Why Moms Have to Strive to Be Missional, Even on the Mission Field
Living missionally should come naturally on the mission field, right?
In 2010, the Cervenka family moved to Japan for a year with a passion to share Jesus. The first time they moved there, they had two little ones. It turned out to be wonderful, fruitful, and incredibly challenging. They came back to the US for about a year, had another child, and returned to Japan with the same passion and a lot more wisdom.
Danielle Cervenka has graciously offered to share some of that with us here as she strives to find a way to be a missional momma in Japan because it turns out no matter where you live it can be hard.
Recognizing that her children must see her live out faith has pushes Danielle to strive for a missional life.
“My children are my greatest disciples. Recently I’ve been deeply impacted by the thought that my children and I have a relationship strikingly similar to Jesus and His disciples in that they follow me around, they eat/sleep with me, they go where I go. So I’ve been re-reading the gospels in light of this to see what Jesus did with his disciples? As I read, I feel like I’m seeing Deuteronomy 6 lived out in front of me.”
The Bible keeps us moving towards missional living when it seems like we aren’t near anyone who needs to hear the Gospel. We can’t forget that we do interact with people other than our children throughout the day, or that it wouldn’t take much to interact with a few neighbors or another mom at our kid’s school.
“Look at Acts 17:26-27: ‘From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.’ (NET)
“According to this passage, God chose for your neighbors to be living next to you at this time so that they seek God and you could tell them who they are looking for! God gave you your children so they would be on that specific soccer team or part of that Girl Scout troop so that you could be connected to those moms and share Jesus with them. God chose you for these people at this time and in this place.”
There are challenges to living out this calling to live as a missional momma. Balance and fear can make it hard.
“Some weeks I’m so focused on attending to the home, I barely greet other moms as we drop off and pick up our kids. Some weeks I’ve overcommitted to ministry so that my kids don’t get much one-on-one attention from me. I take great encouragement from the gospels. Jesus had people coming to him non-stop, all the time, everywhere. So at times, he withdrew. He seemed to have a rhythm in which he sensed his and his disciples need to retreat, withdraw. So I think we can follow that example. Some weeks may be mostly spent at home, other weeks may be spent more with others in an effort to share the gospel or minister.
“Matthew 11:28-30 is a huge encouragement to me: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.’ (NET) So what we have to do is ask God what HE is asking of us in terms of reaching out to our family, neighbors, friends, and fellow moms. And when we do that, we get an easy yoke and a light burden.
“Another personal challenge for me is fear. Fear of not doing it right or comparing myself to others who seem to do evangelism super awesomely. Fear that in the passion to let others know about the gospel they will find out my inconsistencies and see the ways in which I fail to live the gospel. As a result, they will reject the gospel. Fear that my children will grow up and not believe in Jesus because they heard me speak with passion about Him but felt that I did not love them well.”
These lies that we can’t do it right or as well as another plague us all. Comparison becomes a habit we barely acknowledge. Like brushing our teeth, comparison is just a part of the daily routine. To break that routine we must bring the lies into the light.
“Over and over again I go to God, confess my fear, ask Him to speak truth, ask for faith to believe these over my current emotions and trust Him again to change my heart. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10: ‘But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.’ (NET)
“God chose us to be His messengers, intimately knowing every moment of every sin, every way in which we are weak. And these very things being present in our lives are the very things that make Christ shine brightly in us. It creates a powerful contrast, right? My weaknesses and sins are part of the equation, both for the lost around me and for the children He’s blessed me with. So keeping those things in mind, I step out in faith once again asking Jesus to be ‘Christ living in [me]’ (Colossians 1:27) to my children, my husband and all those He puts in my path.”
Missional living isn’t just for those on the mission field, nor is it easier because they are there. We are all called to share the truth of Jesus with those that He puts in our path.
“There is a deep joy that comes when sharing the truth of Jesus with others. Whatever their response, there’s an intimacy with God that is experienced because you know you’re doing His will and you get to share in His heart for people. So whatever step of faith God might be asking you to do, do it! And trust Him for what happens next.”
But, just in case you were starting to compare (because you didn’t get the message above), Danielle wanted to share one last thought:
“Please don’t read this blog entry thinking everyday I’m winning someone to Christ. It’s far from the truth. While passionate, I don’t always obey the Holy Spirit’s promptings to initiate a conversation. I can be inconsistent in prayer for those who are lost in my life. I give in to fear in so many instances. I get discouraged in my role of mothering. But remember this is a battle – THE battle at this moment in history – determining who will enter the kingdom of heaven and who will not. So let us continually step into the trenches, not just of motherhood, but of the souls of men and women. And, remember Jesus’ promise: ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:20, NET)”
Missional motherhood is not easy no matter where we live, but it helps knowing we are are all striving together to lead our children as we share God’s love with others no matter where we live.