Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Ministry of Mothering?

A few of the buzzwords you'll hear in Christian circles these days are Christian service, ministry, servant leader, washing feet.... They come from our Model of how to live and serve others - Jesus. We encourage our leaders to not just be the "boss," but to serve joyfully. We challenge our leaders to find ways to (figuratively) wash the feet of those whom they lead.

Once you establish the mindset of a servant leader, it isn't all that difficult to think of ways to serve those around you. A big part of it is to simply pay attention to their needs and try to meet them. For example, if a woman on my team was ill, I could bring her family dinner one evening; when another ministry is vying for space in the church, our ministry can freely give up some of our space; if I know my husband is tired, I can take care of a job that is normally his....

I can wrap my head around the concept of figurative foot washing when it comes to church ministry, the people I run into day-to-day, events I attend, my husband, friends, even enemies.

Here is a wild and crazy thought, though, that I just cannot wrap my head around. How can I wash the feet of my children? As a mother, these children are my primary ministry. My job is not simply to tend to them, but to minister to them in love and show them God's love. I think one of the reasons I can't "get it" is because my job with them is already serve, serve, serve. I cook for them, clean up after them and with them, bathe them, teach them, discipline them, cuddle them, and on it goes.

But do I do all these things out of the love of my heart to serve them and bless them, or are they merely things I do because it's my job to do them? Am I a servant leader to my children, or a dictator?

To be honest, I have never before considered my children my ministry. Raising them is my job - being a mother is my role. So I do what I have to do, often begrudgingly, with irritability and impatience. But if I led my children the way I lead my ministry, with passion and purpose and a vision, it would become God's work. That would be ministry. That would be servant leadership. That would be foot washing.

I think Jesus and I need to spend our time together tomorrow morning talking about how to wash the feet of my children. We'll probably make a list. Jesus and I LOVE lists!

What are some things that you do (or could do) to figuratively wash the feet of your children?


  1. I love list too!!

    I would just ask them each individually.... what can Mommy do for you today to serve you and show you God's love?

  2. I also sometimes feel that the day to day serving gets lost…and even before saying this, I feel it sounds a bit trite, but I do try to remember to put my kids needs above my own - or in other words, not what is easiest for me. Like taking time when I feel like I don't have it, or stopping what I am in the middle of to help them. You know me - I am like a tornado when I get going (and single minded) - obviously this is a daily struggle for me!

    Other things I do seem easier in comparison. For example, Tia hates to clean her room and once a month or so I will clean it (really clean it!) while she is gone to surprise her. Or I will ask one particular child what they want for dessert and then make that especially for them. I sometimes surprise them with treats to share with their friends when I did lunch room at school (from a pack of gum to fresh homemade cookies). Or when it was just the younger kids and I we will make something overly indulgent, like homemade ice cream sandwiches and eat till we can't have another bite (and then not tell the people who missed out!).

    Sometimes serving someone is simply about making them feel special - going the extra mile with a cheerful heart.

  3. I'm hooked, I will be back.

    Simply delighted tomeet you.
    Sarah Dawn

  4. So I'm relatively new to this blog thing, but how can I 'follow' you to not forget where you are?

    Sarah Dawn


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