things!
Thanks for reading; I have been encouraged in the process of writing and thinking about these things. Please pray for me as I live with the tension of ministries to my children, husband and others; because I need God’s help! Please also pray for relationships with peers in this role. God bless you in whatever you are doing in worship to Him, especially you, my friends with young children. And may God bless your precious children!