Friday, June 3, 2011

A whole lot of jumbled up nothing

I keep meaning to post something - anything really - of value on the blog. Some deep thought, or wonderful insight, or touching truth I'm learning. But I'm in a slump. My thoughts are all kinds of jumbled up right now and I keep feeling that while there is so much going on upstairs, it is just a whole lot of nothing that's getting me just-about nowhere.

I thought maybe blogging about some of it might help to bring something into focus.

Simply put, I feel consumed by preparation for the Twins - physically, mentally, financially, medically, time-wise, space-wise... it doesn't seem to end. I sometimes feel like its all I exist to do anymore and I'm struggling with that. Maybe I wouldn't be fighting with this so much if I had been "ready" for this whole situation. If it wasn't all so unexpected. What was expected seems lost now and I'm not sure how to handle it. 

Let me back up. In November, when plans for our Uganda trip were first in the works, my hope was that the trip would really direct our steps in regards to future ministry - whether here, there or somewhere else entirely. My hope was to come back from Uganda with a clear vision of how Devin and I could best serve God and others in a tangible way.

Then six weeks before we left, we got pregnant with the Twins. Twins who I love more than I thought possible. Twins that I'm excited to meet and hold and love on. Twins that I'm grateful for, even though I wasn't expecting this gift. But with all this joyful anticipation comes the question of, "Now what?" How do I serve God the way I wanted to (radically) with two twin infants in tow? 

I know, I know - being a mom is a ministry. I get that babies need to be cared for, nurtured, and as they grow, have parents who show them how to love God. I know that God created mothers to fulfill a big chunk of the child-rearing role. I understand that being a parent is a ministry, but I do not believe that being a parent is the only thing my life should be about. 

Which leaves me with the "What now?" and the fear that I will become so consumed by caring for my own little family that I neglect the needs of those who are truly in need. I feel like the passion God has raised in me for the poor and the needy is being dragged away and focused solely on the babies and I'm powerless to stop it... and I'm concern that this passion will never get back to where it was.

There is a quote from Franis Chan keeps coming to my mind:
"It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace."  (from "The Forgotten God")

I think this might be my greatest fear in regards to becoming a mother. I do not want to be so distracted by my own life that I never live for those outside my four walls.

If there are any other mamas out there with some advice or some stories on how they still lived radically for God and others amidst the chaos of raising a family (especially with infants), I would so covet your words of encouragement and wisdom. Even if you don't have advice, I'd appreciate your prayers. Thanks friends. 


  1. I'm not sure what to say at the moment, so I'll mostly just pray for you. You and I are a lot alike. I know you know this. I hear you, and I feel your pain. My days as a mama with an infant (and only one at a time) are a blur to me right now. I'm pretty sure I wasn't super-radical back then.

    The difference is the 11 years of separation between when my first was born and when yours will be. Back then, I didn't really even know (or care) about the poor. :( So I didn't have so much tension.

    And NOW, I've got 3 girls who are plenty big enough to love the world right alongside us.

    Praying for you as your sort this out. Give yourself time and grace. And don't forget all you've been able to do BEFORE your boys were born. You can't discount that.

    Love you, girl!!

  2. You will be so distracted by motherhood for a few years that you will have difficulty finding time to minister to others. That's ok. Being a Godly mom who strives to raise children that are others-focused is a HUGE undertaking. It seems so simple before you have children and MONUMENTAL once they're living in your house. As they grow out of infancy you'll have opportunities to reach outside your four walls little by little and they'll learn from you as you reach out. For now, I wouldn't worry too much about it. You absolutely cannot fathom how your life will change with little ones in tow until it actually happens. Time to let go, acknowledge that God is fully in control and that He has just as strong a desire as you do to see other's reached for His glory.

  3. I think it's easy for us to romanticize the idea of reaching out to the poor and needy who live in third world countries. It sounds so much more exotic and amazing and so much more difference-making than something as monotonous as changing diapers, nursing our babies, rocking them to sleep day after day after day (the same thing overseas missionaries do in orphanages, yet for some reason it doesn't seem as grand when it's your own kids in your home in Arizona). But your little boys are coming into this world poor and naked and EXTREMELY needy and completely helpless! I think it's too easy to believe the lie that the MORE people we influence, the better--that pouring your life into your two boys isn't as grand as pouring your life into dozens of orphans. God gave you your little boys for a reason. This is HIS mission for you right now. And you will most likely be in plain survival mode for awhile--not able to do much else for God's kingdom except meet the basic needs of your family. And that's okay. Satan will try and convince you that it's not worthwhile. He will try to make you believe that the souls and lives of your two boys are not as important as the souls of two boys over in Uganda.

    But as your boys get older and you have more "free" time, then I believe God is going to use your family in so many amazing ways--more so than if it was just you and Devin. And you will be raising your boys in such a way that from the very beginning they will see that there is an entire world around them in need of God's salvation. They won't have a mommy and daddy who are so wrapped up in them--showering them with every want--they will see that their lives hold purpose and when they see the passion in their mommy and daddy for the poor and needy across the globe, I think they will want to play a part with you as well!

    Think of all the other moms you can encourage and inspire along the way! And your blog! So many people can be reached (me included!) and influenced through your words.

    God's #1 goal for us is to go and make disciples. And that is what being a mother is all about. You are making disciples.

  4. I'm not a mama, but I am a dad of five children (ages 4 to 19). Two of those adopted via the state and 5 years of foster care. In that process we had another six or so children spend various amounts of time in our home. I have also taken my daughter to Africa twice in the last four years. We have paid off our house which has enabled us to give radically in the past several years. Our oldest daughter started a sewing ministry several years ago, and has sent items that she and the other girls in the ministry made to countries around the world as well as a local women's shelter and the local CPC.

    I don't say this to toot my own horn, but to point out that this has all happened in the last five years or so. The previous 17 years of our marriage and raising a family was preparation for this time (season) in our life when God would choose to use our family in this way. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven." And Jesus reminded us that the poor will always be with us.

    God is clearly calling you to be a mother right now, to raise those boys, and any other children he might give you (through birth, fostering or adoption), to know His Son. They are your primary ministry, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that. In fact, you may (likely will, knowing you and your passion) be raising some very powerful and influential men and women in the Kingdom.

    One more illustration from the Bible. Jesus' parents were an important part of his ministry (that started when He was 30). But we only get glimpses, like in Luke 2:51. Verse 52 is more well known: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." The context is that Joseph and Mary had just found Jesus in the temple after searching for him for three days. Verse 51 says, "Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart."

    Notice that Jesus subjected himself to His parents' authority. His parents still played an important role in Jesus increasing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. And Mary specifically kept these things in her heart. She was rather passive by much of today's standards. Yet she had a great impact on her son, and by extension, the entire human race.

    So what I an trying to say in too many words is that the job God is calling you to do right now is no less important (or radical) than the passion He has given you for the poor and needy. As I mentioned already, they'll still be there when it is time for you to be more directly involved with them again. In the meantime, God hasn't forgotten about them, and He has the people in place that He wants to be ministering to them right now.

    Finally, I understand your frustration. I have similar passions, but also am similarly blessed with young pair of boys (although 4 and a half years farther along), who I sometimes view as "holding me back." However, I must remember that God has allowed me to do some direct ministry, while at the same time stretching this season for me a bit more by giving me these sons in my "old age." :)

    I hope this has been an encouragement as well as an exhortation to keep doing what God has called you to do, and to wait patiently on His continued calling in your life. One of my favorite promises from God is Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart." I have found it to be true in my life, and I'm sure it will be true also in yours.

  5. Hi Jen,

    I know Marla from college and found your blog through hers. I've enjoyed your posts - very thought-provoking! :-)

    I just wanted to encourage you, as I've struggled too with how to balance motherhood with ministry to others. I agree that you need to give yourself time to adjust to being a mom. It's a big adjustment, and it's OK to just focus on that for a while.

    Although this may not be the most "radical" means of reaching others for Christ, having little ones does open up a whole new "mission field" for us moms...other moms! Once you get in a routine with your little guys and start to venture out more, it's pretty easy to meet other moms with young children at the park, the pool, the children's section at the library, or even just going on walks around your neighborhood. You can make some great friendships this way and begin to invest in the lives of others who don't have a relationship with Jesus.

    And keep living as radically as you can (even if that may look a little different from what you expected)...little minds are like sponges, and they will be blessed to grow up watching you and your hubby model a life of loving and caring for others! In no time at all, they will be toddlers and preschoolers, and then you can begin to reach out in more tangible ways. They can even get involved with helping you write letters and send stuff to your Compassion sponsored kids.

    I'll be praying for you as you sort through some of these jumbled thoughts!

    Jen Lehr from central PA

  6. Found your blog through Marla's. To echo what others have said, being a mom to a newborn (and newborns in your case!) is all consuming. You'll be amazed that you won't have time to do even the most basic things that you used to do. I have an 18 mo old and have been totally bummed that I haven't had time or energy to do any ministry type things. Now that I'm not so overwhelmed by motherhood and my daughter can do more things for herself (and doesn't have to nurse every 2-3 hours!!) I intend to join MOPS at my church. I don't know what other MOPS groups are like, but most of the Moms at my group are not believers. Which gives me the perfect opportunity to share my love for the Lord with them. All of this to say, allow yourself the freedom to minister to your little guys when they arrive and know that once things settle down, there will be plenty of opportunities to minister to others. I have some missionary friends who said their children are what allowed them to get connected to others in their community. Once you have kids, it definitely opens doors to speak into the lives of people you might not have ever met or had any influence on otherwise. Praying for your journey!


Got some Notions of your own about this post? Share them!