Today I saw a question posed on social media: Is it possible for a wife and mother to serve God?
I’m not sure what prompted this question, but I can say that it’s easy to see how a woman who is “just” a wife and mother could ask it. Those of us who stay home with children have a unique job. We have the strange occupation of simply being there. And, there are times when we wonder what impact we’re making, especially when we see other women and likely our husbands accomplishing so much, participating in so many good things outside the home while we continue in our quest to hold down the fort.
If you’re like me and you actually aren’t even that good at being a homemaker, then you may be doubly confused about what sort of contribution you are making to society or to God’s kingdom. What if you are a wife and a mother and you don’t really have a gift for cooking? What if your cleaning skills leave a lot to be desired? What if laundry is your ultimate nemesis? How is a woman like that supposed to be doing great things for God?
I don’t see anything in Proverbs 31 about sitting at home with preschoolers all day.
So, how does a wife and mother serve God? I think there are several ways to look at it.
First, as Christians we should do all of our work, from breakfast to bedtime, as if we’re working for God. Yes, He is our boss. God has placed us in this important position of caring for husbands and children and houses and details. He has called us to be there. And, even when it sometimes feels like being there is being nowhere at all, our job matters because God, our boss, is asking us to deny ourselves in a great many ways so that we can serve Him by serving others. Sure, it feels more legitimate when we are serving homeless people at a soup kitchen or serving on a mission trip someplace. But, it shouldn’t. Serving our own families is really the more of a spiritual challenge. Remember who we are really working for.
So, when we cut that crust off of the pb&j or when we find ourselves suddenly in an important spiritual foundation-forming conversation with our child, we know that we are doing this work not for the world’s acknowledgement or recognition (that’s probably not coming anytime soon). We’re not even doing it so our kids and husband will talk about how wonderful we are. We’re doing these things, yes laundry and the whole shebang, because God has given us this job, this calling of being there, and we owe Him everything. So, we serve Him with our presence in the home.
Secondly, there are an endless number of ministries that a wife and mother can be a part of. Simply resolving to be an encouragement to others is one way to serve God. Volunteering at church. Using your posts on social media as a way to express your trust in and love for the Savior. Offering a smile and a kind word to an employee at the grocery store. Being a loyal friend to your husband. You don’t have to travel halfway around the world or sell all of your worldly goods or necessarily even leave your couch to make a huge impact on someone’s life. I have exchanged emails with people all over the world who wanted solace, reassurance that God is real and is good, who needed a listening ear and a friend. And, during most of those exchanges I was wearing pajamas. I’m not saying that I made a huge impact on those people’s lives, but I do see it as one way to serve God during this phase of my life.
Third, this IS just a phase of life. As short as life is, it’s filled with many years and many different stages. As women we ride an absolute roller coaster of constant change as our children grow. Some of these years offer more freedom than others. In the freedom years, we can really get out there and serve everyplace that seems good and interesting and exciting. In the not-so-free years, we serve in different ways. If our husbands are fairly independent, we have a little more freedom. If our husbands need more help, then we are serving God when we help them in all of the ways that we can. Every woman who is “just” a wife and mother has her own set of circumstances and situations to work through and consider as she finds her various callings.
Last, I would just remind all of us that the chief end of woman is to know God and enjoy Him forever. So, instead of getting caught up too much in what we feel we can and can’t do for God as wives and mothers, let’s focus instead on how to know Him more. How to trust Him. How to make every day an exercise in dwelling in His presence. There is a sweet surrender and sacrifice and, yes, service, in simply being still and knowing that He is God. Think of Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. He loved the fact that she chose the better thing than all of the running around serving like crazy. She just wanted to live there in His presence. And, He was glorified in her attentive stillness.
Hang in there, wife and mama. You are making a kingdom impact in ways you may not ever understand. You have been gifted with the ministry of being there. Serve Him well in the flurries of activity and in the stillness. He sees you, good and faithful servant.