I am a mother and that can be hard. I also head up the Kids ministry in our local church and that is hard work. Both aren’t without their rewards but last Sunday reached another level on the stress-o-metre.
My husband is also one of the pastors of the church but let me stipulate that the ministry I do, I do because God called me to it. Just putting it out there as a lot of people hold pre-conceived ideas about pastors wives and what their role should be. I decided not to listen to those people a long time ago when I was told I couldn’t dress the way I was dressing because I was a ‘Pastors wife’. I don’t know what this person was after but clearly skinny jeans wasn’t in the picture.
So to Sunday.
Sunday’s are always busy in our house but this particular Sunday was a special kind of nugget. The husband was away speaking at another church so I was solo parenting and had a job to do. I had to arrange an event through my ministry and hold two interviews for new recruits, so I needed to be extra organised. I packed sandwiches, crisps, fruit, you name it I had it. The kids would not be hungry.
With my ‘game face’ on we arrived and once I’d palmed the kids off, smaller one rather reluctantly, to their various classes I went to work. It didn’t take long for my super organised morning to unravel. One problem arose. Fine. Fine. Problem solving pants to the rescue. I made another plan and went with it. Then another problem popped its ugly head. Time to turn those Problem Pants inside out and wear them again. Next a minor issue but it still called for the Problem Pants to be turned inside out and put on back to front.
The end of the service came and the crescendo of my morning. The interviews. I swiftly laid out the picnic lunch on a table and plonked child one, two and three in front of it. Child number three raged against the sandwiches and opted for an orange to be eaten only on my knee. Fine. Fine. Child began chewing on it. Child began choking on it. Child threw up on it. Child threw up all over my t-shirt, skirt and boots. It seems with bump in the way my spacial awareness for nuclear vomiting is off. I would usually be able to swerve such attacks allowing it to pour onto the floor but not this time. My skirt caught the chunk load of orange pieces and although relieved child wasn’t choking anymore I was now powerfully overcome with the sweet scent of intestines. Cue interview number one.
Interview one came to an end with only an added sprinkling of Pom Bears to the floor and onto my orange vomit laden skirt. Child one and two now satisfied and carrying the bulk load of the picnic in their tummies, they ran off to play leaving me with a sobbing child number three.
Interview number two continued through a medley of noises not too dissimilar to a wrestling match. There were sobs, grunts and screams coming from child number three so I decided that if this interviewee could handle this child they were in fact a perfect fit for the ministry.
My work done I wrung out my damp skirt, hitched up my sticky t-shirt and stuffed all the coats under my arm whilst layering the bags upon my back. Rounding up the children I looked like a pack horse who came down a mountain backwards via a river of vomit and orange trees. We left.
Once home I placed child number three into bed after a heavy dose of calpol. Releasing child one and two into the playroom high on sugar I retired to the bedroom. Sitting on my bed un-pealing sticky tights from my legs, my heavily pregnant body exhausted and my Problem Pants fully soiled, I wondered how my morning could go so wrong? My husband returned and took one look at my face. Before he could speak I told him I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t cut out for any of it. Who did I think I was kidding? Thankfully before the lies could settle and make little beds of doubt in my mind he spoke love and truth into me.
After a good rest I had another look at that day (because no-one ever makes wise decisions when they’re tired) Here is what I am learning about Motherhood and Ministry:
1. Motherhood must always come first.
That is the key ministry every mother must put the majority of her time and effort into. Raising little disciples is what we are called to do first and no-one is more equipped than you to do it.
2. Ministry always requires a pair of ‘Problem Pants’
Or put this way; If a plan doesn’t work out – don’t let it stress you out!! No one likes a control freak. Accept that certain things are out of your control and find a way around it. But if you are on the ledge of a pull-your-hair-out-breakdown find someone you can trust to figure the problem out with.
3. You can’t do it on your own.
The beauty of entering into a ministry is because you are called to it. Therefore you are equipped with every gift needed from God to smash it. God wants to partner in every aspect of your life and if you’re gonna be His hands and feet you’re gonna need to know the heart of who you’re serving. Talk to Him. Constantly.
4. Have a sense of humour.
Some things are set to try us and when they do you’ve gotta laugh at it. Sure processes and outcomes will be disappointing and frustrating. No-one alive has ever said motherhood or ministry was easy but if you can laugh at the things sent to land on you you’re already one step ahead.
Like I say, I am still very much learning as I go and I’ve not even had child number four yet so God only knows how I’ll get on then. If you do have any more pointers I’ll be glad to read them. If the comment is, don’t have any more kids then trust me I am way ahead of you. We. Are. Done!