Recently, Eric and I were interviewed for our church's newsletter. About halfway through, our interviewer asked, "What types of ministries and church activities are you a part of?" Deep breaths, mind swirling. Granted, we just moved here, so there was not an expectation for me to list off a series of activities and be "impressive". I actually developed such a list at our former church - it only took me about 4.5 years to get there!
I let Eric speak first and then I said it: My ministry right now is supporting my husband and raising my kids.
Somewhere inside me, there is a tiny hidden feminist that said, "Is that ALL?" My enormous inner Christian woman squashed the tiny voice right away - most of me knows that what I am doing is indeed a ministry and my "calling" in this season of my life. But she creeps up every now and then... "Isn't it a cop out to say your mission field is your home?"
I don't know, is it?
I truly believe that God is blessing me and our family for the commitment Eric and I have both made to keep me home. I know that the stability and love and all the rest that I provide for the kids will result in good things. I know that my role as "person behind the scenes who keeps Eric sane enough to be able to do his job well" is an important one. I guess I fall victim to the expectations of "the world", or my perception of the expectations of the world and the need to feel like other people think I'm important so that I can feel I'm important. Not every day, just on those subtle, lonely days.
During college, I spent the summers working at a really great Christian summer camp in St Charles, Illinois. Riverwoods Christian Center was the place where God first introduced me to inner city ministry, which is a passion of mine (funny, considering where I've chosen to spend my adult life). My second summer at Riverwoods, I worked as the director of recruiting. Basically I spent my 100F days with an assistant or two out in the community housing areas the camp served, giving out information about the camp and registering campers. I coordinated camper pick up and drop off, and was the contact between the families and the camp. This meant that I was gone from camp pretty much every day until dinner, and missed most of the really difficult work the other camp staff was doing. I had one of those jobs that was essential and difficult, but entirely misunderstood by everyone else. Boy, did I grow that summer! I had a really difficult time feeling unappreciated by others around me. And the words of my supervisor come back to me often, even 10+ years later: "God is preparing you for His work - work that may not be seen by others, but is seen by Him."
So now that time has come. I am behind the scenes. The evidence of my hard work, exhaustion, frustration, dedication, love, and everything else that leaves my brain "half full" will be borne out through my husband and my children. It brings me to tears - joy and sadness, which is how it often works for me.
I am sure I am not the only one.