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.
Thank you for writing this piece. Its so well written. I will be sharing on social media. It’s something that needs to be read for sure! Good luck in your a serving!
Thanks so much, Julie!
I Honestly couldn’t have said this better!! I’m about to write a post on what I asked. I actually had a Christian young woman tell me not to long ago that she could NOT serve God by being a wife and mother. Kind of sad that she didn’t understand that she really could. I guess it wouldn’t be as exciting for her. If she only knew?…right?…lol. Just so you know also…Laundry is also my nemesis!!…..still is…..LOL.. You are truly a Blessing! Will be sharing my post soon!
I can’t wait to read your post, Keri! Thanks so much for the inspiring question!
Agreed! Especially this: “…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.” Thank you for reminding us.
Why does a mother’s time matter? A mother’s time matters because she has been given time to be a mother as a gift from God. What a mother does with her time, then, is her gift back to God. While we don’t need to strive in our own strength, we may steadily plod on with purpose in our seemingly boring lives as mothers as sacrificial gifts of our time to God.
Good stuff, Kay! Thank you!
Oh, how I identify with your post today. You penned perfectly the feelings of every stay at home mom. I went through all the phases or stages of finally coming to the revelation that God had given me the most wonderful assignment…..to nurture and raise my 4 children as the righteous seed on the earth that they are. In was during those hectic days that I was privileged to lead both of my daughters to Jesus, just quietly sitting on the side of their bed. Talking. Listening. Nothing spectacular. No bells and whistles going off. What an honor! Yes, they were crazy busy days…and nights…but I wouldn’t trade one moment of them with anyone else! Now, they are all grown and 3 of them are walking with the Lord while one is still wandering…..but God! I know that the seeds which we planted will come up and bear glorious fruit in all of them and my grandchildren. My time was not wasted because it was all done as unto the Lord and as an older woman now, I feel that my life mattered and that the Lord is pleased. I have long passed that season and now have entered into the joy of grandparenting. What another wonderful gift! With a whole new set of challenges…..and joy! So, carry on, my sister “stay at home” mom”. What you’re doing and have chosen to do will yield a great and eternal harvest! And by the way, ironing was my dreaded “chore”. lol It still is! lollll
I love this testimony, Norma! Thank you!
Needful encouragement for some.
I loved reading this. I have been a stay-at-home wife and mother for 35 years. Thanks to my sister who showed me that this was service to God that was pleasing to him, I have not longed for days to have a career or to be in a leadership role in an organization of any kind. (Not saying I haven’t been involved in organizations, but I didn’t pine away for it.) Even now that all but two of my children have moved out of the house (of the two remaining, one is out-of-state at college and the other works 20 to 30 hours a week), the longing for some kind of recognition from working outside the home or involvement in an organization has not surfaced. I love my role as wife and mother and home manager. I have never been able to express this love as well as you expressed it in this post, however. But thank you for the encouragement, and yes, the recognition, that I have been doing what the Lord wills by “being there” and serving Him in that capacity.
This was very encouraging and helpful! Thank you. God bless.
I’m so glad, Melissa! Thank you!
This article is exactly what I needed to read. I’m a wife and stay at home mother of two toddlers. I’ve been struggling with finding what my calling is and wondering if I’m doing my part to serve the Lord. Often I feel insecure about my choice to stay home and care for my house and family. I tend to feel like I’m a bit useless and that I’m infarct not doing all I can to sever the Lord. This has really helped change my perspective on how I look at myself and the work I do.
Thank you for sharing this, it has truly blessed my heart.
Janice, thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad your perspective has shifted! You are doing great work for the Lord just by being there! Hang in there! 🙂
Wish I had read this a while ago! This is so true and it breaks my heart that moms (and sometimes dads) think they aren’t worth much when they serve the family with little or no time to serve outside the family. And not only that but some parents (mostly moms) think they have to work outside of the home to be considered a productive member of society. When in reality, humbling ourselves in service to others is what God calls us to do. Our families, especially our kids, need our service as much as the world. And yes-we can still serve outside the family when God calls us! This kind of encouragement is so, so important and helpful for stay at home moms like me. Thank you so much.
Thank you for this. I needed this encouragement right now ❤ farm wife and mom of two over here
Wow! This has been a blessing and encouragement to me. Our stories are similar from working and succeeding in the office to bring a wife and mother. Thank you for sharing, I totally have a different perspective now. Glory to God!