When Your Children Aren’t Your Highest Calling
A professor once said that 1 Timothy 2:15 which states a woman is “saved through childbirth” meant that she was “saved from a life of futility and uselessness.” Now, that verse is tricky and many have taken different stabs at its interpretation. I know that professor was trying to put aside all the salvation of souls through having kids stuff because we are saved through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not our own children.
But, the impact of those words, which felt highly insulting as childless woman, weren’t even acknowledged. Sitting next to another single woman as we heard those words, I said to her, “I’ll call you futile if you’ll call me useless.” What if I never married? Would this mean my life was always futile and useless?
“THIS IS OBVIOUS IDOLATRY. The highest calling of any Christian is loving God and loving others. The greatest joy of any Christian is loving God and loving others. Period.” Kat Armstrong
Yes, motherhood is a high calling, but so are a lot of other things, and “the highest calling of any Christian is loving God and loving others.”
As a mom, missional living has been one of my biggest struggles, and many don’t seem to think that it matters. The whole “motherhood is your highest calling” thing plays into this as our children are said to be our mission field. We are told to reach into our homes so that we can preach the gospel to our children.
They are our “highest calling,” and by implication, then we can let go of the rest.
I know that’s not how it is meant, but neither did my professor mean to insult childless women. It’s the consequences of our words, not the intent, that sometimes matters the most.
When I look at the Bible, Jesus seems to have a totally different take on how you should prioritize your life and who you should be preaching the gospel to. Obviously, it’s not that your children don’t need to hear it, but I think there are many ways to tell them.
Telling my kids about God and living out what I tell my kids are different. One is going to make more of an impact than the other. I’ll let you guess which one.
So yes, I’m not taking my 5 month old out to a crack house. I can barely get myself and my three boys out the door to grocery shop some days. But, I can do disciple making at the park by talking to other moms who are dying for a conversation that doesn’t involve peanut butter, poop, or Paw Patrol. I can do disciple making in my home by having people come over (which also means I can get over the fact that you may have to roller skate across blocks to get to the couch). I can make packs for the homeless that we pass by with soft granola bars and small toiletries, as well as carry water in our car for them.
This mom thing? It’s hard. It’s tiring. The people in my home can squeeze me dry with their needs. The idea of adding on some outreach thing is crazy. Let’s just tell our kids about God and be done, right?
And yes, there are days that that’s all I’ve got.
But, the point is to live intentionally where I’m at, not add more when I’m stressed about what I’ve already got.
Speaking of stress, there’s something you should know: “the best way to deal with stress is to do a small act of generosity for someone else.”
Reaching out instead of staying in. It’s the way to live Jesus in front of our kids and a great way to loosen the knots in our shoulders.
This month, I’m going to look more deeply at what it means to be a mom focused on missional living. If you know a mom that could use some encouragement, let her know about this. If you know a mom who is knocking this out of the park, let me know about her. I’d love to talk to them and share their insights on what this can look like in day to day life.
Let’s work out how to live out our true highest calling because I want my kids to know God outside my home, not just inside it.