What happens when we feel more like we’re wilting than blooming in motherhood? We remember God is our strong helper, and we trust him with the blooming fruit.
Vulnerable moms are all around us—the park, the library, the local school, the store. They might have different concerns, worries, and privileges, but the value of their personhood and need for the gospel are the same. But how do we care for these neighbors? What does God’s word say to the mom in the midst of diapers, school pick-ups, and busy schedules?
“The Bible is full of examples of caring for the vulnerable who have been ‘cast off’ from society.
In the Old Testament, there were laws about caring for the poor, the widows, and the orphans. The lineage of Christ includes the names of vulnerable, imperfect women like, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary.
In the New Testament, we see that Jesus left his place in heaven, at the right hand of God, to be born into a lineage that included men and women who were unable to follow God’s law, were cast out from society, and were foreigners among God’s covenant people. Jesus was born to a vulnerable woman who was pregnant out of wedlock. He humbled himself to dwell among strangers to show them God’s love by dying in their place, so they could be in relationship with a holy God who cannot look upon sin.
The scriptures tell a story of God bringing vulnerable strangers and foreigners into his family through redemption in Christ. Throughout the narrative of God’s word, it’s clear that we’re not brought into God’s family based on our own merit or lineage but by the saving grace of Jesus. We’re called to extend the same grace to the strangers and vulnerable people in our midst, wherever God has placed us.”
Today’s article is something special. It’s an interview with Tamra Call on gospel-hope for the vulnerable mom. She shares common misconceptions, what God’s word says for caring for the vulnerable, and how we moms—even in the little years—can love our neighbors well.
One of the challenges of being a mom is that most days are spent doing things that don’t feel important. The tasks you accomplish are quickly undone—laundry, dishes, picking up toys. Whether your days are spent primarily in an office or at home (or in an office at home), every mom understands that motherhood can seem a bit like shoveling snow off your driveway during a snowstorm, and it often doesn’t feel like ministry.
So what is ministry, exactly?
One way to think about ministry is a person or agency through which image-bearing and disciple-making are accomplished within particular spaces.
In Genesis, we read that God planted a garden called Eden, and he placed Adam in the garden to work it and keep it. Adam and Eve were not commanded to work and keep the whole world; they were to work and keep the garden in which God had placed them.
If I could go back and give myself a pep talk while in the midst of raising babies, I would clap my hands and say with great enthusiasm, ‘You are doing real ministry right now! Real ministry is not only ahead of you when you do a podcast or complete an in-depth line-by-line Bible study on the Minor Prophets. I know it feels like a lot of wiping, but you are bearing God’s image and raising children to bear his image. You are promoting life and doing good work in the space God ordained for you. And it matters.’
So embrace the wiping. Embrace the chaos and the endless laundry. Don’t just embrace it, enjoy it.
Instead of lamenting the unwanted limitations that accompany being a mom of young children, focus on the hugs and the way their eyes light up when you pick them up from school. Sing the song for them again today, and read the same book tonight.
You have been given meaningful work to do. The God of creation has given you the ministry of bearing his image, making disciples, and tending your garden.
As women in the church learn and grow together, following Paul’s instruction to Titus that older women should teach the younger ones ‘what is good,’ a call to evangelism must be a crucial part of the good things passed on.
God’s people have the astounding privilege of passing on the good news of what God has done for us through the death of Christ on our behalf and his resurrection from the grave. Although it is clearly the concern of the whole church, the subject of sharing the gospel is one that women will do well to consider deeply together.
Let me suggest three specific reasons why.
First, believing women need to hear voices calling us to a gospel-centered outward focus—rather than a self-centered, inward one.
When we do turn outward toward social issues and actions—and, happily, we increasingly do—the temptation is to turn with passion to the physical and emotional needs that move our hearts. Why are we not equally moved, or even more moved, to share the good news of Jesus and how he can meet the greatest and eternal needs of every needy human being?
Second, there are great role models who can teach us biblically and well.
Women with hearts to share the gospel juggle a variety of contexts, mixing home and work and friendship and hospitality and mercy ministry in that sometimes-chaotic combination that makes up many women’s lives. No matter what our involvements, we can spur one another on in learning and sharing the Word that is at the heart of our ongoing witness.
Finally, women should be considering deeply together the subject of personal evangelism because we sense the urgency of teaching each other this part of ‘what is good.’
We all need voices calling us to a gospel-centered outward focus. We need strong Word-filled role models. And we need a sense of the urgency of this message, this message that calls people from death to life through the power of the gospel.
The RM Team loves seeing questions roll in whenever we’re prepping for an “Ask Us Anything” podcast episode with Laura and Emily. Unfortunately, we can’t answer every question submitted to us—there’s not enough time and we don’t know or haven’t experienced everything! However, we have a treasure trove of resources and information in our show archives, blog archives, and old show notes. We’ve rallied up a collection links to help answer some of the most asked questions we receive below...
Hi friends, we wanted to take a moment to share about something new at Risen Motherhood!
Our belief is when you influence a mother, you influence a family. She listens to gospel-centered Bible teaching, and her husband might listen to it as well. She purchases a children’s Bible, and her children might hear scripture at breakfast. She thinks deeply about the gospel, and her husband is challenged by her example while her children see it in action. When a mom's heart is softened to the gospel, it overflows into living rooms, breakfast tables, bedtime routines, school meetings, playdates, and more.
We started RM because we believe in the impact a mom can have in her family and those around her. We create gospel-centered content through our podcast, social media platforms, and equipping resources, with the hope that moms will fall more in love with Christ, and better understand how the resurrection transforms their lives.
This work is incredibly important to us, and many of you have shared testimonies of how God has transformed your view of motherhood through RM's content. If this is you, we'd love for you to come alongside us in this eternally important mission as we launch Patreon, a platform for supporting brands and ministries like RM. When you join the RM community through Patreon, you partner financially with us and contribute directly to the work of this ministry. As a supporter, you'll not only gain access to insider perks and gifts, but you fund ongoing expenses for the website, resources, and podcast.
No matter what, our current content (like the podcast episodes and Abide Together tools) at RM will remain free – we want all mothers to have access and grow together in the gospel – but if you’re able, will you consider pledging a contribution as you see the value of what we're doing?
Please only give as you feel led, but even $1 a month will make a difference for the ministry. You can learn more through the blog post Laura wrote and on our Patreon page (both linked in profile).
Thank you again for partnering with us, as moms all over the world hear about the transforming power of the gospel!
Laura & Emily
Five ways to involve your young children in hospitality:
1. Have them help clean and prepare for guests. Set the table, run a handheld vacuum, decorate place cards.
2. Let them help in deciding the menu and preparing the food. Is there a simple desert or side that you can work with them the day before on?
3. Have them greet guests at the door. Coach them ahead of time on what to say. Tell them they can offer guests a "hug, handshake or highfive!" Allow them show guest where they can put their boots or coat.
4. During and after the meal, help them to "see needs and meet them." This usually means mom or dad "sees" the need and helps the child in meeting it - getting new napkins, handing someone a drink, finding an age appropriate toy for the youngest of guests.
5. Teach them to walk their guests to the door, thank them for coming and help them find their shoes/coats.
My children are two and four (next month), and both of them are capable of most of these things - admittedly - with lots of help from mom and dad. (But isn't that like everything in parenting?) We find the main key is in communication. Prepare your child beforehand for what you expect and how they can love the guests that come to your doorstep. Gently remind them of their responsibilities as the evening goes on. Talk about the why to point them to the gospel: We want to bless people through the blessings God has given us (skills, abilities, material things). Everything was given to us by God. We serve because Jesus first served us, etc. (Lots more "reasons" on this week's show!) Most children that are really young still find this exciting and fun – not dutiful – so it's a great chance to capitalize on their willing attitudes.
Hospitality in the little years does take extra work, but if we're thoughtful and plan ahead, we can use it as a wonderful teaching tool for our children to learn to love others more than themselves and show people the light of Christ.
In these little years, it can be easy to convince myself it's not practical to serve outside my home. I've got two under three that have only one incredibly loud vocal setting and their favorite hobby is running in circles while holding breakable items.
But the truth is, I can't serve inside my home without serving outside my home. What I mean is, a vital part of raising my children to know and love the Lord is showing them that loving God means loving others. So while you likely won't find us at a soup kitchen, you will find us doing seemingly small things in the home that matter outside of it.
"See needs and meet them."
My mom pounded this phrase into me as a kid. All she had to do was say, "see needs..." and I knew what she was going to say and (more importantly) what she meant. Today, I'm finding myself repeating that phrase to my children. Whether it's someone needing a tissue because they're crying, a cabinet door that needs shut, or toys spread across the floor that need cleaned up, my prayer for my children is they will grow to be people that see needs – and instead of waiting for someone to ask them to help – they are the first to stand up and help without ever being asked.
When it comes to toiling in the call of motherhood, I often shift my focus from the upward call of Christ (Philippians 3:14) onto my self-constructed image of the "perfect" mom. Instead of working with the energy the the Holy Spirit provides for the work God has put before me, I clench my fists and drag the weight of "not good enough" as I press on to attain my idea of godly motherhood.
When it comes to being a family "on mission" for the gospel, it's easy to fall into the trap of comparison. As we admire what God is doing through the lives of other families (who seem to never waiver in their good works, heart for the lost, or desire to sacrifice) we can chain ourselves to the iron ball of condemnation.
Without even realizing it, our mission becomes about living-up and impressing those around us with radical service INSTEAD of resting in the full righteousness Jesus purchased on our behalf.