Phil and I have taken on more than we ever imagined we could. When I was younger and I would think what my life would look like, this was never the picture I had. Sure I liked children and the concept of the good life was appealing, but it was never something that I would attach to my future reality.
Before I met Phil I had thoughts of missionary life. I knew I wanted to serve God and care for children, but I didn’t consider they’d be my own, I couldn’t build myself up for that kind of disappointment, my heart would be too easily crushed if for whatever reason that had not been possible.
The call of missionary service, to share the gospel with others and to serve God wholeheartedly is something we can do as mothers, but it took me a while to understand that. We chose fairly early on in our marriage to trust God with everything, our money, home and family size. As I once heard said, ‘God gives the best to those who leave the choice to him’. For me he chose motherhood and I see it as a calling, not a distraction to any other work. Mothers often choose to leave the calling of motherhood for a vocation in Christian service, believing that to be a higher calling. Is the mission field really of greater service to God though? As Charles Spurgeon famously said,
Some women may well be called to place their children in another’s care in order to serve God, as with the parents of Eric Liddell, but many will never leave the mission field of their homes. How can we serve God with the faith of a missionary and the evangelical mind of a missionary in our homes? Let me first tell you a bit about what inspires me to serve God in this way.
Before I really knew about any famous Christians, I felt the call on my heart to give my all to Christ. As the hymn we sing in church goes, ‘I give you my life, I give you my all,’ I still can’t sing it without considering if there are any other aspects of life I need to hand over to God. It has been those Christian women who stepped out in faith and gave God their all who have inspired my journey to follow Jesus into the adventure of motherhood, without fear, to listen to his still small voice and obey him without hesitation. I have filled my heart and mind with true stories of courage and bravery in the face of adversity and it has built up my spiritual muscles as I have read about the amazing God we serve and how he continues to help his children today.
Elizabeth Elliot is one such woman. She went back into the jungle, with her toddler in tow, to share the gospel with the very people who had killed her husband. The courage that took was something only God could have given and the subsequent success of her loving evangelism was proof of God’s leading. The world would have probably considered her to be crazy, on a death mission, putting both her and her daughter’s life in jeopardy, but she ignored the world’s call and followed after the One whom she trusted above all.
Katie Davis Majors is another young woman of courage. At 19 years of age she travelled from America to Africa, giving up her western lifestyle and singlehandedly adopted and raised 13 daughters. Wow! Her God is our God and he has the strength for her and for each of us.
Gladys Aylward travelled to China, against the odds, and took 100 children to safety during WW2, travelling by foot through the mountains of China. God performed many miracles to facilitate her journeys and the same God can, if we ask him, help us today.
Looking to the Bible I have always been inspired by Moses’ mother. I can only imagine the terror she must have felt as she hid her baby for months before making his basket and letting him go into the care of God alone. What a wonderful God we serve, he gave her baby back to her and paid her to care for him! I love that story.
Helen Roseveare, Narcissa Whitman, the pilgrim mothers, Mary Slessor, Perpetua, Amy Carmichael, Katharina Luther, Corrie Ten Boom and Susanna Wesley are just some of the other women who have laid down everything for Christ and inspired me on my journey with Christ.
What do these women have in common, and what can we learn from them which would help us as we try to wholeheartedly follow God?
Above all, these are of women of faith, they trust God more than they trust the wisdom of this world, ‘For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight’, 1 Corinthians 3:19. They look to God and his Word as they consider what to do next.
How can we apply this to the arena of motherhood? Everyday we are assaulted with challenges, what to say to a discouraged teenager, how to juggle schoolwork, washing and mealtimes. Are these areas God would help us in? Absolutely! The work of a missionary isn’t all about sharing the gospel, it is often about the nitty gritty of every day life and God meets us there and grows us there. Sharing the gospel is of course one of our most important tasks as missionary minded mothers. We share it with our children, other mothers, friends, people who stop by for hospitality, people in shops, postmen, absolutely anyone! I love to share the gospel first and foremost through my behaviour, as love is the way to reach people’s hearts. I aim to start every conversation with an arrow prayer, ‘God please speak through me today and help me to love as Jesus would.’ I am always amazed at the opportunities he puts on my doorstep. One of my favourite memories was regular visits from 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses who would challenge us all to dig into Scripture to back up our viewpoint. The children would stand on the doorstep with Bibles in hand, ready to find the verses to prove Jesus was God made flesh. It grew their faith and sowed seeds into the minds of the ladies who spoke with us.
The children’s faith has grown as we have trusted God with our money. There have been times when, instead of buying a new pair of shoes for each child, we have prayed for God’s provision. We once prayed for a pair of size 5 trainers and 45 minutes later a friend turned up on our doorstep with 2 pairs of size 5 trainers (we hadn’t told her). It’s that kind of answer to prayer which helps us to show our children our God who is alive and active and thus grow their faith. God was so kind to say yes to that prayer, he often makes us wait, but we have never forgotten that moment.
As we followed God to our new home in Shropshire we could never have imagined what he had in store, but day by day he is revealing to us that our missionary journey is not over. We see more and more that we are called to share our home with others and to continue to trust in our God who has never let us down. I’d love to hear who inspires you?
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