Before my husband and I were married, I had the opportunity to be actively involved in multiple ministries in churches, at college, in my community, and in my home. I also worked full time for a Bible memorization ministry where I directed Vacation Bible Schools in dozens of churches, was able to impact many children and teens, and had ministries to the Amish as well. I also spent several months on tour for a puppetry company where I taught classes on various ministry tools. A love of ministry is one of the things that attracted my husband and me to each other. After marriage, we became actively involved in a dynamic inner city church with endless ministry opportunities. I share all of this to express my hearts’ desire to serve God in ministry to others…
The last few years, my husband and I have been in an interesting situation as he has been finishing seminary and we have had 3 children somewhat close in age. Our second child is what’s called a “highly sensitive child” which affects most aspects of our life—though we love her immensely!! We are also currently in a funny church situation as we make some life transitions. All of this together has left me with very few to zero ministry opportunities… at least that’s how it sometimes feels.
It has been over a year since I stood before a Sunday school class of wide eyed children, over two years since I shared God’s Word with a wonderful group of ladies, and nearly 3 years since I directed a large group of children in an athletic activity. For months my heart ached to do these things and I would go to church feeling inadequate because I wasn’t taking part in many aspects of ministry there. So what happened to “my” ministries?
God prepared and raised up marvelous other people to take them on, but he didn’t leave me in the dust with nothing to do. He gave me 3 very special children to transfer my love of ministry, and serving, and teaching, and traveling, and sharing, and directing, and counseling, and caring, and loving toward. God gave me the talents he gave me for specific purposes at different times in life and there was a time when those talents were used to help others across the country, but now there is a time when those talents are used to help 3 little people within the walls of my own home.
I used to love camp ministry because I had the opportunity to be with the same group of girls 24/7 (or 6) and I felt like I could make a more lasting impact than if I was just with them a few hours a day in a VBS or a few hours one time in a class. But what if I had the opportunity to be with someone nearly 24/7 for 18 years?? What if I had nearly 157,680 hours to impact 1 life—or 3 lives? What kind of impact could I make?
These facts make me realize two things:
- Why am I complaining that I am currently in a SEASON of life where I can’t have as many ministries to others?
- What kind of impact am I making?
This is a short season of my overall life. I had years to minister to others before this phase, and Lord willing, I will have years after this phase to minister to others again. This is a phase and just like all the other ministries I need to embrace this one just as much and give it my all to glorify God in each aspect of how I minister to my children. I need to give my very best and be transparent, and look for the teachable moments in the 157,680 hours just as much as I did in the 2 hours. What an amazing opportunity I have been given to minister to these children! These wide eyed and wonderful children who call me Mama; who love me and trust me, and desire to learn from me. I get approximately 157,680 hours (and more after they turn 18) to pour into their lives! Why would I ever complain about that ministry opportunity? God is so good to allow me to minister to them!
The second thing this truth makes me wonder is what kind of impact am I making? Just like with any other ministry, I need to start my day by asking God for a love for and an understanding of my children. I need to ask Him for the teachable moments and wisdom in my responses. Then I need to set myself aside and pour into their lives. I need to take this day in day out ministry just as seriously as I did the other ministries.
I have been blessed with an amazing opportunity and approximately 157,680 hours to pour into each of these children and I need to make the very most of the current ministry God has given me. I hope that I never again complain about not having a ministry, because the greatest one is my own children.