I’ve just returned from being camp pastor at Chapel Rock. I had all three of my kids with me. Yes, if you know me and hadn’t yet heard, our third was added the week before we headed to camp. Before you get all up in arms about how ridiculous it was to go to camp with a baby not even a week old, let me reframe this for you. I was privileged to speak for 30-40 min each day and spend the rest of my time meeting with teens and adult leaders. In the meantime, someone else made my meals, I had literally dozens of people willing to help (including a camp nurse with a NICU background staying less than 50 feet away), and all the fresh air to be had and rocks to climb that my girls could handle. I will take that any day over resting on a couch. I recommend getting to camp as quickly after delivery as possible!
My real point in this post however is this. On one day, my girls were playing in their favorite spot, the Rock Chapel. Not a tremendously creative name but very descriptive…indeed an outdoor chapel comprised totally of rocks. My oldest daughter orchestrated the playing. After they finished building an entire library of books made of bark, she decided they would play church. She assigned music and dancing to her little sister explaining that she helps everyone worship, being careful to say there is more than one way to worship and she is to sing and offer music just like daddy! She looked to her infant brother and said he should be in charge of prayer. Since he can’t talk to us yet, she is certain he is talking with God. She then walked up to the rock pulpit where she clung with both arms around the sides, as it is too tall to see over, and she said she is in charge of preaching. She explained to all of us that is the part where words are spoken, just in case we didn’t know.
She painstakingly worked to be certain her younger sister understood everything in terms fit for a 2 yo. She made certain to include her brother whom many would say had nothing to offer yet. She didn’t think twice about being the preacher. I’d love to say we have modeled all of this. Indeed we’ve tried, but most of this is her innate personality.
And then I returned home from camp. I had a stack of mail waiting for me, including an alumni magazine from Southwestern Seminary. One publication caught my eye. Written by Dorothy Patterson is a book titled “Where’s Mom?: The High Calling of Wife and Mother in Biblical Perspective”. As the book begins with the Danver’s Statement (an early statement about Biblical Manhood and Womanhood), I don’t think I fit the model she would encourage for women.
Patterson asks, “where’s mom?” My children know exactly where mom is. In fact, they are often with me. They see me in ministry, serving God and including them. Where’s mom? I’m living out my faith in accordance to the giftings of the Holy Spirit and calling of God. Where’s mom? I’m hoping to let young women and men know that there is a false dichotomy being offered that you have to choose between home and ministry. Where’s mom? Writing this blog because I now hear from so many women and men asking about how to balance family and ministry, knowing that both are a high calling. Where’s mom? With my children, and often simultaneously doing ministry, which I think makes me a better mother. I’m not afraid to expose my children to others. I am not afraid to let them see me in leadership. I am not afraid to decline an offer if it does not work for who we are as a family. I am not afraid to accept an offer even if it means we all get stretched as a family to serve.
For my female readers, for the male readers married to women in ministry, and for so many who have privately e-mailed me to ask if I thought it was OK for them to stay in ministry once they become mothers…the answer is a resounding yes!
Where’s mom? Ask my kids. They know.